Film Review: Entertaining Black Panther blends superhero thrills with espionage

Chadwick Boseman as T'Challa/Black Panther. Photo: Matt Kennedy/Marvel Studios

Chadwick Boseman as T'Challa/Black Panther. Photo: Matt Kennedy/Marvel Studios - Credit: Matt Kennedy/Marvel Studios

Marvel’s latest instalment in their cinematic universe sees Chadewick Boseman reprise his role as the Black Panther and follows on directly from the events of his previous appearance in Captain America: Civil War.

After the death of his father, Prince T’Challa returns to his home country of Wakanda to succeed to the throne and take on the mantle of Black Panther – protector of the nation.

However, when his rule is challenged by a mysterious outsider, T’Challa must team with CIA agent Everett Ross (Martin Freeman) and his loyal special forces to prevent the country being dragged into a new world war.

Co-written and directed by Ryan Coogler, the man behind 2016’s well received Rocky reboot ‘Creed’, the film is very much a self-contained story.

Despite featuring returning characters such as Freeman’s Agent Ross and Ulysses Klaue played by the excellent Andy Serkis, Coogler avoids too many complicated tie-ins with the wider Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), wisely choosing to tell his own story built around the previously uncharted African nation.

After working together on both of Coogler’s previous films, Michael B. Jordan teams up with the director once again to play villain Erik Killmonger and is thoroughly captivating as the film’s bitter antagonist with a burning grudge.

The charismatic Boseman again impresses as the Black Panther, but is helped by a fantastic supporting cast which gives the film more of an ensemble feel.

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The Walking Dead’s Danai Gurira shines as leader of the Kings security forces and Lupita Nyongo adds an interesting dynamic to the role of love interest Nakia.

While veteran actors Forrest Whittaker and Angela Bassett bring gravitas to their roles as tribe elders.

As with many films of this genre, the final battle is too heavy on the CGI, making it feel a little weightless at times, but the film is engaging enough for this not to matter.

Despite a run time of 134 minutes the film is never dull, cleverly blending the thrills of the superhero world with shades of espionage and African family drama.

Black Panther is film created by an ambitious young director not afraid to put his own spin on the Marvel template, resulting in a thoroughly entertaining addition to the MCU.