'Black Panther' review: A visual extravaganza

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'Black Panther' review: A visual extravaganza
Director: Ryan Coogler
 
Starring: Chadwick Boseman, Michael B Jordan, Forest Whittaker, Lupita Nyong'o, Andy Serkis, Martin Freeman
 
Rating: 5/5
 
After the death of King T'Chaka and the events of 'Captain America: Civil War', T'Challa (Chadwick Boseman) is now the new monarch of the secretive African nation of Wakanda in 'Black Panther'. However, in the shadows, the result of a terrible mistake of T'Chaka and an old enemy of Wakanda bear down upon the quiet nation, threatening to throw it and the world into turmoil.
 
Now, to readers of comic books, the nation of Wakanda needs little introduction. To the rest, however, a brief intro: Wakanda is a technologically advanced nation, bolstered to this status by the alien metal vibranium. It's the thing that is at the heart of Captain America's shield, Ultron's terrible plan and Vision's body.
 
As T'Challa claims the throne in a ritual combat trial, the enemy of Wakanda, Ulysses Klaue, expertly played by Andy Serkis, is joined by Erik 'Killmonger' Stevens, played by Michael B Jordan, who returns to collaborate with director Ryan Coogler after 'Creed'. Jordan redeems himself after the travesty that was 'Fantastic Four'. The duo plan to sell a piece of Vibranium to an American, which launches the newly crowned king on a mission to bring justice for those who have fallen at Klaue's hand. Joining him on his adventure are his quick-witted sister, Shuri, who would give Tony Stark a run for his money in both smarts and wits, his trusted guardian Okoye, leader of the all-women spec ops squad Dora Milaje and Everett Ross, who just happens to get involved in Wakanda's affairs.
 
Of course, nothing goes according to plan, and soon T'Challa finds himself facing down Killmonger, his own cousin, the terrible result of T'Chaka's mistake during his time as Black Panther: Killing his brother. T'Challa, once steadfast in his ancestors' creed that Wakanda must remain isolated from the world, struggles with that belief, which is implied to have caused him to split with his girlfriend Nakia. T'Challa soon faces the result of their decision: A boy who grew to hate his own people because they looked away from the suffering in the world, even though they have the power to lead it to a golden age. That boy now aims to become king so the oppressed can overthrow their oppressors. The internal conflict presents itself very subtly, in the twitches and freezes of T'Challa more than his rage at his predecessors, as he faces down Killmonger for the fate of the world itself, while no one outside is any wiser that two men literally fought over the world.

Coogler crafts an intricate work of art, sewing old African tribal cultures with the new swanky, shiny lifestyle, much like how the Wakandans sew Vibranium into their clothes. From the fast-paced action on the streets of Busan to high-stakes one-on-one fights on the side of a waterfall, everything is expertly crafted to honour African history and culture, without the appropriation. He builds on the series' mythos most faithfully, giving Marvel and Black Panther fans something to look forward to as the world prepares for the culmination of every Marvel film to date: 'Infinity War'.

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