The Oscar Project Reviews
The Marvel Cinematic Universe takes a turn to Wakanda in the lead up to Avengers: Infinity War. We find T'Challa (Chadwick Boseman) returning to Wakanda to be crowned king following the death of his father T'Chaka (John Kani) in Captain America: Civil War.
It's immediately clear that this is not the same superhero film we are used to. From the opening sequence that explains the history of the tribes of Wakanda, to the scene in Oakland, to the introduction of Okoye (Danai Gurira) and Nakia (Lupita Nyong'o), we are exposed to a very different feeling world. Until now, the world knew little about Wakanda, and we are introduced to it much like any outsider.
Many people have celebrated the women in this film and I have to do the same. Not only can they go toe to toe with any foe in physical combat, they show an aptitude for intellect, wit, and humor when dealing with each other, and even their king. T'Challa may be the newly crowned king, but the women are still his friends and share in ribbing him when the get the chance.
After defeating M'Baku (Winston Duke), the leader of a rival tribe, in ritual combat, T'Challa can officially take the throne of Wakanda. However, news surfaces of a theft of a Wakandan artifact by Ulysses Klaue (Andy Serkis). It comes to light that Klaue's accomplice, Erik "Killmonger" Stevens (Michael B. Jordan) is none other than N'Jadaka, T'Challa's long lost cousin who is coming to claim the throne for himself and use the technology of Wakanda to help oppressed people around the world.
Director Ryan Coogler does a tremendous job of creating a world for these characters to inhabit. While re-watching the film recently, I paid special attention to the costumes on display and can completely understand why the Academy recognized the film for its achievement in that area. It may seem a simple thing, but the messages that are subtly communicated through costuming are incredibly effective in this film and contribute immensely to the overall story we see on the screen.
For the first time, a superhero film was nominated for more than just a handful of Oscars as Black Panther received a total of seven nominations. It didn't stop there though, actually taking home the awards for Best Production Design, Best Costume Design, and Best Original Score. The film was also recognized as many other awards including the Golden Globe Awards, the Screen Actors Guild Awards, and the Critics' Choice Awards.
This is required viewing prior to Infinity War for the main purpose that the culmination of that film takes place in Black Panther's setting of Wakanda. I was fortunate enough to watch Black Panther the night before Infinity War came out in 2018 and it was a perfect lead in.
9 out of 10
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