‘Black Panther’ a rare film that lives up to its hype

Hail Wakanda indeed. As “Black Panther” continues to take the world (and the box office) by storm, it is obvious anyone who has seen it that the film lived up to its hype.

Not only is “Black Panther” a new and exciting take on the superhero genre, it also stands alone as a revolutionary film of its time. You could call it such due to its impact on society alone as it features a primarily black cast, but its content further supports the incredible challenge the movie poses to the rest of the industry and the rest of the world.

“Black Panther” gives us a look at what the world could be like if Africa and its people had received the respect and independence they deserved. The way that the movie embraces the pretense of a world where a country like Wakanda exists — untainted from hundreds of years of imperialism— so fluidly, is part of what made me like it so much. As much as we would like the story of Wakanda to be a reality, it is not, but after only a few minutes of watching the movie, I was able to forget about the reality of the world and instead let myself indulge in the refreshing situation posed by the story. The reason this feeling was so quick to capture me is that neither the film itself nor the Wakandans in it give any hint or notion that the reality they inhabit is anything but the verifiable truth. The performances of the actors and actresses are all wonderful as is the incredible fantasy-world-building that Marvel does so well.

Let me expand more for a bit on not just the performances driving the cast but on the characters themselves. The most subversive portrayal is that of Erik Killmonger done brilliantly by the talented Michael B. Jordan in one of the film’s standout performances. His character is hopefully another big turning point for the formula of a Marvel movie. While most of Marvel’s best villains have been two dimensional and completely forgettable like Ivan Vanko in “Iron Man 2” or Malekith in “Thor: The Dark World,” Killmonger is a memorable and emotional villain. As an audience member, one can sympathize with his struggles and feel the pain that is so prevalent in his life. The bond that audiences feel with him only makes the experience that much more powerful.

On the other hand, all of these surprisingly moving and dynamic supporting characters make T’Challa’s character (The Black Panther) suffer. When you leave the theater he is not the one on your mind, and that is a problem, especially considering how important of a role he will play in the upcoming resolution of Phase 3.

SPOILER AHEAD. Speaking of Phase 3 and “Avengers: Infinity War,” the looming presence of this film on the horizon negatively impacts “Black Panther.” For a portion of the movie, T’Challa is presumed dead after Erik defeats him and takes control of Wakanda. But at the time of “Black Panther’s” release, the world had already been exposed to trailers and info about the next Marvel film, “Infinity War,” that explicitly showed the Black Panther taking an important role. This discrepancy, though it may seem trivial to some, really threw a wrench into the middle of the story. Marvel’s connected universe, which so often has a positive effect on the quality of its films, hurts the impact of “Black Panther.” SPOILER OVER.

The best part of Black Panther is being able to revel in the experience. The buzz running through the world only amplifies the unique and refreshing piece of cinema that millions are experiencing all across the world.