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Black Panther Claws its Way to the Top

    By Walker Edwards - Reporter. March 22, 2018 - 11:31 am

Photo provided by Flickr.

Black Panther, the newest addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, manages to introduce fresh new characters and a vibrant setting without sticking too closely to the tried and true formula of Marvel’s previous films.

Chadwick Boseman stars as T’Challa, the new king of Wakanda, an obscure but technologically-sophisticated African nation. T’Challa gains powers from a ceremonial Wakandan plant and becomes the Black Panther in order to protect the country from threats such as the terrorist Ulysses Klaue, played by Andy Serkis, and the radicalized American Soldier Eric Killmonger, played by Michael B Jordan. There are no weak acting performances in Black Panther, and the characters in Black Panther feel far more complex and interesting than in most other superhero films.

Black Panther excels visually. Never before have I wanted to pause a Marvel movie just to better appreciate the scenery and costumes. The musical score is also impressive in its use of hip-hop beats in place of the typical orchestral music. The obvious attention paid to the sounds and overall design of the film helped to hold my attention during otherwise uninteresting moments.

The slower-paced and more generous run time of Black Panther allow for more fully-developed characters and a fully-explored setting. This makes the first third of the film a real joy, but at around the halfway point the plot starts to feel a bit bloated and confused.

Two villains are introduced right after one another, and so I soon lost track of where the plot was heading. It became difficult to tell if the movie was just beginning, or quite near the end. I think the film could have been improved by trimming about 30 minutes off the run time, or otherwise streamlining the plot.

Overall, Black Panther is among the most unique and vibrant of the Marvel superhero films. Yet it runs into issues with pacing, and sometimes indulges in action sequences so long they start to drag. However, if you’ve enjoyed Marvel’s past films and are looking for a superhero film with richer characters and a fascinating setting, you’ll probably enjoy Black Panther.