Black Panther, the Marvel comic superhero, has started on the silver screen with the first movie of its own franchise today, in India. Starring Chadwick Boseman (T'Challa - Black Panther), Lupita Nyong'o (Nakia), Michael B Jordan (Erik Killmonger), Danai Gurira (Okoye), Letitia Wright (Shuri), Martin Freeman (Agent Ross) and many others, the film boasts of stellar black performers renowned in the international movie arena.
The film goes into the details of the origin and legacy of Black Panther, Wakanda and their prize resource Vibranium, and how they are secretly the richest, most powerful and technologically advanced nation in the world. Though we caught glimpses of this hero in Captain America: Civil War, his much-needed backstory is brilliantly handled, and that too, right from the start.
Wakanda is wonderfully imagined as a meeting point of carefully preserved ancient West African culture, traditions and customs, and futuristic technology and wealth; add to it spirituality, you get a hero like never seen before in the Marvel universe. Fantastic.
T'Challa is a combination of some of the best qualities of his hero friends and some more - he stands for justice, honour, scientific progress as well as statesmanship and diplomacy. This paves way for the movie to infuse the political aspect to the black movement, and the dichotomy in the ways inside it to reach the very same ideological solution.
And none of this is boring even for a moment. In fact, it is the opposite all throughout. The visuals, robust action scenes, a crazily eccentric villain, a strong, focused antagonist, music that is pleasurably awesome (surprising, in a Marvel movie) and crisp comedy in the right dosage make Black Panther an exhilarating ride indeed.
An impenetrable fortress that is Wakanda is expectedly filled with internal glitches that are exposed when its stability is weakest. Some parts of the plot do tend to be familiar and take convenient turns at some corners, but they do not fall flat at all.
Overall, Black Panther is a celebration of the black peoples of the world, and sends an important message about their rightly deserved place in the global populace. And yes, it is a kickass superhero movie. Catch it in theatres asap!