“Black Panther”

Release Date: February 16, 2018

MPAA Rating:  PG-13 (for action violence, and a brief rude gesture)

 

“Black Panther” is more than a film.  It has become a pop culture phenomenon that shattered box office records through its four-day holiday weekend release, earning an estimated $235 million in the U.S. and Canada during that time.   

Directed and co-written by Ryan Coogler with co-writer Joe Robert Cole, “Black Panther” is being hailed as a breakthrough for Marvel Studios – and for cinema – as its cast and characters are primarily of Africa-American heritage. 

Led by actor Chadwick Boseman in the title role, “Black Panther,” based on the Marvel Comics character created by writer-editor Stan Lee and writer-artist Jack Kirby that first appeared in Fantastic Four #52 (July 1966) in the Silver Age of Comic Books, is set in the mythical kingdom of Wakanda.  Little is known about this place, but it is home to a metal known as vibranium, which can be a beneficial or harmful, depending upon whose authority it falls under.

The stellar cast includes Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, Sterling K. Brown, Andy Serkis, Forest Whitaker, Angela Bassett, and Martin Freeman. 

The story is epic and filled with social commentary, and the visual effects are mostly inspired.  At a running time of about 2 hours 15 minutes, it feels much longer.

Coogler, who is from Oakland, essentially bookends the film in the Bay Area city, providing a nice hometown homage. 

Be sure to stay seated through the end credits as Marvel teases an upcoming release.