The reviews for Marvel’s upcoming Black Panther film are in – and it has won near-universal praise from critics and a coveted 100% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Starring Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan and Oscar-winner Lupita Nyong’o, the movie has been praised for turning racial stereotypes on their head.
The Associated Press’ Jake Coyle called the film – which reunites Jordan with his Creed director Ryan Coogler – ‘glittering and galvanizing.’
Coyle said: ‘For those of us who have sometimes felt pummeled by the parade of previous Marvel movies, the sheer richness of Coogler’s film is almost disorienting.’
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Fanfare: The review embargo for Marvel’s upcoming film Black Panther, starring Chadwick Boseman (pictured) lifted on Tuesday – and the raves are pouring in
Kevin Maher wrote in The Times of London that ‘The director Ryan Coogler (Creed) and a charismatic cast led by Chadwick Boseman (as Black Panther) and Lupita Nyong’o (as secret agent Nakia) turn racial clichés on their head and drag in some heavy Shakespearean conflict to create a vivid yarn that’s entirely new, frequently startling and, at every step along the way, all Marvel.’
Manohla Dargis of the New York Times wrote that ‘in its emphasis on black imagination, creation and liberation, the movie becomes an emblem of a past that was denied and a future that feels very present.
‘And in doing so opens up its world, and yours, beautifully.’
She had noted earlier: ‘Part of the movie’s pleasure and its ethos – which wends through its visuals – is how it dispenses with familiar either/or divides, including the binary opposition that tends to shape our discourse on race.’
Over on the west coast, the LA Times’ Kenneth Turan called Black Panther the movie ‘we didn’t know we’d been yearning for’ but stated.now that it’s here, ‘the wait has been way longer than it should have been.’
Turan goes on to enthuse about the film’s characters, plot, world, social commentary and ‘wicked laughs’, calling it ‘the model of what an involving popular entertainment should be.’
Straight to the top: Also starring Danai Gurira and Oscar-winner Lupita Nyong’o, the movie currently boasts a 100% rating on review aggregate Rotten Tomatoes
Black Panther first arrived in the Marvel Cinematic Universe in 2016’s Captain America: Civil War, but the new film is his first stand-alone release in the current franchise.
The character itself was the brainchild of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, and made his first comic book appearance 52 years ago in 1966 – the year the actual Black Panther Party formed in the United States.
The upcoming Black Panther film will open in Britain on February 13 and in America three days later.
Marc Bernardin of The Nerdist wrote in his review of it: ‘As a nerd and as a black man, I’ve been waiting for this movie for my entire life, whether I knew it or not.
‘The fact that Black Panther gets so much right, but one crucial thing wrong, is both thrilling and maddening.’
What it got ‘wrong,’ Bernardin argued, was the title character himself.
‘For too much of Black Panther, the Black Panther has everything he wants,’ the reviewer noted, adding that ‘he is almost entirely devoid of flaws’ and that the script ‘has trouble finding ways to emotionally engage with the character, all the way through to an action climax whose humanity is outweighed by its CGI.’
Jim Vejvoda of IGN found the character development to be a plus, saying that watching the protagonist try to maintain his authority rather than achieve it was a refreshing take on the usual superhero quest narrative.
He did find fault with the film’s ‘cartoonish’ special effects and its slow start, but stated.it ‘delivers the goods as an adventure film, a political statement, and a cultural celebration.’
Writing in The Hollywood Reporter, Todd McCarthy enthused: ‘With uncanny timing, Marvel takes its superheroes into a domain they’ve never inhabited before and is all the better for it in Black Panther.’
High praise: The Associated Press ‘ Jake Coyle called the film – which reunites Michael B. Jordan (left) with his Creed director Ryan Coogler (not pictured) – ‘glittering and galvanizing’
Peter Debruge struck a similar note in Variety, averring: ‘Virtually everything that distinguishes Black Panther from past Marvel pics works to this standalone entry’s advantage.’
Rolling Stone’s Peter Travers gushingly called the film ‘an exhilarating triumph on every level from writing, directing, acting, production design, costumes, music, special effects to you name it.’
Olive Pometsey, writing for GQ, was equally complementary, calling it a ‘cinematic revolution’.
‘Black Panther is the superhero film we need to remind ourselves that all races are capable of greatness and that there’s room for everybody’s stories to be told,’ she says.
At the risk of offering spoilers, Stephanie Zacharek of Time magazine noticed with relief that ‘this is that rare superhero movie in which absolutely zero cities are destroyed, or are even in danger of being destroyed.’
She vaunted Black Panther as ‘smart, lavish and fun without being assaultive.’
Empire’s Jimi Famurewa gave the film four stars, calling it ‘a giddily enjoyable, convention-bucking 134-minute epic that somehow manages to simultaneously be a comic-book blockbuster, a pulsating espionage thriller and an Afro-futurist family saga.’
Writing for The Verge, Bryan Bishop called Black Panther ‘the grown up Marvel movie we’ve been waiting for’ saying it is the first in the cinematic universe ‘that actually has something to say’.
Arriving soon: The upcoming Black Panther film will open in Britain on February 13 and in America three days later
‘It’s gripping, funny, and full of spectacle, but it also feels like a turning point,’ he writes, ‘one where the studio has finally recognized that its movies can be about more than just selling the next installment.
‘In the process, the studio has ended up with one of the most enthralling entries in its entire universe.’
The American movie – with a formidable cast including Angela Bassett, Letitia Wright, Danai Gurira, Daniel Kaluuya, Andy Serkis and Martin Freeman – has also drawn praise abroad.
The Toronto Sun’s Liz Braum trilled: ‘A terrific screenplay from Ryan Coogler and Joe Robert Cole elevates this thing way beyond the usual boundaries of the Marvel Universe; there’s nothing like a superhero who is also a king to permit storytelling layered with contemporary social, economic and political elements.’
Radio Times writer Emma Simmonds rhapsodized: ‘Passionately performed and lavish in its love for African culture, Black Panther is a franchise film with a distinct individual identity, and one that wants to mean something to those who watch it.’
‘Coogler touches on deeper subjects regarding race and oppression while still realising that the main purpose of a Marvel movie is to entertain a mass audience. The result is a film that works just fine as an old-fashioned ripping yarn without ever forgetting its social conscience,’ wrote Geoffrey Macnab in the Independent.
Over at The Guardian, Peter Bradshaw writes that ‘it doesn’t look like a superhero film – more a wide-eyed fantasy romance: exciting, subversive and funny.’
Even as far afield as the Times Of India, Neil Soans praised the movie as ‘Inspiring and empowering in equal measure’ and predicted that ‘the Marvel Cinematic Universe will definitely benefit from the presence of King T’Challa and his kingdom of Wakanda well down the line.’
Internatoinal praise: The American movie – with a formidable cast including Letitia Wright – has also drawn praise abroad, from publications in such countries as Canada, Britain and India
– Daily Mail