T’Challa, the superpowered new leader of the hidden, highly advanced African nation of Wakanda, strives to protect his home from enemies old and new.
After his father’s untimely death, T’Challa is forced to take on the mantle of King of Wakanda, as well as being the legendary Black Panther, protector of the realm and quasi-Avenger. His people have long hidden themselves away from the rest of the world, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have their own issues, and their own “lost children” who come home to make waves.
Chadwick Boseman as T’Challa
I don’t know what rock I was living under, but I’d never taken notice of Chadwick before seeing him in the role of Black Panther in Captain America: Civil War. But it wasn’t until Black Panther that he firmly cemented himself in my top MCU dudes list. He’s got such presence; if I didn’t know he was just acting the part of a king, I’d totally believe he was royalty.
Michael B. Jordan as Erik Killmonger
Lupita Nyong’o as Nakia
I have a MASSIVE crush on Lupita, and was super excited to hear that she was joining the MCU. I kind of wish Nakia had more to do in the movie, but I love that she doesn’t resign herself to just being a royal girlfriend; girl’s got a life of her own and big plans to make people’s lives better. She’s also pretty dang kickass in the big fight scene.
Danai Gurira as Okoye
From the little I saw of Danai as Michonne in The Walking Dead (I gave up on that show early on … #shrug), I knew from the first time we “met” Okoye that she was going to be the badassiest of badasses. And I Was. Not. Wrong.
Martin Freeman as Everett K. Ross
Everett is a comedic foil (particularly for Shiri), and Martin does an excellent job of playing the oblivious straight man. I kind of want a buddy comedy with him and Shiri as the main characters. (With Bucky as the neighbor who’s always over at their house.)
Sterling K. Brown as N’Jobu
Sterling plays an excellent father.
Angela Bassett as Ramonda
Ramonda was a surprise hit of Black Panther for me, and I loved how strong she—and all of the women, really—was in this film. Wakanda really is an advanced place, in a myriad of ways.
Forest Whitaker as Zuri
I’m not saying Forest is actually a mystical shaman/holy man, but I’m not saying he’s not either.
Andy Serkis as Ulysses Klaue
Andy is undeniably versatile and has amazing range, but Klaue is a pretty tame villain.
And although they weren’t familiar faces before I saw Black Panther, I’d be remiss to not mention two of the movie’s standouts: Leticia Wright as Shuri and Winston Duke as M’Baku. They’re brilliant.
Couch-Sharing Capability: Pack the Room
Black Panther is (supposedly) the first in the “new wave” of heroes in the MCU, and it’s easy to see how well the franchise will do with these characters at the helm. This movie is excellent from beginning to end, and introduces a lot of much needed diversity into the MCU, in addition to some serious role-model women (of which the franchise is admittedly lacking). It’s an important movie for all superhero movie fans to see, and a good movie to show to anyone who’s left or never been a fan of the MCU to prove that it’s more than just hot white guys saving the world.
Recommended Level of Inebriation: Viewer’s Choice
I think it’s important to watch this movie, at least the first time, totally sober, and that’s not just me being an MCU stan and thinking that every movie in the franchise is important. Black Panther truly is an important movie, and a really epic one at that. If I knew what the drink of choice in Wakanda was, however, I’d be cool with having it on hand. For being on theme and all that. (There are a lot of fun ideas for Heart of Wakanda cocktails online, if you’re so inclined.)
Use of Your Streaming Subscription: Wakanda Forever!
This phrase might have gotten a little played out in the months after the movie premiered (and here I am making things worse by using it twice in this post …), but it’s a statement I can wholeheartedly get behind. If you watch one superhero movie this year, please make it this one. (And then realize that the MCU really has gotten even better recently and watch the rest.) I promise you won’t regret it.