"An epic that doesn't walk, talk or kick ass like any other Marvel movie."
The reviews are in for director Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther, and they are easily the best for a Marvel Studios project to date, with almost everyone left in awe not only of the movie’s ambition, but its success in achieving that ambition on the big screen.
As of Tuesday morning, the film has a 100 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
“There's no mistaking you're still in the Marvel universe here, but this entry sweeps you off to a part of it you've never seen: a hidden lost world in Africa defined by royal traditions and technological wonders that open up refreshing new dramatic, visual and casting possibilities,” writes The Hollywood Reporter’s Todd McCarthy in his review. “There are vistas, costumes and settings that keep the images popping off the screen, even though this Marvel offering is not in 3D.”
“It’s as if everyone enlisted to bring the project to life understood the magnitude of what Black Panther, the first comic-based studio movie with a black hero at the center since 1998’s Blade, would represent," Critic and writer Marc Bernardin wrote for Nerdist. “The chance to fill every corner of their fictional Wakanda with the same level of craft and detail usually reserved for British-star-studded period pieces. An opportunity to tell a story about black lives, which matter and are not defined by their pain but, instead, by their glory. An answer to a culture’s question, ‘When will it be our time in the sun?’”
Rolling Stone’s Peter Travers agreed, calling the movie “an epic that doesn't walk, talk or kick ass like any other Marvel movie – an exhilarating triumph on every level from writing, directing, acting, production design, costumes, music, special effects to you name it. For children (and adults) of color who have longed forever to see a superhero who looks like them, Marvel's first black-superhero film is an answered prayer, a landmark adventure and a new film classic.”
And yet, argued Empire’s Jimi Famurewa, the movie is more than merely a milestone. “One of Black Panther’s greatest triumphs is to make you forget the barrier-breaking significance of its mere existence,” he wrote. “By the time the climactic battle has broken out – set a world away from the customary razed metropolis of modern comic-book films – you’re too busy marveling at its bottomless invention, its big-hearted verve, to truly consider the game-changing revolution playing out in front of you.”
New York Times' Manohla Dargis praised Coogler for his his acting scenes but noted his "directing strengths are more intimate," writing, "There are sequences in Black Panther that may make you cry because of where they go and what they say, but also because of the sensitivity he brings to them. He makes some savvy story choices too."
Black Panther opens in cinemas February 16.