2018 Marvel superhero film "Black Panther", which sets the scene for the upcoming "Avengers: Infinity War", is far more than just a superhero movie. In an exclusive media screening on Tuesday in Sandton, HuffPost got to witness the movie prior to its February 16 release.
Our verdict? "Black Panther" is explosive, adrenaline-pumping and majestic!
Without revealing the essence of the movie, here is a spoiler-free review of what to expect:
Director Ryan Coogler, lead Chadwick Boseman and the rest of the team managed to get one of the most crazily hyped films of the decade to live up to expectations – thanks to a thought-provoking screenplay and constant flashes of satirical humour.
Wakanda is majestic
Wakanda is in the fictional Marvel cinematic universe, but its aesthetic appeal and majesty will make you wish it was real. It was first introduced in the post-credits of "Captain America: Civil War", but "Black Panther" delivers Wakanda in all its glory – the futuristic utopian home of the Wakandans is a spectacular visual treat.
With King T'Challa the heir to the Wakanda throne, there is an air of pan-Africanism about the fictional land, with an almost accurate representation of various tribes of African and genuine isiXhosa used as the native language.
We can thank John Kani for this and boy, it's bound to get you up on your feet xa uyiva.
That said, the isiXhosa accents as delivered by the U.S actors are funny – especially Michael B Jordan's and Forest Whitaker's, who hilariously fail in their attempts to sound like amaXhosa. An "A" for effort, though.
Bow down, Babes Wodumo
Remember "Wololo"? Of course, you should... Babes Wodumo's song sets the scene when King T'Challa meets up with his sister to get his new, improved vibranium Black Panther suit of armour – and it feels like an SA gqom party.
Songs like "Gobisqolo" will take house fans into mass hysteria – the movie proudly adopts iGqom as its musical score, and Kendrick Lamar and SZA take the movie to a crescendo with their hip-hop contributions.
This is how you shoot a video 💫— Bryan Bautista (@whoisBryanB) February 6, 2018
Kendrick Lamar x SZA - All the Stars pic.twitter.com/Noj4fvNIVS
There is a robust black narrative articulated in the movie – T'Challa has to dig in deep as the new king. He is caught between the potential to be a worldwide powerhouse thanks to their unique power source (vibranium), which is only found in Wakanda, and keeping intact the values and beliefs of the Wakandans as a civil war boils over.
"Black Panther" is a marvel of a black superhero film, a true visual feast in the representation of majestic Wakanda – but ultimately, its pinnacle is in artistically driving a black-power narrative through its absorbing storytelling.
The movie has a satirical take on "Western culture" – be ready for the scene in which Wakanda's female warriors have to put on a weave for a covert mission.
Beautifully executed visual effects combine with satisfyingly choreographed action scenes, and technology that will leave you in awe.
"You hit a woman, you hit a rock" – it applies especially to the female warriors of Wakanda, the most powerful dose of feminism injected into a superhero flick since "Wonder Woman". They are strong, beautiful, and not to be messed with. For once, we get a nonpatriarchal film in which the female characters are actually pivotal to the essence of the movie.
In essence, this is a coming-of-age movie as King T'Challa fights for supremacy against Michael B Jordan's Killmonger, fomenting a civil war. It is truly a must-watch – but remember, there is a dress code!
"Black Panther" is a marvel of a black superhero film; a true visual feast in the representation of majestic Wakanda – but ultimately, its pinnacle is in artistically driving a black-power narrative through its absorbing storytelling.
Badass villain ☑️
Major movie plot ☑️
Sets scene for Infinity War☑️
Visual feast ☑️