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BLACK PANTHER Reviews Say Marvel’s Trip to Wakanda is Exciting, Timely, and Important

While most of us still have to wait a little longer to travel to Wakanda, Marvel’s review embargo on Black Panther lifted today, offering a glimpse at the reactions of the lucky few who have already seen it. And if you were excited by those initial reactions from the world premiere, wait ’til you see how emphatically this batch praises the film’s story, cultural significance, and amazing cast. The downside: These reviews may make the next 10 days even tougher to wade through. But to help you better learn what you can expect from the film, we rounded up some of the best and most interesting reviews we could find.

We’re starting off with this glowing review from Black Girl Nerds. Critic Jamie Broadnax says there’s no hyperbole in calling the movie a genuine masterpiece.

“The final word: it’s afro-futuristic and Blackity-black as hell. It’s everything I’ve ever desired in a live-action version of this popular superhero and yet so much more. Quite frankly, the experience is indescribable. I left the theater wanting to see this movie at least 10 more times.”

Next, Dave Schilling at Birth.Movies.Death. writes that the film connects to life in America in ways Marvel, and few other films, have before.

“The opening sequence of Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther is not a muscular action extravaganza or a mind-bending cosmic adventure. It’s the tense world of urban Oakland, California, in the early 90s; a basketball court occupied by young black males. A mere day removed from the birthday of the late Trayvon Martin, this is a potent reminder of what is at stake, not just in the film, but in our real world. Without ever uttering his name, this movie is dedicated to him and to all the lost boys this nation is content to leave behind.”

Angie Han at Mashable credits director Ryan Coogler for making a fantastic action-packed film that still finds time to be fun and joyous.

“That all these different tones work so well together is a huge testament to the talent of director Ryan Coogler, who pulled off a similar trick with his previous movie Creed. As with that film, Black Panther feels unmistakably like the franchise it belongs to, while also distinguishing itself as the product of a unique and distinct vision.”

Polygon‘s Joelle Monique says the movie’s cast is full of amazing performances, including the many women of Wakanda.

“The women who make up T’Challa’s support system round out the cast terrifically. Angela Bassett plays the king’s mother, Ramonda. Headstrong and regal, her presence brings a calm assuredness to the team. Lupita Nyong’o’s Nakia is incredible. A Wakandan spy first, she is unwilling to compromise her desire to help people with her love for her king. There isn’t a Black Widow sex symbol here, or a Pepper Potts standing in the wings. The women of Black Panther are vital to Wakanda’s success.”

At Shondaland, Kendra James says the movie is a technical marvel that also surpasses other film’s in the MCU in far more important ways.

“In two hours and 15 minutes, Coogler and his co-writer, Joe Robert Cole, tackle the rippling effects of colonialism, racism, isolationism, and what it means to be brought up in a world that favors Western Whiteness over all else. The conflict in Black Panther hinges on the idea that racism is an evil that begets evil, and that oppression by white supremacy is radicalizing.”

Variety’s Peter DeBruge says the movie’s cast, setting, and story makes it culturally important, but it’s also timely and builds on the things fans love from Marvel superhero movies.

“But historical significance aside, what superhero fans want to know is how Black Panther compares with other Marvel movies. Simply put, it not only holds its own, but improves on the formula in several key respects, from a politically engaged villain to an emotionally grounded final showdown.”

According to David Ehrlich at IndieWire it’s the first Marvel movie that manages to break out of the “self-contained snow globe” of other MCU installments.

“Black Panther is different. It’s the first one of these films that flows with a genuine sense of culture and identity, memory and musicality. It’s the first one of these films that doesn’t merely reckon with power and subjugation in the abstract, but also gives those ideas actual weight by grafting them onto specific bodies and confronting the historical ways in which they’ve shaped our universe.”

And finally, we have our own review here at Nerdist by Marc Bernardin, who considers Black Panther the kind of blockbuster he’s always wanted to see hit theaters…

As such, it can be hard to separate what Black Panther means from what it is. What it means is everything, especially to any kid who has never put the words ‘African’ and ‘king’ together in the same sentence. Or to any young woman who was ever discouraged from chasing a life in science and technology. To anyone who was ever told ‘you fight like a girl.’…

The film does deal head-on with issues of race, subjugation, and oppression in ways both heartbreaking and hilarious. The final coda is as direct an address to the xenophobia at home in our current administration as that which you’ll find in any film this year, let alone any giant Marvel movie. 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.”

Is the movie in theaters yet?!

What do you make of these reviews? Did you read any we should have included? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

Images: Marvel

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