Black Panther (film)

This page was last edited on 19 February 2018, at 19:52.

Black Panther is a 2018 American superhero film based on the Marvel Comics character of the same name. Produced by Marvel Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, it is the eighteenth film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). It is directed by Ryan Coogler, written by Coogler and Joe Robert Cole, and stars Chadwick Boseman as T'Challa / Black Panther, alongside Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong'o, Danai Gurira, Martin Freeman, Daniel Kaluuya, Letitia Wright, Winston Duke, Angela Bassett, Forest Whitaker, and Andy Serkis. In Black Panther, T'Challa returns home as king of Wakanda but finds his sovereignty challenged by a long-time adversary, in a conflict with global consequences.

Wesley Snipes mentioned his intention to work on a Black Panther film in 1992, and the project developed through several iterations over the decade, but did not come to fruition. A Black Panther film was announced as one of ten based on Marvel characters to be developed by Marvel Studios and distributed by Paramount Pictures in September 2005, with Mark Bailey hired to write a script in January 2011. Black Panther was officially announced in October 2014, with Boseman first appearing in the role in Captain America: Civil War. By the end of 2015, Cole and Coogler had both joined, and additional cast members came on board beginning in May 2016, making it the first Marvel film with a predominantly black cast. Principal photography took place from January to April 2017, at EUE/Screen Gems Studios in the Atlanta metropolitan area, and Busan, South Korea.

Black Panther premiered in Los Angeles on January 29, 2018, and was released theatrically in the United States on February 16, 2018, in IMAX and 3D. It received praise for the visuals, screenplay, characters, direction, costume design, action sequences, soundtrack, and performances, with some calling it one of the best films set in the MCU and noting its cultural significance. It has grossed over $404 million worldwide, and its domestic opening weekend of $201.8 million was the fifth-highest of all-time and also set the record for biggest debut by an African American director.

Black Panther
Black Panther film poster
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Ryan Coogler
Produced by Kevin Feige
Written by
  • Ryan Coogler
  • Joe Robert Cole
Based on
Starring
Music by Ludwig Göransson
Cinematography Rachel Morrison
Edited by
  • Michael P. Shawver[1]
  • Claudia Castello[1]
Production
company
Distributed by Walt Disney Studios
Motion Pictures
Release date
  • January 29, 2018 (Dolby Theatre)
  • February 16, 2018 (United States)
Running time
134 minutes[2]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $200 million[3]
Box office $404 million[4]

Plot

Centuries ago, five African tribes went to war over a meteorite containing vibranium. A warrior ingested a "heart-shaped herb" that was affected by the metal and gained superhuman abilities. He became the first "Black Panther", and united all tribes (except the Jabari Tribe who declined) to form the nation of Wakanda. Over time, the Wakandans used the vibranium to develop advanced technology and isolated themselves from the world by posing as a Third World country.

In 1992, King T'Chaka travels to Oakland, California to visit his undercover brother, N'Jobu. Black market arms dealer Ulysses Klaue had infiltrated Wakanda and stolen vibranium, and T'Chaka accuses N'Jobu of assisting him. N'Jobu's friend reveals himself to be Zuri, another undercover Wakandan, who confirms T'Chaka's suspicions.

In 2016, following T'Chaka's death at the hands of Helmut Zemo,[N 1] his son T'Challa returns to Wakanda to assume the throne. He and Okoye, the leader of the Dora Milaje fighting force, extract his ex-lover Nakia from an undercover assignment so she can attend his coronation ceremony, along with his mother Ramonda and younger sister Shuri. At the ceremony, the Jabari Tribe's leader M'Baku challenges T'Challa for the crown in ritual combat. T'Challa defeats M'Baku and convinces him to surrender rather than die.

Klaue and Erik Stevens cooperate to steal a Wakandan artifact from a museum. T'Challa learns that Klaue plans to sell the artifact in an underground casino in Busan, South Korea. W'Kabi, T'Challa's friend and Okoye's lover, urges him to either kill Klaue or return with him. T'Challa, Okoye, and Nakia travel to the casino where T'Challa learns CIA agent Everett K. Ross is the intended buyer. A firefight breaks out, Klaue escapes, and Okoye, Nakia and Ross pursue. With Shuri's help, T'Challa captures Klaue.

While Ross interrogates Klaue, Klaue reveals that Wakanda's international image is just a front for a technologically advanced civilization. They are ambushed by Erik, who extracts Klaue; Ross is severely injured intercepting a bullet for Nakia. T'Challa notices Erik's wearing a ring identical to his own. T'Challa decides to take Ross to Wakanda where their technology can save him rather than pursue Klaue.

While Shuri heals Ross, T'Challa confronts Zuri about what happened to N'Jobu. Zuri explains that N'Jobu planned to share Wakanda's technology with people of African descent around the world to help them conquer their oppressors. As T'Chaka prepared to imprison N'Jobu, N'Jobu attacked Zuri, forcing T'Chaka to kill him. They left behind N'Jobu's son, Erik, as returning with him would complicate their lie that N'Jobu had disappeared. Erik would eventually grow into a U.S. black ops soldier, earning the name "Killmonger".

Killmonger kills Klaue, then takes his body to Wakanda. He is brought before the tribal elders, revealing his identity and claim to the throne. He challenges T'Challa to ritual combat; after killing Zuri, he defeats T'Challa and hurls him over a waterfall. Nakia extracts one of the heart-shaped herbs before Killmonger orders the rest incinerated. Killmonger, supported by W'Kabi and his army, prepares shipments of Wakandan weapons to be distributed to operatives around the world. Nakia, Shuri, Ramonda and Ross flee to the Jabari Tribe to seek their aid, where they find a comatose T'Challa, rescued by the Jabari in repayment for sparing M'Baku's life. Healed by Nakia's herb, T'Challa requests aid from M'Baku, who declines.

T'Challa returns to Wakanda to fight Killmonger, who commands W'Kabi and his army to attack T'Challa. The Dora Milaje, joined by Shuri and Nakia, battle Killmonger, who dons his own Black Panther suit. Shuri instructs Ross to remotely pilot a jet to shoot down the planes carrying the vibranium weapons. M'Baku and the Jabari eventually arrive to assist T'Challa. When confronted by Okoye, W'Kabi and his army surrender. Fighting in Wakanda's vibranium mine, T'Challa disrupts Killmonger's suit and fatally stabs him. Killmonger declines an offer to be healed and imprisoned, choosing instead to die a free man.

T'Challa establishes an outreach center at the building where N'Jobu died to be run by Nakia and Shuri. In a mid-credits scene, T'Challa appears before the United Nations to reveal Wakanda's true nature to the world. In a post-credits scene, Shuri continues to help Bucky Barnes with his recuperation.

Cast

Black Panther cast by Gage Skidmore
(L:R) Producer Kevin Feige, director Ryan Coogler, and actors Lupita Nyong'o, Michael B. Jordan, Danai Gurira, and Chadwick Boseman promoting Black Panther at the 2016 San Diego Comic-Con International.
  • Chadwick Boseman as T'Challa / Black Panther:
    The king of the fictional African nation of Wakanda,[6][7][8] who gains enhanced strength by ingesting the Heart-Shaped Herb.[9] After the events of Captain America: Civil War, and the death of his father T'Chaka, T'Challa is in mourning while ascending to the throne.[6][10] Boseman, who called T'Challa an anti-hero,[11] said that he is "very much aware of [his] responsibility" as the leader of Wakanda.[12] Black Panther's suit that forms around his body was inspired by a similar design seen in Ta-Nehisi Coates' Black Panther comic book run.[13] Boseman worked with the same dialect coach he had during Message from the King,[11] and worked with Marrese Crump to stay in shape between Civil War and Black Panther.[10] He signed a five-film contract with Marvel.[14] Ashton Tyler plays a young T'Challa.[15]
  • Michael B. Jordan as N'Jadaka / Erik "Killmonger" Stevens:
    The son of N'Jobu, and a U.S. black-ops soldier who seeks to overthrow T'Challa.[16][17] Executive producer Nate Moore said Killmonger "has his own opinion on how Wakanda has been run and should [be] run".[18] Jordan, who had "been wanting to play a villain for a while,"[19] likened Killmonger and T'Challa's relationship to the X-Men characters Magneto and Professor X.[20] He added that Killmonger is "very strategic, thoughtful. He's very patient. Very well skilled, trained to a T."[21] Killmonger's bumpy, ritualistic tribal markings on his chest and torso resemble the scar tattoos of the Mursi and Surma tribes,[22] and consisted of 90 individually sculpted silicone molds that took two-and-a-half hours to apply.[15] His dreadlocks hairstyle was a modern take on the character's long hair in the comics.[20] Corey Calliet served as Jordan's trainer on the film, after also doing so on Creed.[23] Seth Carr plays a young Killmonger.[15]
  • Lupita Nyong'o as Nakia:
    T'Challa's former lover and a War Dog, an undercover spy for Wakanda placed in other countries to complete missions.[18][24] She is from the River Tribe.[10] Nyong'o called Nakia a "departure" from her comic counterpart.[18] She begins the film fighting for enslaved women in Nigeria; Nyong'o learned to speak Hausa for certain scenes in the film. She also trained in judo, jujitsu, silat and Filipino martial arts.[10]
  • Danai Gurira as Okoye:
    An "extremely proud" Wakandan and traditionalist from the Border Tribe, who is the head of the Dora Milaje, the all-female special forces of Wakanda, who serve as T'Challa's bodyguards.[25][26][27] When looking to cast Gurira, director Ryan Coogler had not seen The Walking Dead, in which Gurira portrays the popular character Michonne, and instead wanted her for the part because of her performance in Mother of George. Gurira said that the fighting skills she learned playing Michonne complemented the skills of Okoye, but that "there's a lot of ways that they're extremely different ... Okoye is a whole 'nother thing."[28] Gurira described the Dora Milaje as a secret service that is "also very much about intel. It's not just military," with Okoye the head of intel. Regarding Okoye's stoic demeanor, Gurira said, "She can be serious, but she also has an unexpected sense of humor. She has a heart, but for her country and for her people."[27]
  • Martin Freeman as Everett K. Ross:
    A member of the CIA and former liaison of its Joint Counter Terrorism Task Force.[29][30] Freeman said that Ross "has an uneasy peace with T'Challa", and that he "goes on a strange journey, an enlightening journey to Wakanda."[29] Unlike his comic book counterpart, who mainly served as comic relief, Freeman and the filmmakers sought to turn this version of Ross into a more capable agent in terms of diplomacy and combat.[10][31]
  • Daniel Kaluuya as W'Kabi: A confidant to T'Challa and his best friend, who is the head of security for the Border Tribe, serving as the first line of defense for Wakanda.[32][18]
  • Letitia Wright as Shuri:
    T'Challa's 16-year-old sister and the princess of Wakanda who designs new technology for the country.[33][10] Wright described her as "an innovative spirit and an innovative mind" who "wants to take Wakanda to a new place... [and] has a great fashion sense". Wright also felt Shuri was a good role model for young black girls.[33] Moore called Shuri the smartest person in the world, even more so than Tony Stark.[10]
  • Winston Duke as M'Baku:
    A powerful, ruthless warrior who is the leader of Wakanda's mountain tribe, the Jabari, who are in protest to T'Challa being the new king.[34] Duke described the Jabari as people who "strongly believe that to move forward, you have to have a strong adherence and respect for the past. So they have a deep moral conscience."[35] Character elements from Christopher Priest's 1998-2003 Black Panther series were adapted for M'Baku's portrayal in the film.[34] M'Baku is not referred to in the film by his comics alter ego "Man-Ape", since Marvel felt there were "a lot of racial implications that don't sit well" in having a black character dress up as an ape. This aspect of the character was instead reworked to have the Jabari tribe that M'Baku is the leader of worship the gorilla gods, with M'Baku still wearing elements of fur on his arms and legs and a chest-plate that hints at the gorilla. Moore continued, "Man-Ape is a problematic character for a lot of reasons, but the idea behind Man-Ape we thought was really fascinating ... It's a line I think we're walking, and hopefully walking successfully."[34] To further differentiate the Jabari, Duke spoke a version of the Nigerian Igbo language rather than the Xhosa language spoken by other Wakandans.[15]
  • Angela Bassett as Ramonda:
    T'Challa's mother and Queen Mother of Wakanda.[36] Boseman noted that Ramonda "is one of the advisors that [T'Challa] would look to... for some of the answers of what his father might want or might do. She may not be exactly right all the time, but she definitely has insights."[18] Bassett wore a silver, waist-length wig for the role that was made from 120 pieces of hair hand-rolled into dreadlocks.[15] Calliet also served as Bassett's trainer, working with her before she began filming, and while she was on set, by creating high-intensity interval training circuits and helping to craft her diet.[23]
  • Forest Whitaker as Zuri:
    An elder statesman in Wakanda, and the keeper of the heart-shaped herb.[18][32] Coogler called Zuri a religious and spiritual figure, and a way to reference the spirituality within Wakanda from the comics. He also added that Zuri "is a major tie back" to T'Chaka for T'Challa, and is "Black Panther's version of Obi-Wan Kenobi."[37] Denzel Whitaker, who is not related to Forest, plays a young Zuri.[17]
  • Andy Serkis as Ulysses Klaue:
    A South African black-market arms dealer, smuggler and gangster,[1][10][38] who is allied with Killmonger.[13][18] He uses a piece of advanced Wakandan mining equipment as a sonic disruptor arm-cannon.[39] Boseman described Klaue as a threat to Wakanda, one of the few outsiders to enter the country, and someone with access to vibranium, comparing him to Osama bin Laden.[40] Serkis added that in addition to his desire for vibranium, Klaue is motivated by a "personal" vendetta against T'Challa, and "to expose what he thinks is the hypocrisy of Wakanda."[41]

Additionally, John Kani and Florence Kasumba reprise their respective roles of T'Chaka and Ayo from Captain America: Civil War,[32][42] with Kani's son Atandwa portraying a young T'Chaka.[17] Sterling K. Brown plays N'Jobu, T'Chaka's brother and Killmonger's father, who is a War Dog sent to America.[43][17] Wakandan elders in the film include Isaach de Bankolé for the River Tribe,[44][15] Connie Chiume for the Mining Tribe,[45][15] Dorothy Steel for the Merchant Tribe, and Danny Sapani for the Border Tribe.[15] Sydelle Noel appears as Xoliswa, a member of the Dora Milaje,[46][47] with other members played by Marija Abney, Janeshia Adams-Ginyard, Maria Hippolyte, Marie Mouroum, Jénel Stevens, Zola Williams, Christine Hollingsworth, and Shaunette Renée Wilson.[15] Nabiyah Be initially announced that she was playing criminal Tilda Johnson,[48] but her character was simply named Linda in the final film due to Gabrielle Dennis being cast as Johnson in the second season of Luke Cage.[49][50][15] Black Panther co-creator Stan Lee has a cameo in the film as a patron in the South Korean casino,[51][17] and Sebastian Stan has an uncredited cameo reprising his role as Bucky Barnes in a post-credits scene.[52]

Production

Development

In June 1992, Wesley Snipes announced his intention to make a film about Black Panther.[53] Snipes wanted to highlight the majesty of Africa, which he felt was poorly portrayed in Hollywood films, saying, "I think Black Panther spoke to me because he was noble, and he was the antithesis of the stereotypes presented and portrayed about Africans, African history and the great kingdoms of Africa."[54] He had begun work on the film by that August.[55] The next July, Snipes planned to begin The Black Panther after starring in Demolition Man,[56] and the next month he expressed interest in making sequels to the film as well.[57] In January 1994, Snipes entered talks with Columbia Pictures to portray Black Panther,[58] and Black Panther co-creator Stan Lee joined the film by March;[59] it had entered early development by May.[60] Snipes had discussions with several different screenwriters and directors about the project, including Mario Van Peebles and John Singleton.[54] When the film had not progressed by January 1996, Lee explained that he had not been pleased with the scripts for the project.[61] Snipes said that there was confusion among those unfamiliar with the comics, thinking that the film was about the Black Panther Party.[54]

In July 1997, Black Panther was listed as part of Marvel Comics' film slate,[62] and in March 1998, Marvel reportedly hired Joe Quesada and Jimmy Palmiotti, who at the time were editors of the Black Panther comics under the Marvel Knights brand, to work on it.[63][54] However, Quesada and Palmiotti have denied that this happened.[54] That August, corporate problems at Marvel put the project on hold,[64] while the next August, Snipes was set to produce, and possibly star, in the film.[65] In May 2000, Artisan Entertainment announced a deal with Marvel to co-produce, finance, and distribute a film based on Black Panther.[66] In March 2002, Snipes said he planned to film Blade 3 or Black Panther in 2003,[67] and reiterated his interest five months later.[68] In July 2004, Blade 3 director David S. Goyer said this was unlikely, as Snipes was "already so entrenched as Blade that another Marvel hero might be overkill."[69]

In September 2005, Marvel chairman and CEO Avi Arad announced Black Panther as one of the ten Marvel films that would be developed by Marvel Studios and distributed by Paramount Pictures.[70] In June 2006, Snipes said he hoped to have a director for the project soon.[71] In February 2007, Kevin Feige, president of production for Marvel Studios, reiterated that Black Panther was on Marvel's development slate.[72] By July, John Singleton had been approached to direct the film.[73] In March 2009, Marvel hired writers to help come up with creative ways to launch its lesser-known properties, including Black Panther,[74] with Nate Moore, the head of the writers program, helping to oversee the development of the Black Panther film specifically.[75] In January 2011, Marvel Studios hired documentary filmmaker Mark Bailey to write a script for Black Panther, to be produced by Feige.[76] In October 2013, Feige said "I don't know when it will be exactly, but we certainly have plans to bring [Black Panther] to life some day", noting that the Marvel Cinematic Universe had already introduced the metal vibranium, which comes from Black Panther's home nation Wakanda.[77] There had been discussions of introducing Wakanda to the MCU as early as 2010's Iron Man 2, but this was put off until Marvel had "a full idea of what exactly that looked like."[10]

In October 2014, Feige announced that Black Panther would be released on November 3, 2017, with Chadwick Boseman cast in the title role.[7][8] Boseman did not audition before he was hired for the role, instead discussing what he wanted to do with the part with Marvel.[78] The actor was set to first portray the character in Captain America: Civil War, before starring in his own film.[8] Feige said that Marvel was considering minority filmmakers for the director and writer, but that they were focused on "looking for the best filmmakers, the best writers, the best directors possible. So I'm not going to say for sure that we're going to hire from any one demographic, but we're meeting a lot of people." He added that they had met with former Black Panther comics writer Reginald Hudlin.[79] In January 2015, Boseman said that the film was going through a "brainstorming phase", and he was looking at the different stories in the comics and how they may be merged for the film.[80] The next month, Marvel pushed back the release date to July 6, 2018.[81] In April 2015, Feige said he would be meeting with directors after the release of Avengers: Age of Ultron at the end of the month, and that further casting was underway.[82]

By May 2015, Marvel had discussions with Ava DuVernay to direct this film or Captain Marvel.[83] In June, Feige confirmed that he had met with DuVernay alongside a number of other directors, and said that he expected a decision to be made by mid- to late 2015.[84] By early July, DuVernay had passed on directing the film, explaining that "Marvel has a certain way of doing things and I think they're fantastic and a lot of people love what they do. I loved that they reached out to me... [but] we had different ideas about what the story would be ... we just didn't see eye to eye. Better for me to realize that now than cite creative differences later."[85] Later in the month, DuVernay expanded,

It was a process of trying to figure out, are these people I want to go to bed with? Because it's really a marriage, and for this it would be three years. It'd be three years of not doing other things that are important to me. So it was a question of, is this important enough for me to do? At one point, the answer was yes because I thought there was value in putting that kind of imagery into the culture in a worldwide, huge way ... a black man as a hero—that would be pretty revolutionary. These Marvel films go everywhere from Shanghai to Uganda, and nothing that I probably will make will reach that many people, so I found value in that ... [but] it's important to me that [my work] be true to who I was in this moment. And if there's too much compromise, it really wasn't going to be an Ava DuVernay film.[86]

By October 2015, F. Gary Gray and Ryan Coogler had been considered to direct the film,[87][88] though negotiations with Coogler had cooled,[88] and Gray had chosen to direct Fast & Furious 8 instead.[89] Joe Robert Cole, a member of the Marvel writers program, was in talks to write the screenplay,[90] and Marvel changed the release date once again, moving it to February 16, 2018.[91] By December, discussions with Coogler were reignited after the successful opening of his film Creed.[88] Feige described Black Panther as "a big geopolitical action adventure that focuses on the family and royal struggle of T'Challa in Wakanda, and what it means to be a king", while calling the film "a very important" link to Avengers: Infinity War and its sequel.[92][93] He added that the film would be the first Marvel Studios production to feature a "primarily African-American cast".[93][94]

Pre-production

In January 2016, Coogler was confirmed as director,[96] and explained that he grew up reading comics, so Black Panther "is just as personal to me as the last couple of films I was able to make. I feel really fortunate to be able to work on something I'm this passionate about again."[97][98] In agreeing to direct the film after being "wooed" by Feige for months, Coogler insisted that he bring collaborators from his previous films to work on Black Panther, to differentiate the film from others in the MCU, that are often "shot, composed, and edited by the same in-house people". This included Fruitvale Station cinematographer Rachel Morrison,[99] as well as production designer Hannah Beachler and composer Ludwig Göransson, who both worked with Coogler on Fruitvale Station and Creed.[99][100] Discussing working in with the MCU while still creating "a Ryan Coogler movie", the director said,

What Marvel's doing ... is making content that exists in a particular universe, where the characters tie in and crossover, and I think that's a great creative challenge to me—to make this movie as personal as possible. It's going to be my most personal movie to date, which is crazy to say, but it's completely the case. I'm obsessed with this character and this story right now, and I think it's going to be very unique and still fit into the overall narrative that they're establishing. I grew up as a comic book fan, and the same things used to happen in the comic books. You'd have Wolverine's books, and they'd be so much darker and more brutal than the X-Men books, but they'd still fit in when you open the pages of the X-Men book. It's new to movies, but it's not new to storytelling.[101]

Ryan Coogler by Gage Skidmore
Coogler promoting Black Panther at the 2016 San Diego Comic-Con International

In April 2016, Feige said that Coogler was working on the script with Cole, and that filming would begin at the "very beginning of next year".[102] Feige noted that Civil War laid "the groundwork" for T'Challa's morality, and established the "geopolitical landscape" that he would have to deal with on returning to Wakanda for Black Panther.[103] Civil War also introduced the Wakandan language, based on the Xhosa language. Boseman was taught Xhosa by John Kani, who portrayed T'Challa's father King T'Chaka in that film.[104] Lupita Nyong'o entered negotiations to star as T'Challa's love interest the next month,[24] and Michael B. Jordan also joined, in an undisclosed role, after previously working with Coogler on Fruitvale Station and Creed.[16] Later in the month, Nate Moore, now serving as a producer on the film, stated that filming would occur in Atlanta, Georgia, with Marvel "definitely investigating shooting in Africa" as well.[75]

At San Diego Comic-Con International 2016, Nyong'o was confirmed for the film, in the role of Nakia, while Jordan's role was revealed to be Erik Killmonger. Also announced was Danai Gurira as Okoye. Coogler confirmed that filming would begin in January 2017.[25][26] In September 2016, Winston Duke was cast as M'Baku, a role that Yahya Abdul-Mateen II had also tested for.[105] The following month, Forest Whitaker was cast as Zuri and Daniel Kaluuya as W'Kabi, with Florence Kasumba revealed to be reprising her role as Ayo from Captain America: Civil War.[32] Letitia Wright was also cast in an unspecified role.[106] Angela Bassett was cast as T'Challa's mother, Ramonda, in November,[36] and by January 2017, Sterling K. Brown was cast as N'Jobu.[43] At that time, Marvel received permission from the Oakland-based public transit agency AC Transit to use their logo in the film for the opening flashback sequence. The setting was chosen due to Coogler's Oakland roots.[107]

The production team was inspired by Ta-Nehisi Coates' run on Black Panther, who was writing the comic at the time, including Coates' poetic dialogue, the art by Brian Stelfreeze, and "some of the questions that it's asking."[95] Other runs of Black Panther in the comics that inspired the film include those by Jack Kirby, Christopher Priest (which Coogler felt most influenced the film), Jonathan Hickman, and Hudlin. Characters for the film were picked from throughout the comics, based on what worked best for the film's story.[35] Coogler had hoped to include Spider-Man villain Kraven the Hunter early in the process (before being told the character was unavailable to use in the film) because of a scene in Priest's run that had T'Challa fighting Kraven.[108] Donald Glover and his brother Stephen Glover made some minor contributions to an early draft of the script, which included developing the relationship between T'Challa and his younger sister Shuri.[109]

Design

Cole called the film an historic opportunity to depict a black superhero "at a time when African-Americans are affirming their identities while dealing with vilification and dehumanization." He added that it was important to root the themes of the film in the actual cultures of Africa, and that they would be working with experts on the region of Africa that Wakanda is supposed to be located in.[110] Elaborating on this, Cole noted that all the countries in Africa have "different histories, mythologies, and cultures [so] what we tried to do was hone in on some of the history, some of the cultural influences and then extrapolate out in our technology ... we wanted to root it in reality first and then build out from there".[6] Coogler compared the rarity of vibranium existing only in Wakanda to the real-life mineral coltan that can almost only be found in Congo.[111] He wanted Wakanda to feel like a country rather than just one city by featuring multiple tribes, each with their own cultures,[34] and created a project bible that listed each Wakandan tribe and their origins, which guided the design process. Special care was taken in all aspects of the design to create a futuristic look that was not alien,[10] as some of Jack Kirby's comic designs appeared.[112]

Beachler wanted to honor the comics with her designs, and then fill in the gaps with research concentrated on Sub-Saharan Africa, pulling inspiration from Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Ethiopia,[113] as well as the designs of Zaha Hadid. Moore described this approach as a love letter to Africa.[10] Beachler looked at the architecture of existing tribes, and then tried to make them technologically advanced in a natural way rather than if Wakanda had been colonized.[113] She said that this combination of old and new was an important theme throughout the film, as well as circular motifs to signify the transmission of energy. Some of the older areas explored in the film include Warrior Falls, the City of the Dead, and the Hall of Kings, which are juxtaposed with the more modern Afropunk style of the Golden City, the capital.[10] Rondavels were incorporated into the tops of Wakanda's skyscrapers, inspired by the look of mountains at Blyde River Canyon in South Africa.[113] Beachler created different sigils and architecture for each of the Wakandan tribes, with the Border Tribe inspired by Lesotho, the Merchant Tribe having a sigil based on Nigerian writing, and the Golden Tribe using a symbol for the sun found throughout Africa. Gorilla City, home to the Jabari Tribe, was originally set in a rain forest, but Coogler suggested that it be found up a mountain in snow.[10] Beachler based the written form of the Wakandan language seen throughout the film on an old Nigerian language. Beachler also worked on the vibranium technology used throughout the country, consulting with mining and metallurgy experts.[15] This included the vibranium mine where the substance is depicted as glowing blue rocks, before it is refined into the stainless steel look previously seen in the MCU. The film also adapts the kimoyo bead technology from the comics, and features sand-based technology. Beachler wanted all of the futuristic elements of the film to be consistent with projections of what real world technology may be like in 25 or 30 years. Vehicles use maglev and hovercraft modes of transport, and include a vibranium train; the king's Royal Talon Fighter, which looks like a mask from the top and bottom; and the Dragon Flyer, inspired by the Congo peafowl.[10]

Costume designer Ruth E. Carter referenced the Maasai, Himba, Dogon, Basotho, Tuareg, Turkana, Xhosa, Zulu, Suri and Dinka people in her designs for Wakanda.[114][115] She also examined appropriate works by Japanese fashion designer Issey Miyake, French fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent and American fashion designer Donna Karan.[115] Winnie Mandela provided inspiration to the costumes Carter created for Angela Bassett, while the Dora Milaje costumes primarily used red to reflect different African cultures, and included beaded tabards that feature talismans for "protection, good spirit, and good luck, and a sense of ownership, as if the costume could be handed down from mother to daughter." Carter specifically wanted to avoid the "girls in the bathing suits" look, and instead have the Dora Milaje wear full armor that they would practically need for battle. She also had to take the stunt work that the actors had to do into consideration. The costumes for T'Challa combined his role as king and as the head of the military, including combining a kente cloth cloak with military boots. Carter also used distinct colors and patterns for each of Wakanda's tribes, such as green with shells for the River Tribe, blue with wood for the Border Tribe, and black with royal purple for the Black Panther and the Royal Palace. Three out of every five people in Wakanda go barefoot, which also influenced the costuming process. When the Wakandan characters are in other countries, their clothing looks "quite normal" but is intended to be consistent with their respective Wakandan designs.[10] Carter created 700 costumes for the film, working with "an army" of illustrators, designers, mold makers, fabric dyers, jewelry makers and more.[115]

Filming

Principal photography had begun by January 21, 2017,[116] at EUE/Screen Gems Studios in the Atlanta metropolitan area,[117][118] under the working title Motherland.[119][120] Filming also took place in the Sweet Auburn neighborhood in Atlanta and Atlanta City Hall, the latter serving as a United Nations building.[117] Shortly after filming started, Kani's son Atandwa stated that he would appear in the film alongside his father, the latter reprising the role of T'Chaka,[42] while on-set photographs revealed that Martin Freeman would reprise his role as Everett K. Ross.[116] Marvel announced the start of production on January 26, along with confirming the casting of Freeman, Wright, and John Kani, and revealing that Andy Serkis would reprise his role as Ulysses Klaue from Avengers: Age of Ultron.[1][38] Atandwa portrays a younger version of his father's character, and also served as a cultural consultant during filming, along with dialect coach Beth McGuire who ensured there was continuity between the various actors who had to use "Wakandan accents".[15]

Jordan joined the production later than the rest of the core cast. He felt that this aided his performance, since his character is separate from and in conflict with the other characters. Because of this, Jordan kept to himself while he was on set.[10] It was revealed during a press visit to the film's set that the Dora Milaje would be widely explored in the film, which does not adapt the ceremonial betrothal aspect from the comics. Moore compared the politics and humor of the film to Captain America: The Winter Soldier, saying that the former would be inherent but not "preachy", and that the latter would be avoiding the tones of Guardians of the Galaxy and Ant-Man. He added that the film does not depend on the plots of any other MCU films—and the character Bucky Barnes / Winter Soldier would not come out of cryogenic sleep during Black Panther after being frozen by Wakandan scientists at the end of Civil War—but the events of this film do effect the wider MCU moving forward.[10] Since Black Panther and Avengers: Infinity War were filming simultaneously in Atlanta, both production teams worked together closely to ensure a unified presentation of Wakanda in the films, as the country also plays a large role in Infinity War.[118]

The majority of Beachler's sets were constructed on sound stages in Atlanta, including the Tribal Council, Shuri's design space, and the Hall of Kings. The Tribal Council set was built with a glass floor through which an old ruin can be seen. The exterior set for Warrior Falls was built on a backlot north of Atlanta, and was inspired by the Oribi Gorge. The set was 36 feet (11 m), made up of a 6 feet (1.8 m) high pool, and then 30 feet (9.1 m) high cliff faces that were designed to be extended to 100 feet (30 m) with visual effects. A framework for the cliffs was hand-sculpted from industrial styrofoam, with a system of tunnels built-in to the design to allow extras to climb up to different areas of the cliffs. The framework was then covered with 25,000 cubic feet (710 m3) of foam that was sculptured to match rocks found at Oribi Gorge. Six large pumps were used to fill the pool at the base of the set, and create a waterfall over the ledge at the bottom. The base of the pool was made from padding so stunts could safely be carried out on the set, but designed to look like rocks and to have enough grip that the actors would not fall over in the water. The set took four months to complete, and was used for two weeks of filming.[15]

Additional filming took place in South Korea,[1] with the city of Busan serving as the setting of a car chase scene,[120] involving 150 cars and over 700 people.[121] Filming in Busan began on March 17, 2017,[122] with shooting occurring at the Jagalchi Fish Market,[123] and filming taking place by Gwangalli Beach on March 21.[122] Other filming locations included Marine City in the Haeundae District and at the Gwangandaegyo Bridge.[121] The production crew also hired hundreds of current and former film students from local universities as staff or assistant staff during the South Korea filming.[122] Filming in the country wrapped on March 27.[121] At CinemaCon 2017, Wright was revealed to be portraying Shuri in the film.[124] Location shooting also took place at the Rwenzori Mountains and Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda,[125] while Marzano Films provided aerial footage of South Africa, Zambia, Uganda and South Korea.[126] Filming concluded on April 19, 2017.[100]

Post-production

At the end of June 2017, Sydelle Noel revealed she had been cast in the film as Xoliswa, a member of the Dora Milaje.[46][47] In July 2017, Moore said Black Panther would be a cross between The Godfather and the James Bond films as a "big, operatic family drama centered around a world of international espionage. So hopefully we're getting the best of both worlds."[18] Coogler added that the film was influenced by "the films of the '70s" such as the works of Francis Ford Coppola in that decade, as well as crime fiction. Coogler also watched the film A Prophet for inspiration.[127] Feige called the film's story "rich in culturally relevant ideas. These are conversations we were having two years ago because that is inherently the story within the comics. Now it's going to seem like the most highly fluid thing we could have done." Boseman also indicated there were parallels to "pull from" in the film in relation to Donald Trump becoming President of the United States after Barack Obama.[40] In January 2018, Coogler hinted at the inclusion of post-credit scenes.[127] Two are included, with the second featuring Sebastian Stan reprising his role as Bucky Barnes.[52]

Visual effects for the film were created by: Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) with help from Virtuos, Stereo D, and Scanline VFX; Double Negative; Luma Pictures; Mammal Studios; Method Studios; Perception; Rise Visual Effects Studios; Torm Studios; Trixter; Cantina Creative; Lola VFX; Capital T; Exceptional Minds; Technicolor VFX; Rodeo FX; Imageloom VFX; Anibrain; Method Pune; Bot VFX; Pixstone Images; Futureworks; Vertigo Visual; FX3X; and Yannix Thailand Co.[128][15] Previsualization was completed by Digital Domain and The Third Floor, while Perception also created the main title sequence for the film.[15]

Music

Ludwig Göransson was hired to compose the film's score by April 2017.[100] Göransson traveled to Senegal and South Africa to record local musicians to form the "base" of his soundtrack.[129] Kendrick Lamar produced the film's curated soundtrack, titled Black Panther: The Album, along with Top Dawg Entertainment founder Anthony Tiffith. Coogler chose Lamar for the project because his "artistic themes align with those we explore in the film."[130] Three singles from the album were released throughout January and February 2018: "All the Stars",[130] "King's Dead",[131] and "Pray for Me".[132] Black Panther: The Album was released on February 9, 2018,[133] while a soundtrack of Göransson's score was released on February 16, 2018.[134]

Release

Black Panther had its world premiere at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles on January 29, 2018.[135] The premiere featured a purple carpet that was flanked by women dressed as the Dora Milaje, and was lit by futuristic lamps.[136] Coogler, the cast members, and other guests wore African clothing, to honor the African roots of the film, at the request of Marvel for attendees to wear "royal attire".[136][3] Ahead of the screening at the premiere, Coogler received an extended standing ovation before he announced the cast of the film.[136] Black Panther was released in the United Kingdom, Hong Kong, and Taiwan on February 13, 2018,[137] in South Korea on February 14, 2018,[138] and the United States on February 16, 2018.[91] In the United States, the film opened in 4,020 theaters,[139] with over 3,200 of those in 3D,[140] 404 in IMAX,[139] over 660 in premium large format, and over 200 D-Box locations. In addition, Black Panther was the first MCU film to be converted to ScreenX, a 270-degree wraparound format, that played in over 101 locations in eight countries.[140] The film opened in most of its markets in its first weekend of release and had a "cross-nation release" in Africa, a first for a Disney film.[137][111][125] It was originally scheduled to be released on November 3, 2017,[7] before moving in February 2015 to July 6, 2018 to accommodate Spider-Man: Homecoming.[81] In October 2015, it moved again to accommodate Ant-Man and the Wasp.[91]

Marketing

Marvel debuted early footage and concept art from the film in April 2017, at a press event for several of the MCU Phase Three films. Kyle Buchanan at Vulture.com praised the cinematography, costume and production design, and focus on dark skinned actors and characters, saying "Black Panther doesn't look like any of the other Marvel movies ... If this is what the future of superhero movies looks like, deal me in."[100] Feige believed the screened footage was the first time Marvel had shown raw dailies, a decision made because the company wanted to show off the film's cast (which Feige called "the highest-class cast we've had on a first movie") and diversity, even though editing for it had not yet begun.[141]

A teaser poster was released ahead of the first teaser trailer, which premiered during Game 4 of the 2017 NBA Finals.[142][143] Fans felt the poster was poorly photoshopped, and tweets mentioning it were only 27 percent positive, and 27 percent negative, according to CNBC's marketing technology firm Amobee.[144] The poster was also compared to a real-life picture of Black Panther Party co-founder Huey P. Newton holding two gun spears.[142] The trailer received a much more positive response, with Peter Sciretta of /Film saying it was "nothing like I was expecting this movie to look like and that's refreshing."[145] io9's Charles Pulliam-Moore called the teaser "every bit as intense as you were hoping it would be" and "epic as hell".[146] Andrew Husband for Uproxx felt the single teaser "easily outshines Spider-Man: Homecoming's big-from-the-beginning marketing campaign."[143] Forbes's Scott Mendelson felt that "Black Panther has the chance to be a seminal event in the same way we're now seeing with Wonder Woman."[147] The trailer was viewed 89 million times in 24 hours,[148] and "dominated the conversation on social media for much of the night" over Game 4, being the top-trending item on Twitter.[144] The Hollywood Reporter noted that the teaser generated 349,000 Twitter mentions in 24 hours, also more than Game 4. The amount of mentions were second to the amount the Star Wars: The Last Jedi teaser received.[148] comScore and its PreAct service noted over 466,000 new social media conversations for the film after the trailer released, the most for the week.[149] For the week ending on June 18, comScore and its PreAct service again noted social media conversations for the film, with over 33,000 new ones, the second-most for the week behind Spider-Man: Homecoming. The service also noted Black Panther produced a total of over 566,000 conversations to date.[150]

Black Panther cast by Gage Skidmore 2
(L:R) Moderator Chris Hardwick, Feige, Coogler, and the cast of Black Panther at the 2017 San Diego Comic-Con

Costumes from the film were on display at D23 Expo 2017 and the 2017 San Diego Comic-Con.[151][152] Also in July, Marvel Studios unveiled a partnership with Lexus, with the 2018 Lexus LC being featured in the film.[153] A graphic novel, Black Panther: Soul of the Machine, was released in December 2017 from writers Fabian Nicieza, Geoffrey Thorne and Chuck Brown, with cover illustrations by Scott "Rahzzah" Wilson and Szymon Kudranski, in which Black Panther defeats a villain with the help of the Lexus LC 500.[153][154][155] Lexus also unveiled the 2018 LC Inspiration Series production car and a concept coupe dubbed the Black Panther Inspired LC.[155] Coogler, Boseman and other members of the cast presented exclusive footage of the film at the 2017 San Diego Comic-Con, which received a standing ovation from the audience.[156] The footage segued into a montage featuring Kendrick Lamar's song "DNA". Coogler called the lyrics "amazing" and both literally and culturally appropriate for the footage and film.[157] In September 2017, Coogler, Gurira, and Moore participated in a panel at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation's Annual Legislative Conference, where exclusive footage from the film was also shown and met with a positive response.[111]

On October 16, 2017, a full trailer was released. Dave Trumbore for Collider felt it was "a killer trailer. It not only shows off a ton of action sequences, outrageous costume design, and comic book goodies for fans out there, it also brings an unmistakable sense of style that's all Black Panther's own."[158] Graeme McMillan of The Hollywood Reporter said the message of the trailer was clear: "this isn't like the other Marvel movies, this is something else".[159] BamSmackPow's Brendan Day said the trailer "does everything right", showing "a lot of cool imagery and action scenes without giving us much context or story points" and having unique music choices, featuring "BagBak" by Vince Staples and "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised" by Gil Scott-Heron.[160] Writing for Rolling Stone, Tre Johnson felt the trailer showed T'Challa as "someone with the arrogance of [John] Shaft, the coolness of [Barack] Obama and the hot-headed impulsiveness of Kanye West." He continued, "After decades of trying to nail the modern black superhero, we may finally be getting what we've asked for ... Coogler has set out to do something with the modern black superhero that all previous iterations have fallen short of doing: making it respectable, imaginative and powerful. The Afro-punk aesthetic, the unapologetic black swagger, the miniscule appearances from non-black characters – it's an important resetting of a standard of what's possible".[161] A few days later, Marvel Comics published a prelude tie-in comic focusing on one of T'Challa's first missions as the Black Panther around the time of Iron Man.[162]

Marvel again partnered with Lexus to create a commercial for Super Bowl LII. Promoting the 2018 Lexus LS 500 F Sport, it featured Boseman and Wright reprising their roles. The commercial was released on January 25, 2018, ahead of its airing during the Super Bowl.[163] Marvel also partnered with British shoe manufacturer Clarks to create a variant of their Originals' Trigenic Evo shoe, inspired by the film.[164] By February 12, 2018, Black Panther had amassed more than 5 million tweets on Twitter globally, becoming the most tweeted about film of 2018,[165] after being a top film in 2017 as well.[166] Twitter also launched a custom emoji for the film, that appears when the hashtag #BlackPanther is used.[165] During New York Fashion Week at Industria Studios in lower Manhattan, designers Cushnie et Ochs, Ikiré Jones, Tome, Sophie Theallet, Fear of God, Chromat, and LaQuan Smith created custom pieces that were inspired by the film. Nick Barose applied makeup for the event, while Rodney Cutler styled hair.[167]

Marketing in territories outside the United States by Disney was fairly uniform, with a few exceptions. In the Middle East, the focus was kept on Black Panther, rather than Boseman out of costume, as superhero films "just keep working" in the territory, according to Gianluca Chakra, Managing Partner of major regional Middle East distributor Front Row. For Asian territories, they also focused on Black Panther as well as the action in the film, a strong selling point for audiences there. A Wakanda exhibit was featured in malls in seven cities in China, along with displays showing Black Panther next to other established MCU characters. A special trailer was also created for the Chinese audience, with Boseman introducing himself and the character's connection to the other MCU films. Weibo attended the Los Angeles premiere of the film to take pictures and videos with the cast and crew in real time for China, the first time the company has partnered with a foreign studio for this type of engagement.[168]

Reception

Box office

As of February 19, 2018, Black Panther has grossed $235 million in the United States and Canada, and $169 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $404 million.[4] The $370.5 million earned worldwide in its opening weekend was the 15th-largest of all time.[169]

Pre-sale ticket records

In December 2017, a survey from Fandango indicated that Black Panther was the second most anticipated film of 2018, behind Avengers: Infinity War.[170] Fandango reported that its first 24 hours of ticket pre-sales for the film were the largest ever for a Marvel film, surpassing Captain America: Civil War.[171] Two weeks ahead of its release, Fandango announced that the film outsold all previous superhero films at the same point in the sales cycle, breaking the record previously held by Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.[172] Additionally, Black Panther had the highest number of ticket pre-sales for any superhero film at Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, after 18 days of sales. This was more than Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, the next closest film, which only had 72% of Black Panther's ticket sales in the same time frame.[173] AMC Theatres also revealed that the film was out-selling all previous Marvel films, with strong sales in both urban areas and suburban locations.[174] Four days before its United States opening, IMAX Entertainment CEO Greg Foster revealed that Black Panther had the most advanced IMAX ticket sales of any Marvel film. He added that it did not appear the ticket sales had peaked, stating that a film usually peaks 10 days before it opens, but Black Panther "feels like it's going to peak the day it opens".[175] Atom Tickets also revealed strong pre-sales for the film.[140] On February 15, 2017, Fandango announced that the film had the fourth-highest pre-sale tickets sold, behind Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, and Rogue One. It also became the top pre-seller for a superhero film, beating Captain America: Civil War and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, for a film released in February, beating Deadpool, as well as for the first quarter of the year, beating The Hunger Games and Beauty and the Beast.[176]

United States and Canada

Black Panther earned $75.8 million on its opening day in the United States and Canada (including $25.2 million from Thursday night previews), and had a total three-day weekend gross of $201.8 million, which was the fifth-best three-day opening ever and best ever for an African-American director.[139] The Thursday night gross was the second-best for a MCU film, behind Avengers: Age of Ultron ($27.6 million), the best preview night for a non-summer release, beating The Hunger Games ($19.7 million), and the best preview night for a February release, beating Deadpool ($12.7 million). $3 million of the Thursday preview gross came from IMAX, which was tied for the most with Age of Ultron and Captain America: Civil War.[139] The total opening day gross was the third-highest for a superhero film, behind Age of Ultron ($84 million) and The Avengers ($80 million), the second-highest pre-summer release, behind Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice ($81 million), and the eighth-highest opening day ever. The $50.6 million earned on Friday was the largest single-day gross for a solo superhero film and the largest single-day gross for a non-sequel film.[177] AMC Theatres also reported that Black Panther became the highest-grossing title in history at 33 of their locations after two days, earning more than other films have earned in an entire weekend.[178] They later stated that the film became the highest-grossing title in an opening weekend for 80 of their theaters, and that Black Panther had the second-largest Saturday in AMC history. The $60.1 million earned on Sunday was the second best ever, behind Star Wars: The Last Jedi ($60.5 million). IMAX contributed $23 million to the opening weekend gross, which was the best-ever for a February release and any Marvel film, and the fourth-best opening ever.[139]

The opening weekend gross of the film surpassed early projections for the film. Early projections for the film in December 2017 had the film earning between $80–90 million in its opening weekend.[179][180] By the end of January 2018, these projections were updated to have the film earn between $100-120 million,[181] ultimately increasing again closer to the film's release, projecting it to earn $150-170 million or more.[182][183][137] Several other film studios projected the total could be as high as $180-200 million.[140] Disney initially projected the film to gross around $150 million in its opening weekend,[137] updating their expectations to $172-198 million after the reporting of the Thursday preview gross for the film.[184] Black Panther is also projected to earn upwards of $400 million for its domestic total,[185] with some projections as high as $500 million.[139]

Other territories

Outside the United States and Canada, the film opened in 48 territories in its first weekend and has earned $168.7 million, opening at number one in most territories (and second in territories where Fifty Shades Freed performed better such as in Germany and Italy), and becoming the top February opening in many as well.[169][186] The film opened at number one in the United Kingdom,[186] where it had the best single day gross of 2018 so far and the highest-grossing February opening weekend ever.[169][186] In South Korea, where it also opened at number one, the opening day gross of $4.7 million was the second best MCU opening and the best ever for February.[186] The $25.3 million it earned in its opening weekend was the fifth highest Western release in South Korea. The other Asian markets that opened in its first weekend were also number one along with the biggest opening weekend of 2018 to date. The Latin America market also had all territories open at number one, and Black Panther was the best opening of 2018 in all except Argentina and Uruguay. It also was the highest grossing opening of February of all time in Mexico, Brazil, Colombia, Bolivia, Ecuador, Panama and Paraguay. The African market saw the highest grossing February opening of all-time in Bahrain, East Africa, Kuwait, Qatar, South Africa, the United Arab Emirates, and West Africa. South Africa also had the highest grossing Saturday ever and the second highest grossing opening weekend of all time. The Netherlands had the highest grossing day ever for a superhero film and the highest grossing February opening weekend ever.[169]

Other territories opening at number one included Australia, Bosnia, Croatia, Czech Rep, Greece, Israel, Portugal, Serbia, Ukraine, and in France, Belgium and Switzerland for the remainder of the opening weekend, after Fifty Shades Freed's top gross on Valentine's Day. Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines, and Indonesia recorded the largest opening day ever for February,[186] while Malaysia was the third-highest MCU opening of all time and Indonesia had the third-largest opening weekend of all time.[169] In Hong Kong, the opening was the second-largest opening day in February, while Taiwan and Australia had the third-largest February opening.[186] IMAX accounted for $34 million of the opening weekend gross, with Nigeria, Kenya, and Indonesia having the best opening weekend ever in the format, South Korea had the second best opening weekend, and Angola, Belgium, Bahrain, France, Israel, Netherlands, and Argentina and the best IMAX opening ever for a Marvel film.[169] As of February 19, 2018, the film's largest markets were South Korea ($25.3 million), the United Kingdom ($24.9 million), and Mexico ($9.6 million).[169]

Critical response

The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reports an approval rating of 97%, based on 302 reviews, with an average rating of 8.2/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Black Panther elevates superhero cinema to thrilling new heights while telling one of the MCU's most absorbing stories—and introducing some of its most fully realized characters."[188] By February 18, 2018, the film had attained a 97% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, which was the best approval rating for a live-action superhero film, beating The Dark Knight and Iron Man (both 94%).[189] Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned a score of 88 out of 100, based on 53 critics, indicating "universal acclaim".[190] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A+" on an A+ to F scale, the second superhero film to receive that grade after Marvel's own The Avengers. Filmgoers polled by Screen Engine/comScore's PostTrak service gave the film a 95% overall positive score and a 88% "definite recommend", with a third of people planning to see the film again. RelishMix reported that Twitter hashtags for #BlackPanther, and tagging of the film's Twitter account @TheBlackPanther, from audiences leaving the theater set an all-time film record in its opening weekend, with 559,000 unique posts in one day. This was twice the amount The Last Jedi received in December 2017, with 232,000, while 100,000 posts for a film is average.[139]

Todd McCarthy of The Hollywood Reporter wrote, "The actors are all seen to very good advantage. Boseman certainly holds his own, but there are quite a few charismatic supporting players here keen to steal every scene they can – and they do, notably the physically imposing Jordan, the radiant Nyong'o and especially Wright, who gives her every scene extra punch and humor."[191] Peter Debruge of Variety said, "Black Panther celebrates its hero's heritage while delivering one of Marvel's most all-around appealing standalone installments to date."[192] Manohla Dargis of The New York Times called Black Panther "a jolt of a movie," and said, "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."[193] Kenneth Turan of Los Angeles Times said, "With dialogue that deftly explores serious questions, such as how much if anything do wealthy countries owe the poor and oppressed of the world, Black Panther draws energy from Coogler's sense of excitement at all he's attempting. The result is a superhero movie that's worth seeing twice, and that is a rare sighting indeed."[194] Richard Roeper, writing for the Chicago Sun-Times, called the film "one of the best superhero movies of the century" and said, "If you appreciate finely honed storytelling with a Shakespearean core; winning performances from an enormously talented ensemble; provocative premises touching on isolationism, revolution and cultures of oppression, and oh yeah, tons of whiz-bang action sequences and good humor – then you should see Black Panther."[195]

Brian Truitt of USA Today awarded the film four out of four stars, and called it Marvel Studios' best origin film since Guardians of the Galaxy. Truitt also praised the "superb cast" and stated, "While the themes are deep, Black Panther is at the same time a visual joy to behold, with confident quirkiness, insane action sequences and special effects, and the glorious reveal of Wakanda, whose culture is steeped in African influences but which also offers a jaw-dropping look at what a city of the future could be."[196] Also giving the film four stars, Peter Travers of Rolling Stone called it "[un]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."[197] Natasha Alford of The Grio said, "Black Panther is remarkable because this film is a movement, a revolution in progress, and a joy to experience all wrapped into one", and called it "a master class in what it means to be proud of who you are, where you have been and where you and your people are going."[198] Jamie Broadnax of Black Girl Nerds said Marvel "created a masterpiece with Black Panther", adding, "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."[199]

Black representation

In early January 2018, New York resident Frederick Joseph created a GoFundMe campaign in hopes to raise money to help children of color at the Boys & Girls Club in Harlem see Black Panther.[200] Joseph called the release of Black Panther a "rare opportunity for young students (primarily of color) to see a black major cinematic and comic book character come to life. This representation is truly fundamental for young people, especially those who are often underserved, unprivileged, and marginalized both nationally and globally."[201] The campaign exceeded its goal, and given the popularity of its intent, Joseph asked others to create their own campaigns in their own communities to take more children to see the film, which he named the "Black Panther Challenge".[200] GoFundMe created a centralized page for anyone wishing to create a campaign for the challenge,[202] and revealed that 10 campaigns created using the sign-up page would receive a $100 donation from GoFundMe.[203] Over 400 additional campaigns were started around the world,[139] with many celebrities offering their support and contributions to the campaigns,[200] such as actress Octavia Spencer, who intended to buy out a theater in Mississippi for underserved members of the community.[204] Obi Umunna, a Jacksonville, Florida-based attorney born to Nigerian immigrants, participated in the challenge, saying, "I just want for kids in my community to have the same opportunity and to see this movie... I think this is an awesome opportunity for them to see themselves represented in a very positive light... compared to some of the negative images that you see on a daily basis."[205] The campaign became the largest GoFundMe in history for an entertainment event and raised over $400,000.[139]

Science & Entertainment Exchange Director for the National Academy of Sciences Richard Loverd felt the film would increase interest in science, technology, and Africa for young black Americans, similarly to how The Hunger Games films and Brave sparked girls' interest in archery.[111] Jamie Broadnax, editor-in-chief and creator of the website Black Girl Nerds, felt Black Panther would "bring in a lot of people [of color] who don't even really go to comic-book movies... [since] they're going to see themselves reflected in a huge way that they just haven't been able to see before",[206] especially since the film avoided black pain, suffering, and poverty, usual topics in films about the black experience.[166] She added that the strong female characters, such as Shuri, would be an inspiration for girls and young people.[206] Gil Robertson, co-founder and president of the African American Film Critics Association, added that the film was "critically important" and "a gate-opener opportunity for other black-centered projects."[206] Child development expert Deborah Gilboa felt the film would make a huge impact on children's spirits, by offering positive role models and knowing that "not only can they succeed, they need to see that lots of people want to sit in a theater and watch someone like them succeed in a big, big way. That's how we help build a generation of young people who are engaged in the greater good and courageous in their actions."[201] In the film's opening weekend, 37% of audiences in the United States were African-American, according to Screen Engine/comScore's PostTrak service, compared to 35% Caucasian, 18% Hispanic, and 5% Asian.[139]

Writing for Time, Jamil Smith felt Black Panther, which he described as a film "about what it means to be black in both America and Africa—and, more broadly, in the world", was "poised to prove to Hollywood that African-American narratives have the power to generate profits from all audiences. And, more important, that making movies about black lives is part of showing that they matter." He added, "In the midst of a regressive cultural and political moment fueled in part by the white-nativist movement, the very existence of Black Panther feels like resistance. Its themes challenge institutional bias, its characters take unsubtle digs at oppressors, and its narrative includes prismatic perspectives on black life and tradition."[207] Discussing why the film was a defining moment for black America in The New York Times Magazine, Carvell Wallace said that in contrast to earlier black superhero films, Black Panther "is steeped very specifically and purposefully in its blackness". He continued, "Black Panther is a Hollywood movie, and Wakanda is a fictional nation. But coming when they do, from a director like Coogler, they must also function as a place for multiple generations of black Americans to store some of our most deeply held aspirations. We have for centuries sought to either find or create a promised land where we would be untroubled by the criminal horrors of our American existence." Wallace also commented on how the film fits into the larger idea of Afrofuturism, particularly in its presentation of Wakanda.[166]

Future

With the release of Black Panther, Feige said "there are many, many stories to tell" about the character, and that he wanted Coogler to return for any potential sequel.[208] Coogler added that he wanted to see how T'Challa would grow as a king in future films, since his reign only began recently in the MCU, while in the comics, he has been king since childhood.[209]

See also

Notes

  1. ^ As depicted in the 2016 film Captain America: Civil War[5]

References

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