Black Panther, directed by Ryan Coogler, has been hyped as one of the first superhero films to feature a predominantly black cast. It's those actors—led by Chadwick Boseman as leader of the African kingdom of Wakanda—who ensure the film only exceeds expectations, according to critics, who give it a 98% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Here's what they're saying:
- "Believe the hype: Black Panther transcends its comic-book origins, achieving a mythic grandeur that's nothing short of exhilarating," writes Calvin Wilson at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Not only is the film "a huge step forward for black cinema," but it's "a terrific time at the movies … at once narratively engaging and visually stunning," says Wilson, praising both Boseman as T'Challa and Michael B. Jordan as his rival.
- "When the villain still manages to make your eyes tear up … you know you're in the presence of great acting and storytelling," Odie Henderson writes at RogerEbert.com, demanding a place for Jordan in "the anti-hero Hall of Fame." But the film also presents "numerous memorable, fierce and intelligent women," in addition to "stunning cinematography" and costumes that "pop so vividly that they become almost tactile," Henderson points out. It combines for "an epic of operatic proportions" and "one of the year's best films."
- That's downplaying it a bit, according to Richard Roeper. Black Panther is "one of the best superhero movies of the century" and watching it was "one of the best times I've had at the movies this decade," he writes at the Chicago Sun-Times. It has "provocative premises touching on isolationism, revolution and cultures of oppression," and "winning performances from an enormously talented ensemble." In particular, Letitia Wright, in the role of T'Challa's little sister, "steals every scene she's in."
- Above all, it's the actors who "elevate Black Panther to stirring heights," writes Ann Hornaday at the Washington Post. "As they dominate the screen in a movie rooted firmly in their own history and narratives, they provide an exhilarating, regal rebuke to the chronic absence and denigration of black bodies in American cinema." The result is a film that "pulses with color, vibrancy and layered textural beauty" and "is great fun to watch."
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