Black Panther Review Round-Up: A Marvel Movie Masterpiece


Long live the king.

Marvel Studios has officially lifted its review embargo for Black Panther, opening the floodgates to a sea of online positivity. Much like last week’s buzzworthy reactions on social media, critics are currently gushing over the Ryan Coogler-directed spinoff, as superlatives like “masterpiece,” “powerful,” and “exhilarating” ricochet off the walls of the Internet.

It’s good news for the MCU, too, as its 18th installment is arguably the most diverse, given Black Panther filled its ensemble with a nearly all-black cast. Not only that, but Coogler’s feature doesn’t bow to female stereotypes, as below you’ll find praise for the Dora Milaje, Wakanda’s female guardians stubborn in their commitment to protecting T’Challa, heir apparent to the throne.

So, without further ado, here’s a small cross-section of the online verdicts, beginning with The Hollywood Reporter:

The Hollywood Reporter: There’s a real and sustained sense of jeopardy for the kingdom and the fighting significantly involves the female warriors, who are very cool indeed. Just as he staged the boxing in Creed with intensity and invention, he handles the more extensive face-off stuff here with freshness and brio, building to a tensely stirring climax. For such an action-packed modern film, it’s surprising how little blood figures into this combat epic.

Deadline: [Black Panther] is about as diverse a massive studio production of this scope that Hollywood has ever seen, both in front and behind the camera It’s all on the screen and definitely worth the effort. This is a superhero movie for the ages, and especially for this age.

Variety: Black Panther is a radically different kind of comic-book movie, one with a proud Afrocentric twist, featuring a nearly all-black cast, that largely ignores the United States and focuses instead on the fictional nation of Wakanda — and guess what: Virtually everything that distinguishes “Black Panther” from past Marvel pics works to this standalone entry’s advantage.

Empire: Like Taika Waititi before him, Ryan Coogler gives the Marvel template a bold auteurist twist with an African extravaganza that packs a muscular intensity and challenges as much as it exhilarates.

The preliminary critical consensus continues:

IGN: Black Panther delivers the goods as an adventure film, a political statement, and a cultural celebration. It shakes off a sluggish start thanks to a memorable cast of characters going up against Marvel’s best-realized villain in almost a decade. Some of the vibrance is drained by cartoonish visual effects that endanger the very human feel of the story, but the emotional weight of its themes and the cast’s compelling performances ultimately keep the film on track. Overall Black Panther is an exciting step forward for the MCU. Long live the king!

GameSpot: [It’s] a top tier Marvel movie with all the humor, style, action, passion, and fun that the MCU has come to embody. Black Panther is a cultural event that’s going to be hard for Marvel to top, no matter how many worlds Thanos conquers later this year in Infinity War.

Rolling Stone: Boseman is just tremendous in the role of T’Challa, the king of Wakanda – a fictional African country where he presents one image as a ruler and another as a crimefighting superhero disguised as a panther. His costume is threaded with vibranium, a mineral with magical properties and a national resource that T’Challa keeps hidden, along with his cloistered country’s other huge scientific discoveries.

And finally, here’s another pair of reviews, just to drive the point home:

CBM: Slight pacing issues early on and some video game-y FX are not enough to dethrone the mighty Black Panther. Ryan Coogler’s exciting, powerful and thought-provoking film stands as one of Marvel Studios’ strongest entries. The King has indeed arrived.

The Guardian: And where do we go after this? Does Black Panther get to be another subordinate bit-part player in future Marvel ensemble movies? I hope not: I want stories where Black Panther takes on people outside Wakanda and I hope that Nakia gets a movie of her own. The intriguing thing about Black Panther is that it doesn’t look like a superhero film – more a wide-eyed fantasy romance: exciting, subversive and funny.

Said to be heading for a domestic total in the region of $400 million, Black Panther is all set to make its mark on the global box office. If it’s more coverage you’re after, we’ve already run the rule over Ryan Coogler’s African masterpiece to identify all of its many Marvel tropes – namely post-credits scenes and big-name cameos, Stan Lee and otherwise.