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With less than two weeks until Ryan Coogler's Black Panther finally hits the big screen, audience anticipation has arguably reached an all-time high. Early critical reactions on social media were nothing if not glowing, and now the full reviews have started to hit the web. We have combed through several of the Black Panther reviews that have just surfaced online (including our own), and it looks like Marvel has yet another winner on its hands. The official CinemaBlend review of Black Panther says:
Ryan Coogler's Black Panther is one of the Marvel Cinematic Universe's most powerful, moving, and thematically resonant films to date. It's also one of its most uneven, when all is said and done. Marvel Studio's Phase 3 still has yet to produce a single bad movie. Having said that, Black Panther's clunky first act, sometimes cumbersome cast size, and hit-or-miss visuals make this one of Phase 3's most inconsistent entries to date.
So it seems that Black Panther is another reliably solid entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It's action-packed, with strong themes and ideas backing up its bigger and more fun sequences. That said, it's still a flawed movie, with somewhat clunky storytelling issues and some visuals that don't quite work. It's far from the best film that we have seen on the Phase 3 slate, but there's enough solid craftsmanship and filmmaking skill on display to praise it as a good movie.
Most of these sentiments are echoed by IGN's review of Black Panther, with similar emphasis placed upon the film's thematic strengths, as well as the cast's (notably Michael B. Jordan as the American Erik Killmonger) ability to bring the movie to life. The review reads:
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
Even more glowing is Rolling Stone's review of the film, which specifically points out the aesthetic beauty created by Ryan Coogler, as well as his ability to capture a very tough topic of racial injustice -- and yet still work it into an exciting action movie. Per Rolling Stone:
Thrillingly and thoughtfully directed and written (with Joe Robert Cole) by Ryan Coogler, the film lights up the screen with a full-throttle blast of action and fun. That's to be expected. But what sneaks up and floors you is the film's racial conscience and profound, astonishing beauty. Not just a correction for years of diversity neglect, it's a big-budget blockbuster that digs into the roots of blackness itself. Coogler, 31, has proved his skills behind the camera with Fruitvale Station and Creed, but in Black Panther he journeys into the heart of Africa to bring a new world to the screen. The result feels revolutionary.
Then there's Forbes' review of Black Panther, which echoes our own critiques of the film's pacing issues, but it quickly shifts those problems to the side to broadly praise the film's ability to elevate Ryan Coogler to effective blockbuster director status, even drawing comparisons to Christopher Nolan and his work on Batman Begins.
I can nitpick the loose first act and the rather rushed third act, as well as wonder out loud why Jordan doesn't have more screen time in the first half of the movie. Yet overall, both as a major studio action flick, a part of an ever-expanding cinematic universe and a potent antidote to 17 years of very specific post-9/11 blockbusters, Black Panther is about as good as fans of Creed and Fruitvale Station might hope. Like Chris Nolan, Ryan Coogler has followed up an acclaimed indie and a solid studio programmer with a terrific would-be superhero blockbuster that, yes, deserves comparison to Batman Begins. As a piece of pop art, Black Panther is a real marvel.
Finally, we come to Polygon's take on Black Panther. Not only does this review praise much of the craftsmanship in the film, but it also goes one step further to assert that it's the best MCU entry to date -- even better than longtime standouts like The Avengers or Captain America: Civil War -- in the way that it gives us a proper villain. Polygon wrote:
Black Panther is the best Marvel film thus far. Aside from the incredible representation and the gorgeous visuals, the story is terrific. I have never cared for a villain the way I care for Michael B. Jordan's Erik Killmonger. Standing with feet shoulder width apart, he always has his hands clasped in front of him, and he never looks at anyone straight on unless he intends to end them. Killmonger is as attractive as he is intimidating. But Jordan wasn't hired for just his sex appeal. That sharp eye and wounded heart shine through a tough exterior to illuminate a real human being. He is the crown jewel of an incredibly wealthy project.
All in all, the reviews that have hit the web seem to show a near-universal liked for Black Panther. It looks like the Marvel Cinematic Universe may have another hit on its hands (the film is already a box office winner in early ticket sales), and now it appears to have the backing of the critical community.
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That's what the critics are saying about Ryan Coogler's Black Panther, but you will just have to see the movie for yourself when it debuts on February 16! From there, T'Challa and other members of the Black Panther supporting cast will appear on the big screen later this year when Avengers: Infinity War premieres on May 4.