Halfway through the film did I remember that I had snacks. This film is wildly captivating. Just when you say “that’s not going to happen”, it happens particularly in the fight scenes which are breathtaking. The “Wakanda Bounce” as T’Challa enters his ceremony to become king is remarkable. The unison brings the audience into the community of Wakandans and their loyalty, which from many of them is soon to be broken.
Chadwick Boseman is stellar as T’Challa. His performance is also beautiful with scenes between him and his father, T’Chaka, as he copes with the gravity of letting his father go. Erik Killmonger is a phenomenal and ruthless villain, played brilliantly by Michael B. Jordan. Angela Bassett is stunning as the queen. Forrest Whitaker is commanding. Letitia Wright is a force. Hilarious, beautiful and innovative. Winston Duke is also hilarious. He is strong, bold and playful as M’Baku, drinking in the power has in the film. I need Danai Gurira in my emergency contacts. She is sleek and mesmerizing as Okoye. Lupita Nyong’o as Nakia is wise and brings out T’Challa’s strengths and weaknesses. Daniel Kaluuya moves well for a character that goes in a couple directions. Andy Serkis is a deliciously awesome villain. Martin Freeman is a wonderful support. There are also a couple of surprise performances. To bring this cast together enhances how captivating the story is.
The costumes are a scene stealer. Costume Designer Ruth Carter stitched together stunning pieces for each of the characters. Whether Okoye (Danai Gurira) was in her military uniform or in a party dress or Killmonger and his vest, the pieces bring a personality to the characters. I want the jumpsuit Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o) wears in a scene.
The Bay Bridge in South Korea is attributed to Bay Area native and Director Ryan Coogler, who seamlessly brings each scene to life. If one part seems random, it makes sense in another scene in the film. Ryan with Joe Robert Cole write a conscious and riveting script that addresses cultural climate, demons and triumphs. The music is extraordinary by Composer Ludwig Göransson. There are Afro-techno beats, dramatic violins and original songs by Kendrick Lamar. The music amplified each scene.
There is a lot to unpack. I was intrigued by how the people of Wakanda turned against T’Challa in battle. The tribe of women, including the Dora Milaje, who protected T’Challa are strong vessels for Wakanda. The connection between Oakland and Wakanda as it unfolds in the film is fascinating. The homage of the Black Panthers Party in this film is evident. The beauty of this film is that when I watch it for years to come, it will feel new.