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Black Panther is a 2018 film directed by Ryan Coogler and written by Coogler & Joe Robert Cole, based on the Marvel Comics character of the same name. It is the eighteenth film installment of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
After the events of Captain America: Civil War, T'Challa (Chadwick Boseman) returns home to the reclusive, technologically advanced African nation of Wakanda, to succeed his late father T'Chaka (John Kani) as their king and protector — the Black Panther.
However, the combined forces of Erik "Killmonger" Stevens (Michael B. Jordan) and Black Market Arms Dealer Ulysses Klaue (Andy Serkis) seek to destroy Wakanda from the inside and usurp T'Challa's throne.
With the help of Wakandan intelligence agent (and T'Challa's ex-girlfriend) Nakia (Lupita Nyong'o), his Gadgeteer Genius sister Shuri (Letitia Wright), his personal guards, the Dora Milaje — which includes Okoye (Danai Gurira) and Ayo (Florence Kasumba) — as well as CIA agent Everett Ross (Martin Freeman), it's up to T'Challa to keep his nation from falling apart. Angela Bassett, Forest Whitaker, Daniel Kaluuya, and Sterling K. Brown also star.
A companion soundtrack — Black Panther: The Album — was released in conjunction with the film, produced and curated by Kendrick Lamar, featuring the likes of himself, SZA, and other artists affiliate from Top Dawg Entertainment.
- Arc Words: "Wakanda forever!"
- Adaptational Heroism:
- Nakia was the supervillain Malice in the comics.
- M'Baku was the ape-themed supervillain Man-Ape in the comics. Justified due to the racist connotations of his role in the comics.
- Beneath Suspicion: How do Nakia, Everett, and Shuri sneak back into Shuri's lab? Dress up as handmaidens.
- Big Bad: Eric "Killmonger" Stevens, a Wakandan-American mercenary who schemes to take the throne for himself.
- Bowdlerise: The movie was slightly censored in India, removing references to Hanuman due to fearing "hurt religious sentiments" since he is a Hindu deity. When M'Baku shouts "Glory to Hanuman", said line is muted in the Indian version.
- Breather Episode: Darker and Edgier aside, this film, like Civil War but unlike the other Phase 3 films, doesn't have the shadow of Infinity War hanging over it in some way. It's a perfectly self-contained Earth-bound adventure.
- The Cameo: Stan Lee, as usual.
- Calling the Old Man Out: T'Challa calls out every single one of his predecessors for not using Wakanda's advanced technology to help human society.
- The Comically Serious: T'Challa, as opposed to all the other heroes of the MCU, who are Deadpan Snarkers.
- Create Your Own Villain: T'Challa is not shy in saying that Wakanda's sins created Killmonger.
- Darker and Edgier: Heck, when compared to the 2017 comedies Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Spider-Man: Homecoming, and Thor: Ragnarok, this one is an emotionally jarring, brutal Low Fantasy Blaxploitation film. However, despite of all of this, the film is still Lighter and Softer than the very, very, very next film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which was WAY more sadder than this!
- Emperor Scientist: Princess Shuri.
- The End of the World as We Know It: Killmonger's Evil Plan is to use the advanced technology of Wakanda to take on the rest of the world and "burn it all", establishing Wakanda as the sole remaining world superpower.
- Foil: As a whole, the film is a marked contrast to Thor: Ragnarok. Both films can be summarized as an Action Hero prince has to take the throne from an Evil Counterpart Long-Lost Relative. In practice:
- Ragnarok is a bombastic, colourful, and embraces the inherent absurdity of a Space Opera while Black Panther is serious, muted, and almost acts like Spy Fiction in some moments.
- While Hela takes pride in Asgard's conquering heritage, the Wakandans take pride in never having, or been, colonized.
- The vast majority of Asgardians refuse to follow Hela while most Wakandans followed Erik, albeit due to the pressures of tradition.
- When Thor meets Odin's spirit, he doesn't hold his father's mistakes against him and listens to his advice. When T'Challa meets T'Chaka, he's disappointed in his father and goes against his wishes.
- Gadgeteer Genius: Shuri.
- Immediate Sequel: To Civil War, as a news broadcast at the beginning describes the Vienna bombing, which killed T'Chaka, as having only happened one week prior.
- Jerkass Has a Point: T'Challa agrees with Killmonger that Wakanda should be using its advanced technology to help the world. They just disagree on the definition of help.
- Magic Meteor: How vibranium came to Earth — a whole meteor of it crashed in Africa in what is now Wakanda. It created Mount Bashenga, a mountain full of vibranium deposits that's been mined by Wakandans for generations.
- Mary Suetopia: As always, Wakanda. Advanced technology, no poverty, top notch secret agents, and perfect weather. In the third act, T'Challa calls his ancestors out on using this as an excuse to hide away from the world when it's in fact a moral obligation to help.
- My Country, Right or Wrong: As Okoye says to Nakia, she is not loyal to any one king. She is loyal to the throne.
- Reality Ensues:
- A big theme in the film is that the world is changing, and Wakanda has to change with it or risk getting left in history's wake.
- After he viciously kills the previous king, Killmonger's plan is not accepted with open arms by the common Wakandan.
- Shaggy Dog Story: Much like in Ant-Man and The Wasp, the Snap rendered most of the victories achieved in this movie a moot point.
- Superman Stays Out of Gotham/Four Lines, All Waiting: Tony and Peter don't help T'Challa because they are both busy with the events of Spider-Man: Homecoming.
- Shrouded in Myth: Some stories about the true nature of Wakanda did leak out, giving rise to the legend of El Dorado.