Black Panther is everything critics hoped for and more. Marvel’s big-budget superhero thriller had its world premiere on Monday, and expectations were high to see if the cinematic universe could do justice to Jack Kirby’s Afrofuturistic comic book series. Fortunately, it seems director Ryan Coogler and star Chadwick Boseman have pulled it off.
“Black Panther is simply awesome,” Brian Truitt, USA Today entertainment writer, exclaimed on Twitter. “Extremely bold and as touching as it is thrilling, it boasts [Game of Thrones]-style intrigue, crazy innovative action and a deep bench of memorable characters. Top five all-time Marvel movie, easy.”
“Believe the hype. Believe the buzz. Believe the words ‘cultural phenomenon,’” commented actor Josh Gad, who acted with Boseman in Marshall.
Particular praise came from black reviewers and industry watchers, who congratulated the film on its depiction of African-Americans.
“The story arc of Eric Killmonger will strike a heavy cord for every African-American who was raised here,” Mellow Marketer, screenwriter for American Gods, commented on Twitter. “It puts tears in my eyes, made me grit my teeth and broke me before the credits.”
“Black Panther is incredible, kinetic, purposeful,” L.A. Times writer Jen Yamato commented Twitter. “A superhero movie about why representation & identity matters, and how tragic it is when those things are denied to people. The first MCU movie about something real; Michael B. Jordan’s Killmonger had me weeping and he’s the VILLAIN.”
Praise was also given to Coogler for his stunning directorial work. The hiring decision was praised when announced in December 2015, continuing in Marvel’s tradition of giving new directors a shot at working on their big films after the success of choosing James Gunn for Guardians of the Galaxy.
“Ryan Coogler knocked it out of the park, some great sequences presented in a ‘single take/shot’,” Peter Sciretta, editor of SlashFilm, announced on Twitter. “If this movie isn’t nominated for costume, art and production design awards next year, I would be seriously shocked.”
Others noted the long-lasting effect a film like Black Panther will have on representation and identity.
“If you don’t understand the power of representation, imagine growing up never seeing a superhero who looks like you,” Natasha Alford, deputy editor of The Grio, observed on Twitter. “When American Girl dolls came out I always picked Addy who had to escape slavery. But now kids have #BlackPanther’s Nakia, Shuri and Okoye. Dope on many levels.”
It won’t be long before fans get to read some longer reviews of the film. Entertainment reporter Anousha Sakoui clarified on Twitter that the review embargo is set to lift 10 days before the film hits theaters on February 16. With plenty of time to absorb critic reactions, it’s clear Marvel has high expectations that fans will be hyped up to see it when it reaches screens.