BLACK PANTHER — Review by Susan Granger

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Exactly a decade after Iron Man launched the Marvel Cinematic Universe, a powerful, new superhero has arrived – and he’s sensational! The warrior T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) is the Prince/protector of the fantastical African nation of Wakanda, an isolated, secretive kingdom that’s rich with Vibranium – the mythic ‘alien’ metal that comprises Captain America’s shield. This invaluable resource has enabled incredible technological advances including magnetic transfers, superconductors, and spaceships.

Following the death of his father in a terrorist attack, noble T’Challa must fight M’Baku (Winston Duke), the leader of the rival Jabari tribe, to claim his heritage.

Then there’s the threat posed by predatory arms dealer/thief Ulysses Klaue (Andy Serkis), whom T’Challa intercepts in South Korea, aided by a CIA operative (Martin Freeman).

Eventually, the fight for Vibranium has T’Challa facing off with villainous Erik “Killmonger” Stevens (Michael B. Jordan), a swaggering former Navy SEAL from Oakland, CA. whose father was Wakandan.

Plus, there’s T’Challa’s best friend W’Kabi (Daniel Kaluuya) and his mentor, the spiritual leader Zuri (Forest Whitaker), hiding a secret of his own.

The formidable female characters are T’Challa’s love interest, the beautiful War Dog spy Nakia (Lupito Nyong’o); his feisty little sister/gadgets guru, Shari (Letitia Wright); Queen Mother Ramonda (Angela Bassett); and Okoya (Danai Guyira), leader of his Dora Milaja security team.

Written with insightful wit by Joe Robert Cole (The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story) and director Ryan Coogler (Fruitvale Station, Creed), its complex plot delves into familiar themes like revenge v. justice, duty v. conscience and why identity matters.

Kudos to cinematographer Rachel Morrison (Oscar-nominated for Mudbound) for creating a visual feast.

The first African-American superhero to appear in American comics, Black Panther was created in 1966 by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby in Fantastic Four No. 52. Historical footnote: Black Panther appeared three months before the Black Panther Party formed during the Civil Rights Movement.

On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, Black Panther pounces with an exciting, exhilarating 8, an ambitious, socially relevant, Afro-futurist origin story.

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.