Verdict: A perfect standalone movie, as the MCU expands.
Whether you love or hate what Marvel and Disney have done to the current Hollywood scenario with their cinematic universe, there is no doubt that they are taking the criticisms seriously and appointing directors who would do the most justice to the movie, exactly how Taika Waititi was a savior for Thor: Ragnarok. Marvel is taking another step in the right direction with Ryan Coogler as the director of Black Panther. T'Challa (Chadwick Boseman) aka Black Panther is one of the very few characters in MCU who before getting their own movie worked with team Avengers. It is a challenge when they have already established themselves as a part of a universe and then creating an identity for themselves; a feat the movie has completed effortlessly.
What's Black Panther About:
After the events of Captain America: Civil War, T' Challa is on his way back to Wakanda and recruits Nakia (Lupita Nyong'o) to support him as he prepares for his coronation. At Wakanda, his mother Ramonda (Angela Bassett) and his sister Shuri (Letita Wright) welcome him home and they prepare for the coronation. Shuri who loves to play with technology has a new suit designed for T' Challa. Elsewhere, Ulysses Klaw (Andy Serkis) and Erik Kilmonger (Michael B. Jordan) have gotten their hands on some Vibranium and are trading it with Everett K. Ross (Martin Freeman) from CIA. T'Challa, along with his general Okoye (Danai Gurira) and Nakia, come to intercept the deal and that's when trouble begins.
We have been to Asgard, we have been taken to different planets but never have we seen something as beautiful as Wakanda. Due to the abundance of Vibranium, Wakanda has reached a new stage of technological progress where nature and technology meet and live in harmony. And this is the first thing that impresses you about the movie. The second is the performance of the actors. Chadwick Boseman's T'Challa and Michael B. Jordan's Kilmonger are the perfect foils for each other. Yet again, Marvel has delivered an almost perfect villain although there isn't much competition there. Ryan Coogler has managed to create that perfect blend of a country with a rich culture and when they are in control of futuristic technology unlike any that we have seen in 10 years of MCU. Unlike any other Marvel movie, Black Panther also goes one step further to make a political statement and might be one of Marvel's most radical movies. Kendrick Lamar's music is a sure-shot winner when mixed with some spectacular action scenes across South Korea and Wakanda. The women of Wakanda are perhaps the strongest women in MCU and it is a delight to watch them in action.
What could have been better:
As Marvel fans, we are used to seeing all the MCU movies converging at points. We wish there was references to MCU, especially with Avengers: Infinity War around the corner.
Why You Should Watch This Movie:
A movie which was conceptualized in the 90's is more than worth the wait. We wish we could have seen Black Panther in Phase 1 of Marvel Cinematic Universe but we could not have gotten a movie like this if we had (Ryan Coogler was still in film school when the first Iron Man released). Wakanda is a country that deserves a closer look because they have managed to become something different when they excused themselves from the rest of humanity.