While the themes are deep, Black Panther is at the same time a visual joy to behold, with confident quirkiness (those aforementioned war rhinos), insane action sequences and special effects, and the glorious reveal of Wakanda, whose culture is steeped in African influences but which also offers a jaw-dropping look at what a city of the future could be.
[Coogler] infuses nearly every frame with soul and style, and makes the radical case that a comic-book movie can actually have something meaningful — beyond boom or kapow or America — to say. In that context, Panther’s nuanced celebration of pride and identity and personal responsibility doesn’t just feel like a fresh direction for the genre, it’s the movie’s own true superpower.
Black Panther delivers the goods as an adventure film, a political statement, and a cultural celebration. It shakes off a sluggish start thanks to a memorable cast of characters going up against Marvel’s best-realized villain in almost a decade.
New York Magazine (Vulture)
Unusually grounded for a Marvel superhero epic, and unusually gripping.
When Black Panther works, it’s thrillingly alive, whether it’s the dazzling colors of the vivid costumes by Ruth E. Carter (“Selma”)...or the eclectic and vibrant music choices.
As with Jordan Peele’s Get Out, or Coogler’s 2015 Rocky spin-off Creed, Black Panther isn’t a novelty, but a fresh perspective on a well-worn format. Not to get all Rosa Parks about it, but the film walks into the multiplex like it’s insane that it hasn’t been allowed in there all along. And it is.
The intriguing thing about Black Panther is that it doesn’t look like a superhero film – more a wide-eyed fantasy romance: exciting, subversive and funny.
While many Marvel films, even some of the good ones, feel like small pieces of a larger story, Black Panther is an entire cinematic universe unto itself.
The Hollywood Reporter
The actors are all seen to very good advantage. Boseman certainly holds his own, but there are quite a few charismatic supporting players here keen to steal every scene they can — and they do, notably the physically imposing Jordan, the radiant Nyong'o and especially Wright, who gives her every scene extra punch and humor.
Coogler (Fruitvale Station, Creed) has fashioned a slightly more earnest variation on the typical MCU movie — one that is still fun and funny, but also rooted in a desire to speak meaningfully about racism, global culture clashes, and the tension between hiding behind one’s borders and helping outsiders in need.