- “Long live the king.”
Black Panther is a 2018 superhero film produced by Marvel Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Pictures. It is based on the Marvel superhero character Black Panther, who made his debut in the 2016 film, Captain America: Civil War, and set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It was released on February 16, 2018.
Black Panther follows T'Challa who, after the events of Captain America: Civil War, returns home to the isolated, technologically advanced African nation of Wakanda to take his place as Wild King. However, when an old enemy reappears on the radar, T’Challa’s mettle as both Wild King and Black Panther is tested when he is drawn into a riot conflict that puts the entire fate of Wakanda and the world at risk.
A voice from a young boy asks to tell him a story and the adult's voice tells the story of "Vibranium." A gigantic meteorite with the toughest metal: vibranium, crashed in the region of the sources of the Nile river, "millions" of years ago and it affected the plants. Later, in the age of humans, five tribes in the land named Wakanda battled for control of that vibranium until a spirit-led a certain warrior to find and eat a "heart-shaped herb" affected by the metal. He gained superhuman abilities, and became the first "Black Panther". Four of the five tribes submit to his power but one tribe wants freedom. The Wakandans use the vibranium to develop highly advanced technology. They see the horrors of the other nations and isolated themselves from the rest of the world. They hid and pretended that they are not industrially developed like a third-world country.
In Oakland, California, Prince N'Jobu (Sterling K. Brown) vows to share Wakanda's technology with people of African descent around the world in order to help them conquer their oppressors. N'Jobu enlists black-market arms dealer Ulysses Klaue to infiltrate Wakanda and remove a cache of vibranium.
In 1992, King T'Chaka learns of his brother's actions. He confronts N'Jobu, who becomes angry and threatens to kill T'Chaka's loyal friend, Zuri (Forest Whitaker). T'Chaka reluctantly kills N'Jobu to save Zuri and abandons N'Jobu's son Erik in order to prevent the Wakandan people from learning the truth.
In the present day, following T'Chaka's death at the hands of Helmut Zemo, disguised as a masked James Barnes, his son T'Challa returns to Wakanda to assume the throne. After working with Okoye, the leader of the all-female fighting force the Dora Milaje, to extract his ex-lover Nakia from an undercover assignment in Nigeria's Sambisa Forest, he reunites with his mother Queen Ramonda and younger sister Princess Shuri, the nation's current technological genius. At his kingship ceremony, he is challenged for the crown by M'Baku, the leader of the fifth tribe, the mountain-dwelling Jabari. The two engage in ritual combat, with T'Challa emerging victorious and becoming the new King. He lets M'Baku live.
In London, a gang led by Klaue and including an ex-U.S. black ops soldier, Erik Stevens a/k/a/ "Killmonger," steals an ancient Wakandan vibranium ax from a museum. When the tribal elders receive word that Klaue has resurfaced in South Korea, T'Challa's friend W'Kabi, who lost his parents as a result of the dealer's actions, urges the young monarch to bring him to justice. T'Challa, Okoye, and Nakia plan to intercept Klaue at an underground casino in Busan, where he will be selling the ax to an unknown buyer. The plan, however, goes wrong when T'Challa discovers the buyer is CIA agent Everett Ross and Klaue suspects the deal is a setup.
The deal subsequently goes sour, and a car chase ensues that culminates in Klaue's apprehension. While in CIA custody, however, Klaue is rescued by Killinger. Ross is seriously injured saving Nakia in the attack, and rather than pursue Klaue, T'Challa takes Ross to Wakanda where his sister Shuri uses the nation's advanced technology to save Ross' life.
Killmonger kills Klaue and takes his body to Wakanda as a token, revealing his identity as N'Jobu's son to the tribal elders and challenging T'Challa for the throne. Killmonger triumphs in ritual combat and hurls the defeated T'Challa over a waterfall. After ingesting the heart-shaped herb to gain the powers of the Black Panther, Killmonger enacts his father's plan, preparing shipments of Wakandan weapons to be distributed to Wakandan operatives around the world. Nakia, Shuri, Ross, and T'Challa's mother Ramonda flee to seek the aid of the Jabari and learn M'Baku's men have found and are caring for the comatose T'Challa.
Healed by a heart-shaped herb brought by Nakia, T'Challa returns to Wakanda and renews his combat with Killmonger for the throne, which was never officially concluded since T'Challa never died or conceded. When Killmonger refuses to cooperate, his claim to the throne is immediately invalidated and Okoye and the Dora Milaje turn against him. However, Killmonger who is now wearing a suit of Black Panther armor of his own resists with force along with the Border Tribe. While Shuri, Nakia, and Jabari battle W'Kabi, Ross, piloting a remote jet with Shuri's guidance, shoot down the planes carrying the weapons before they can leave the country. The battle goes poorly for T'Challa's side until M'Baku and the Jabari arrive to support him, thus turning the tide. T'Challa and Killmonger's battle carries them into the heart of the vibranium mine, where sonic disrupted used in the transport of the metal incapacitates their vibranium armor. While Killmonger's body is briefly exposed, T'Challa stabs his cousin. He takes Killmonger to see the sunset of Wakanda and offers to heal him. But Killmonger states that he knows he will then be imprisoned and would rather die a free man. He pulls the dagger out of his chest and dies peacefully.
With that victory, T'Challa is officially restored to the throne, with M'Baku granted a seat in the national tribal council to represent his tribe in recognition of his loyalty. Rejecting the isolationism of past Wakandan kings, T'Challa establishes an embassy in the United States to be run by Nakia and Shuri. In a mid-credits scene, T'Challa appears before the United Nations to reveal Wakanda's true nature to the world. In a post-credits scene, Shuri continues to help Bucky Barnes with his recuperation.
- Chadwick Boseman as T'Challa/Black Panther
- Michael B. Jordan as N'Jadaka/Erik Killmonger
- Lupita Nyong'o as Nakia
- Danai Gurira as Okoye
- Martin Freeman as Everett Ross
- Daniel Kaluuya as W'Kabi
- Letitia Wright as Shuri
- Winston Duke as M'Baku
- Angela Bassett as Ramonda
- Forest Whitaker as Zuri
- Andy Serkis as Ulysses Klaue
- John Kani as T'Chaka
- Sterling K. Brown as N'Jobu
- Florence Kasumba as Ayo
- Sebastian Stan as Bucky Barnes/White Wolf (post-credits scene)
- Stan Lee in a cameo role
Black Panther premiered on the following dates and countries:
- February 13, 2018 (Hong Kong, Ireland, Taiwan, United Kingdom)
- February 14, 2018 (Belgium, France, Indonesia, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Philippines, Poland, Singapore, South Korea, Sweden)
- February 15, 2018 (Argentina, Australia, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Israel, Kuwait, Malaysia, Morocco, New Zealand, Portugal, Serbia, Ukraine, Uruguay)
- February 16, 2018 (Bangladesh, Bulgaria, Canada, Finland, India, Lithuania, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Romania, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Turkey, Vietnam)
- February 17, 2018 (Tunisia)
- February 23, 2018 (Estonia)
- February 26, 2018 (Russia)
- March 1, 2018 (Japan)
- March 9, 2018 (China)
On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 96% based on 525 reviews, with an average score of 8.30/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Black Panther elevates superhero cinema to thrilling new heights while telling one of the MCU's most absorbing stories—and introducing some of its most fully realized characters." On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 88 out of 100, based on 55 critics, indicating "universal acclaim".
Black Panther was released on Blu-ray/Digital, DVD, and 4K Blu-ray/Blu-ray/Digital on May 15, 2018. The film was made available for streaming on Disney+ on March 4, 2020.
On November 29, 2020, Marvel Studios changed the studio's logo animation in the opening of the film to include images of Chadwick Boseman from the film, as well as his appearances in Captain America: Civil War, Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame. Concept art from the film and excerpts from the script were also included. This change was done on the Disney+ version of the film, to honor Boseman on what would have been his 44th birthday after he died in August 2020 from colon cancer.
- The movie is the first comic book film adaptation to receive more nominations at the Oscars than one or two since Dick Tracy as well as the first to win one since Who Framed Roger Rabbit.
- Black Panther is currently the fifth Highest-Grossing Marvel film of all time, right behind the Avengers movies.
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