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Arts in Review

Black Panther opens up road to Infinity War

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Black Panther is the 18th and latest movie to come out in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). It’s also the last movie to arrive before Avengers: Infinity War, probably the most anticipated movie to date. The Black Panther, also known as T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) is a Marvel superhero who is the current king and protector of Wakanda, which is a fictional African nation.

The Black Panther’s powers come from a heart-shaped herb that is linked to the spirit of the panther goddess Bast, which grants superhuman agility and strength. Here’s something interesting about Wakanda: in the Marvel Universe, Wakanda poses as a third world country. In reality, Wakanda is home to the one of the biggest deposits of “vibranium” (an incredibly rare and valuable metal in the Marvel Universe), and thrives thanks to technological advancements made possible by the vibranium, placing them centuries ahead of other nations.

Black Panther starts off in the past, featuring Atandwa Kani as the young T’Chaka (T’Challa’s father, previous king of Wakanda and previous Black Panther, who is played by John Kani in the present day scenes) visiting someone who is assisting one of the main antagonists, Ulysses Klaue (Andy Serkis) to steal vibranium and sell it for a profit. Back in the present day, T’Challa is getting ready to assume the throne after T’Chaka’s death in Captain America: Civil War. T’Challa becomes king, but must overcome defeat after being challenged by Erik Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan), a long-lost Wakandan who had, up until now, been living in the U.S.

With assistance from his sister Shuri (Letitia Wright), his ex-lover Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o), the Dora Milaje, and CIA Agent Everett Ross (Martin Freeman), T’Challa fights to prevent Wakanda’s technologically advanced nature from being exposed and destroyed from within by Killmonger.

While the movie lacked in the comedy department compared to Thor: Ragnarok (notable is an especially behind-the-times “what are those” gag), it more than makes up for it in the action department. Noteworthy is the city chase in South Korea, where Black Panther chases down Klaue with the help of his allies, and utilizes Black Panther’s new suit and his abilities. I am very intrigued by Wakanda’s culture, which combines the styles of futuristic sci-fi with a traditional tribal feel.

Now, where does all this tie into the MCU leading up to Avengers: Infinity War? Black Panther offers aid to Bucky Barnes, Captain America’s best friend, knowing that Captain America and Bucky are both fugitives now, thanks to a new law that was voted in by a majority of the world’s governments that forces superheroes to register with the government.

With the Avengers split up and their biggest threat coming to Earth, the film raises the question: are the Avengers going to work together again? Will Black Panther and the heroes who follow Captain America be able to defend Wakanda and protect the rest of the infinity stones from the mad titan Thanos?

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