The first social media reactions for “Black Panther” were incredibly positive, with some critics going as far as saying the film would “save blockbusters,” but the early word was nothing compared to the universal acclaim that met the film when the review embargo broke February 6. The movie has received some of the best reviews the Marvel Cinematic Universe has ever seen, and it launched with a 100% on Rotten Tomatoes following 64 reviews.
IndieWire’s senior film critic David Ehrlich praised “Black Panther” as the single best Marvel movie so far, and he’s hardly the only one. The tentpole, directed by “Fruitvale Station” and “Creed” filmmaker Ryan Coogler, is being singled out for creating a Marvel film with real purpose and for shining a blockbuster light on black identity. The ensemble cast, which features Chadwick Boseman, Lupita Nyong’o, Michael B. Jordan, Daniel Kaluuya, and more, is also be singled out for praise.
“Black Panther” opens in theaters nationwide February 16. The film has already broken pre-sale records at Fandango and is expected to open in the $160 million range, which would make it the biggest opening ever for a black director. Check out some of the critical acclaim below.
You might not be able to find Wakanda on a map, but this is the first Marvel movie that feels like it takes place in the real world…It’s the first one of these films that flows with a genuine sense of culture and identity, memory and musicality. It’s the first one of these films that doesn’t merely reckon with power and subjugation in the abstract, but also gives those ideas actual weight by grafting them onto specific bodies and confronting the historical ways in which they’ve shaped our universe.
A jolt of a movie, “Black Panther” creates wonder with great flair and feeling partly through something Hollywood rarely dreams of anymore: myth. Most big studio fantasies take you out for a joy ride only to hit the same exhausted story and franchise-expanding beats. Not this one… It wouldn’t be a Marvel production without manly skirmishes and digital avatars. Yet in its emphasis on black imagination, creation and liberation, the movie becomes an emblem of a past that was denied and a future that feels very present. And in doing so opens up its world, and yours, beautifully.
Ryan Coogler’s spectacular first foray into the Marvel universe is an absolute game-changer…Coogler’s film feels like a love letter to every black person who will step into the movie theater to see it, be they of American or African descent. It is a film that honors the history of black bodies on our entire continent, from the kingdoms they built, to the bondage they were shackled in, to the world that has treated them with cruelty at every possible turn.
“Black Panther” is a cut above—perhaps many cuts above—any other recent superhero movie, and some not-so-recent ones too. Coogler’s picture has a social conscience, speaking out plainly about the moral obligations of powerful countries, from sheltering refugees to sharing technology and science to dividing wealth equitably. Those ideas are the movie’s supple backbone, not just stuff that’s been added to make the whole venture seem important.
Director Ryan Coogler’s spectacular new film features the most high-profile black movie superhero yet, and also happens to be the best origin vehicle for the mighty Marvel brand since “Guardians of the Galaxy”…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.