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'Black Panther' reviews are in and it's already a Marvel must-see

Commentary: The film has a promising all-star cast in front of the camera and behind the scenes bringing Marvel's realization of Wakanda to life.

The only group more impressive than the collective talent behind the upcoming "Black Panther" movie is the crazy cast of characters in the "Avengers: Infinity War" epic coming out right after.

The cherry-picked brains behind Marvel's next blockbuster are talented, hard-working humans delicately fusing together their visionary creativity in order to bring audiences everywhere a captivating yet realistic vision of the comic created by writer Stan Lee and writer Jack Kirby.

So far it's working. Advanced tickets for the premier broke online presale records, and it's projected to make $120 million on opening weekend. Whether or not you're already hyped up to see the movie, keep reading for why #BlackPantherSoLit.

Update: Reviews are in around the web and they are positive that this is a great addition to the universe. Read on for more info and some reactions around the web.

Now playing: Watch this: Chadwick Boseman loves a good challenge

Easily one of the most anticipated releases of 2018.

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The past and present merge

In 1998, Christopher Priest revamped Black Panther for a new generation. Priest's run importantly introduced the Dora Milaje (more on them later) and the character of Everett K. Ross, played by Martin Freeman in the movie.

Priest's version of T'Challa reminded comic fans that Panther was not only African, rich, a king and a politician, but also cunning, cool and always three steps ahead of his opponent. 

Executive producer Nate Moore (more on him below) and director Ryan Coogler liberally borrowed from his version, as well as from Ta-Nehisi Coates, the writer behind the most recent comics which rebooted in 2016.

(In case you forgot, Coogler was the director behind critically acclaimed films "Fruitvale Station" and "Creed.")


Director Ryan Coogler on set with Executive Producer Nate Moore.

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More Moore

Nate Moore knows comics, but he also knows how to bring comic book characters to life on film. Before becoming a producer for Marvel, he ran its in-house writer's program, where the company attempts to crack the cinematic code on their characters.

Moore is one of the reasons both Sam Wilson/Falcon (played by Anthony Mackie) and T'Challa (played by Chadwick Boseman) entered the Marvel Cinematic Universe when they did, as he served as co-producer and executive producer on two fan and critical Marvel favorites: "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" and "Captain America: Civil War" (the characters' first appearances, respectively). 

That's a pedigree that earns him more than just the benefit of the doubt and warrants actual unabashed excitement.

James Bond meets 'The Godfather'

The James Bond influence is a little obvious, what with T'Challa's rich and luxurious high-tech digs and toys, as well the bits in the trailers we've seen of Shuri, his genius younger sister, acting as his science advisor-slash-Q.

According to director Coogler, the family drama aspect was taken from "The Godfather." 

During a set visit, producer Moore told Screen Rant: "When I say Godfather, it's the idea that it's very much a story about family and a story about an organization where new leadership is taking place. And much like the Godfather, you have to fight for things, right? And they're all vying for power and in this case, it's power over Wakanda."


Do not mess with The Dora Milaje.

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Badass women

Despite being expectedly male-centered, "Black Panther" already has a stronger representation of women than most movies today. Notably, scenes featuring Shuri (played by Letitia Wright), and the Dora Milaje, the group of all-female warriors that protect the throne -- literally -- have been heavily praised online for their positive representation of strong black women. 

The warriors in The Dora Milaje and Shuri, a prodigy princess who definitely doesn't need rescuing, are indeed powerful images to behold. ETOnline describes Shuri as "a 16-year-old tech genius, who is equal parts sassy and smart and is responsible for Wakanda's technological advancements and weapons development" -- tl;dr she's a young badass. A regal group of black women that could definitely kick your ass is unchartered territory in the Marvel universe. Black women are rarely cast in major roles in the MCU. 

The vision of Wakanda realized in "Black Panther" treats women as equal to men. It demonstrates this by their importance in its society, as well as to the story, plot and vision. (Also from ETOnline, we learn Black Panther definitely passes the Bechdel Test.)

In an interview with CNET Magazine, star Boseman said Princess Shuri's role "is the most important." He says she is the minister of technology, "She is the one with that gift. She's the Tony Stark of Wakanda. She's witty, she's cool, she's funny."

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Historic cinematographer

Speaking of badasses, the cinematographer for "Black Panther," Rachel Morrison, is hot off the heels of making history: She's the first woman to be nominated for an Oscar for Best Cinematography.

Morrison previously collaborated with Coogler on the powerfully framed "Fruitvale Station." Judging from trailers and several early impressions, she is definitely not holding back in "Black Panther." I mean, just look at that very small snippet of footage of a fight scene.

A soundtrack and score worth streaming

Coogler handpicked Grammy award-winning Kendrick Lamar to curate and produce "Black Panther: The Album." The first Marvel soundtrack project attached to a rapper, it's set to arrive this Friday Feb. 9 and will feature music made and produced specially for the film by The Weeknd, Future and many of Lamar's TDE labelmates.

Ludwig Göransson sets the sonic scene for the film by composing the score. Göransson previously worked with Coogler on the scores for "Fruitvale Station" and "Creed." He traveled to Africa to find inspiration, eventually meeting a variety of local musicians to explore sounds for the movie. Göransson has scored beloved TV shows, like "Happy Endings" and "Community," the latter which helped birth a fruitful and collaborative relationship with Donald Glover, aka Childish Gambino aka Young Lando.

Afro-futurism for real

What do Beyonce's "Lemonade," 2016 Best Picture Oscar winner "Moonlight" and "Black Panther" have in common? Production designer Hannah Bleacher.

After working with Coogler on the "Fruitvale" and "Creed" movie sets, Bleacher is back at the helm creating and visualizing the futuristic country and utopian civilization of Wakanda as if it's another character in the movie. She spent eights months researching for the movie, also traveling to various countries in Africa. With Coogler, she made a 500-page "bible" full of visual references, inspiration, rules and framework for the film.

Early reviews seem to agree that the future is Black Panther. USA Today writes that "the glorious reveal of Wakanda, whose culture is steeped in African influences ... also offers a jaw-dropping look at what a city of the future could be."


In Wakanda each tribe has its own color.

Marvel Studios

Wakanda's fashion visionary

Everyone still picking up their jaws from the floor after gagging over the first impressions of the upcoming movie's excellent costumes have Ruth E. Carter, the prolific costume designer who earned Oscar nominations for her work in "Amistad" and "Malcolm X," to thank.

She collaborated with Bleacher and Coogler, who gladly shared their Wakanda reference bible, to bring Wakandan fashion to the silver screen. The costume designs critically include inspiration from indigenous people of Africa and different ancient African traditions. With her depth of experience and eye for color and patterns, Carter's contributions play a key role developing Wakandan style and fashion.

Chadwick Boseman

Check out our interview with the king, Chadwick Boseman, and learn more about Black Panther.

Mark Mann/CNET

Black Panther review on Gamespot: A Marvel movie with a message, "Black Panther" is a cultural event that's going to be hard for the MCU to top.

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