Following the events of CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR, Prince T’Challa is returning home to be crowned King of the African Nation of Wakanda. To the world, Wakanda looks like a poor, underdeveloped country but in reality, the country sits on a the largest and only deposit of Vibranium in the world. This has helped them become a technological giant but stays hidden from the world.
In Korea, the arms dealer Ulysses Klaue and an ex-US soldier Erik “Killmonger” Stevens have joined up to steal some Vibranium and sell it to a buyer. T’Challa and a team are going to get the metal back before it is sold. Klaue cares more about the money but they will soon find out what motivates Killmonger to do this job.
Marvel’s BLACK PANTHER is directed by Ryan Coogler who is best known for his incredible boxing film CREED. In this, he has taken one of the newer MCU heroes and gave audiences a well-told story about the fictional African nation. Black Panther has always been an important character in the comics because he was the first black superhero during a time where people were fighting for their civil rights.
In the movie, Coogler has taken the beautiful traditions, clothing, and scenery of the continent to create a believable country. The different tribes are clearly discernible by a main color like blue for the border tribe and red for the mining tribe. With the help of the comics and design team, he shows that Wakanda is easily the most advanced people on the planet. It’s so far beyond anything that even S.H.I.E.L.D. or Stark uses.
As far as casting goes, Chadwick Boseman absolutely is The Black Panther. He can simply walk into a room and he has a charisma that speaks royalty. At the same time, he can come off as humble and hopeful that he will honor his ancestors. Michael B. Jordan also made his comeback to the Marvel Universe as Killmonger. He plays the perfect villain with such hate in his heart from his upbringing and his military training. You can tell that he took some inspiration from his character in CREED with some of their similarities. In my opinion, he is one of the best villains in the MCU with his drive and motives making sense (like the current big bad with the purple skin). Lastly, Shuri, T’Challa’s little sister was the breakout. She has a rebellious way about her but is serious about her science and inventions. She also kept the movie on the softer side against so many of the rough plot elements.
Chadwick Boseman – T’Challa / Black Panther
Michael B. Jordan – N’Jadaka / Erik “Killmonger” Stevens
Lupita Nyong’o – Nakia
Danai Gurira – Okoye
Martin Freeman – Everett K. Ross
Daniel Kaluuya – W’Kabi
Letitia Wright – Shuri
Winston Duke – M’Baku
Angela Bassett – Ramonda
Forest Whitaker – Zuri
Andy Serkis – Ulysses Klaue
The video is a 2160p HEVC presentation that looks absolutely incredible. From the very start with the grey sand that tells the beginning of Wakanda, you can see the strong details in the picture. The contrasting is excellent in both the lighter and darker scenes. It especially helps in the scenes where T’Challa is wearing his suit and fighting because then you can make out what he is doing each time. There is only one “suited up” scene in the daytime if that shows the important of the contrasting. HDR and Dolby Vision help this tremendously. The coloring is also brilliant with the lush greens and golden grass of the land, the dominant purples in the suit, and the glowing blue of the Vibranium deep in the heart of the mines. The stunning colors that I mentioned in the clothing are a sight to see (and that’s on both the UHD and Blu-ray format). As far as details go, this a definitely in the “win” column for Marvel’s releases in 4k. The shape lines in the clothing materials and patterns make their boldness stand out. The materials of the Black Panther’s suits are made of what I like to call the Marvel Mesh and it looks like they actually did a real suit and not just mo-cap. The facials lines are sharp and bring out every intricacy on the actor’s faces.
The video is a 1080p AVC presentation. The quality is on par with the other releases from Marvel. The coloring and the details looks great plus the well-done contrasting is a must with this release.
The audio is a Dolby Atmos mix that defaults to a Dolby TrueHD 7.1 mix.
It has a clean sound but there is one glaring issue: the volume. The movie’s volume is on the softer side in a similar fashion as AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON. Luckily, you don’t get any sort of distortion from turning the volume up past what are the typical levels on most receivers.
The score and other songs from the soundtrack have some incredibly smooth bass lines that fits perfectly with the tone of the movie. There is also of sweeping audio from the surround and overhead speakers. Not only do vehicles move around the sound field, but also there is no lack of audio at any time. One great example is on the waterfalls where the water is in the background and the people are chanting. On top of all this, there is T’Challa and M’Baku fighting with the weapons swinging and rushing overhead. Also, the score is layered over that and it shows how much work the mix does. The dialogue has been clearly prioritized.
The audio is a DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 mix that also has this low-volume issue. Again, it can be fixed with some volume adjustment. Minus the overhead movement, the audio is excellent.
SUPPLEMENTS & PACKAGING
-Director Ryan Coogler Intro: This is an intro where Coogler explains that he is grateful for the chance to bring this character to the screen.
-Audio Commentary: with Director Ryan Coogler and Production Designer Hannah Beachler.
-Crowning of a New King: This takes a look at the character showing up in CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR and how far he has come since his inception in the comics.
-The Hidden Kingdom Revealed: This looks at Wakanda as a whole and putting the fiction country on the screen.
-The Warriors Within: This looks at the strong female characters in the movie and the actresses who play them.
-Wakanda Revealed – Exploring the Technology: This looks at the tech that was used in the movie to make Wakanda the advanced city in the MCU.
-From Page to Screen – A Roundtable Discussion: This is a discussion between comic writer Christopher Priest, comic writer Don McGregor, comic writer Ta-Nehisi Coates, Executive Producer Nate Moore, Screenplay Writer Joe Robert Cole, and Screenplay Writer/Director Ryan Coogler. They talk about pretty much everything from the character’s creation during the civil rights movement.
-Marvel Studios: The First Ten Years – Connecting the Universe: From IRON MAN to present, the Marvel has been building this connected universe that is now 19 films deep.
-Exclusive Sneak Peek at ANT-MAN AND THE WASP
2-disc set w/ 1 4k UHD and 1 Blu-ray
slipcover included in first pressing
Steelbook version available
2160p HEVC H.265
HDR: Dolby Vision & HDR10
Aspect ratio: 2.39:1
English Dolby Atmos
English Dolby TrueHD 7.1
English Dolby Digital Plus 7.1
Spanish Dolby Digital Plus 7.1
French (Canada) Dolby Digital 5.1
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
1080p AVC MPEG-4
Aspect ratio: 2.39:1
English DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1
French (Canada) Dolby Digital 5.1
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
THE BOTTOM LINE:
BLACK PANTHER has quickly become one of the most popular characters in the MCU. He arguably has one of the best solo debuts films out of any other character to date. The movie is fun, action packed, and is an important film to round off the MCU. The release has a great video transfer with the brilliant coloring and details. The audio issue is surprising and yes, with the volume it can be fixed but I would think that Disney would learn after the AGE OF ULTRON problem. There are a ton of extras and they explain just about everything that a viewer might want to know about the film or the character. I highly recommend picking this up without hesitation.