'Black Panther': A Rumination on Integration Wrapped in a Superhero Narration

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Arriving a decade after "Iron Man" effectively launched the Marvel Cinematic Universe, "Black Panther" is the first major superhero movie to feature a predominantly black cast, with Chadwick Boseman reprising the title role he introduced two summers ago in "Captain America: Civil War".

Also in the mix is Martin Freeman as a buffoonish Federal Bureau of Investigation agent Everett Ross while back at Wakandia the cast if filled out by Lupita Nyong'o as top spy / T'Challa's love interest Nakia, Angela Bassett as his mother and Get Out's Daniel Kaluuya as T'Challa's best friend, W'Kabi.

The day Chadwick Boseman found out Marvel Studios wanted him to play Black Panther, he may as well have woken up in another world.

Reviews are in for Ryan Coogler's Black Panther, and they are easily the best for a Marvel Studios project to date, with nearly everyone left in awe not only of the movie's ambition, but its success in achieving that ambition on the big screen. "You've never seen anything like it in your life". In this, there was a time period where people ask me questions about whether or not an audience could sit through a movie with a lead character who spoke with that accent.

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T'Challa (Chadwick Boseman) rules over the early reviews of "Black Panther".

Because it is about T'Challa, Black Panther is inherently a story about kings and kingdoms, which means it is also a story about fathers, bloodlines and generational strife. "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".

An infamous arms dealer, Ulysses Klaue (Andy Serkis), has somehow got his grubby hands on some vibranium, and has every intention to sell it to the highest bidder on the black market. In a recent interview with NPR's David Greene, the film's director, Ryan Coogler, explains how the collaboration came to be.

"We were in Zurich, I was coming off the red carpet for Get On Up and my agent was like, 'You've gotta get on the phone, '" Boseman said. The royal family is completed by Angela Bassett (American Horror Story) as Ramonda, T'Challa's mother and Queen Mother of Wakanda.

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The cast of Black Panther have gone worldwide! Whether the movie will prove a watershed moment for diversity in Hollywood blockbusters remains to be seen.

But Black Panther is so much more than the title character's first standalone film.

Black Panther opens February 16.

Letitia Wright (Urban Hymn) plays T'Challa's sister Shuri, who's also the princess of Wakanda. The most dynamic of them is Nakia (Lupita Nyong'o), a defiantly independent woman whose commitment to broader social outreach often puts her at loggerheads with Wakanda's insular instinct to not engage with the wider world. However after a couple of concept designs, the iconic panther claw chain that drapes Black Panther's cowl became the main inspiration for the influential soon to be hit album.

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