LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Black Panther, the first black standalone Marvel superhero movie, won rave reviews on Tuesday (Feb 6) with critics praising both its adventure and its portrayal of a majestic Africa.
Directed by Ryan Coogler and featuring a predominantly black cast including Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong'o and Angela Bassett, Black Panther was hailed by the Daily Beast as "a love letter to every black person" and "a correction for years of diversity neglect" by Rolling Stone.
The Disney movie, opening worldwide next week, tells the story of T'Challa, the newly crowned king of the fictional, technologically advanced African nation Wakanda, who is challenged from factions within his own country.
The movie arrives after years of criticism about the under-representation of actors and film-makers of colour in Hollywood, including the #OscarsSoWhite campaign that prompted the Academy of Motion Pictures to increase diversity in its predominantly white male membership.
It got a rare 100 per cent rating from review aggregator RottenTomatoes.com and analysts expect it to bring in some US$150 million at the North American box office on its opening weekend.
The New York Times said the film "creates wonder with great flair and feeling" while having a story that "has far more going for it than branding". Entertainment Weekly said the movie's "nuanced celebration of pride and identity and personal responsibility" was the movie's "own true superpower".
IndieWire called it "the best Marvel movie so far, by far". USA Today said that along with the fantastical elements of the film and its James Bond-style spycraft, Black Panther was extremely grounded "dealing with the consequences of age-old colonialism and exploring isolation at a time when actual countries are building borders rather than breaking them down."
Business Insider said that Black Panther arrived at a perfect time. "Like Wonder Woman last year, Black Panther is a project that fans have been waiting decades to see. And just like Wonder Woman, it was worth the wait."