MCU Moments: Black Panther
It’s been a long journey to Avengers: Endgame, but tomorrow night we will officially get to watch the culmination of the Marvel Cinematic Universe to date. In our anticipation, we have revisited most of the MCU’s many origin stories and first solo films, which has led us to experience again everything from The Incredible Hulk to Spider-Man: Homecoming. It’s been a lot of fun to revisit these stories, and today that culminates in last year’s box office hit, Black Panther. Released in February of 2018, Black Panther was directed by Ryan Coogler and written by Coogler and Joe Robert Cole. The film brought back Chadwick Boseman as T’Challa/Black Panther, who we were first introduced to in Captain America: Civil War, and it introduced Michael B. Jordan as Erik “Killmonger” Stevens. The film’s outstanding cast also included Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, Martin Freeman, Daniel Kaluuya, Letitia Wright, Winston Duke, Angela Bassett, Forest Whitaker, and Andy Serkis. The film went on to earn over $1.3 billion worldwide and won three of its seven Academy Award nominations. While T’Challa has since been dusted by Thanos’ snap in Avengers: Infinity War, a sequel to Black Panther is supposed to move forward under Coogler’s direction.
So, while there are admittedly a lot of standout moments from this film, what moments did we find particularly memorable in this origin for the new king of Wakanda?
1) Flying Into Wakanda
While it would be easy to choose all of the action sequences for this list, one of the first moments to leave an impact is the first flight into Wakanda. Okoye, T’Challa, and Nakia are returning after the death of King T’Chaka, and the return is triumphant in nature. The music in this sequence is impactful as it starts at a soft, striking melody that enhances the natural beauty of the land they are flying over. The sweeping landscape is breathtaking, and then the music and visuals shift to the quintessential theme as they enter their technologically advanced city. It’s a brilliant sequence, and it leaves the audience as excited as the characters to be entering this unique country.
Also, this sequence only gets better with the introduction to T’Challa’s mother and Shuri and Okoye’s teasing.
2) Klaue’s Meeting
I think we can all agree that the showdown that ensues at the casino in South Korea is one of the most exciting and fun sequences in the film. Okoye starts us out laughing as she fidgets with her wig, and her ability to later use that wig in a fight is fantastic. Their entrance into the casino is memorable as the main song kicks in and the atmosphere is established, and while I enjoy Klaue’s initial awkward conversation with Agent Ross, the true action begins with Okoye. From there we get to see the individual fighting styles of T’Challa, Okoye, and Nakia as well as a high-speed chase through the streets of Busan. The chase is unlike any other as Shuri excitedly gets to drive a car remotely for T’Challa, and it only gets more memorable as Okoye climbs on top of a moving car and destroys a car with her spear. It’s a perfect blend of humor and action while also keeping the stakes of their venture high. The whole sequence is outrageously cool and ends with a memorable confrontation between Klaue and T’Challa.
Can we also just say the preparation for this mission is beyond cool? It showcases Shuri’s brilliance, her relationship with her brother, and the advanced technology that Wakanda has to offer.
3) Throne Room Revelation
The mixture of music and cinematography in this film is often utilized to its full potential, and that is true here as well. Michael B. Jordan carries this scene as he embodies the underlying rage that fuels Killmonger. It contains a great dynamic as T’Challa tries to diffuse the situation quietly and Killmonger refuses to play along. Their exchange is well paced, and the interjections of characters like Shuri and her mother only heighten the emotions in this scene. The moment when Killmonger yells his real name and the music kicks up a notch is iconic. His revelation of how he found N’Jobu and his challenge for the mantle of king anchors this scene, and T’Challa’s willingness to accept this challenge only further establishes his character.
4) T’Challa Takes A Stand
The reveal that M’Baku has T’Challa in the mountains is an emotional reveal, but the real power of this scene is found after T’Challa is given the heart-shaped herb. He sees his father again for the first time since the truth of N’Jobu has been revealed. T’Chaka tries to welcome T’Challa to this place of rest, but T’Challa cannot do it. He questions his father about his choices, and for the first time, T’Challa admits to them all that they were wrong. They were wrong to turn their backs not just on N’Jobu’s son but also on the world. It’s a monumental moment as T’Challa admits the mistakes of the past and commits to not repeat them. He also promises to not let Killmonger remain on the throne whenever they are responsible for his making, which only solidifies this further as my favorite scene.
5) The Final Showdown
Am I essentially including a thirty minute chunk of film as my last point? Yes, yes I am. This battle between T’Challa and Killmonger has high stakes that are exponentially raised as the citizens of Wakanda find themselves fighting each other. The action sequences are beautifully choreographed, and all of our main characters are showcased at one point or another during the battle. You also have to appreciate Agent Ross being overwhelmed by their technology while also embracing his role in helping bring down Killmonger. The intervention of M’Baku and the Jabari is excellently integrated, and I can honestly say I’ve never seen a rhinoceros included in a battle sequence. Of course, the fight specifically between Killmonger and T’Challa is the crux of this sequence. The sequence ends in victory for T’Challa and those who stand with him, but it manages to maintain a bit of a bittersweet tone. It’s definitely a good sequence when you can celebrate the victory with your hero while still empathizing for the villain, and that’s what Coogler manages to accomplish here.
Also, can we just all agree that Okoye is the best? I think the whole movie proves that, but her devotion to T’Challa in this sequence and her response to W’Kabi’s betrayal solidifies that.
So, what moments stand out for you from Black Panther? Where does it rank among the MCU origins for you?
Be sure to let us know in the comments, and catch up with us next week as we officially move on to a new blog series for the month of May.
Mollie is a film enthusiast, aspiring writer/screenwriter, and a lover of all things Harry Potter, Star Wars, and Doctor Who. She is the co-founder of The Digital Shore (@thedigitalshore) and Above The Line (@atl_movies). You can follow her many adventures through Twitter and Instagram at @mcbeach.