One of the most anticipated movies of the year premiered in Hollywood last night, and along with the stars in attendance, many movie critics and film journalists were invited to be the first audience to bear witness to Marvel’s Black Panther. While actual reviews won’t start rolling in until next week, no installment of the Marvel Cinematic Universe has earned a Rotten score on RT thus far, so it’s probably fair to assume this one won’t break that streak. Still, Black Panther is a unique superhero movie, with a cast comprised almost entirely of people of color — a lot of eyes will be watching to see if it’s a success.
So what’s the immediate consensus? How does Black Panther rank against the rest of the MCU? Who are the biggest standouts? How is the villain? Below is a sampling of social media reactions from the critics and journalists who saw the film, and based on their response, it looks like fans are going to find a lot to like about it.
Black Panther is phenomenal to say the least! All cylinders from direction, acting, production design, costumes and action are Aces!!!
– Wilson Morales, Blackfilm.com
Ryan Coogler had something to say, y’all. So Black Panther is a Marvel movie with a message. The revolution will not be televised but this flick is straight up revolutionary! Danai and Leticia steal every scene they are in. I’m crying nerds tears cuz… I’m happy.
– Jacqueline Coley, Black Girl Nerds
Black Panther is an excellent film with the most realistic Marvel villain… MJB’s villain origin story is an origin story of racism and broken promises. It felt prescient and familiar and too plausible… Probably the best sci-fi/fantasy meditation on Black fatherhood since DS9.
– Kendra James, Marie Claire
I can’t breathe! Holy crap! Black Panther was so much better than I dared dream. Everybody involved deserves all good things! (Especially Letitia Wright)… Did I mention it had me in tears? That it is incredibly beautiful, relevant and powerful? That it is what we need RIGHT NOW? That it is one of the most nuanced Marvel films ever made?
– DaVette See, Black Girl Nerds
Guys. I can’t say much, but HOLY CRAP. I’ve never — ever — seen us look like this in a film. Amazing. Please go see this.
– Kelly L. Carter, The Undefeated
Yes, this will be the Blackest movie of all time! Excellent special effects, compelling story line, brilliant performances! This will go down in history as Marvel’s best!
– Jamie Broadnax, Black Girl Nerds
Black Panther is incredible, kinetic, purposeful. A superhero movie about why representation and identity matters, and how tragic it is when those things are denied to people. The first MCU movie about something real; Michael B. Jordan’s Killmonger had me weeping and he’s the VILLAIN… Imagine all the kids who will see themselves onscreen so deliberately — for a movie to tell you that you are seen like this one does is just beyond words… Did I mention I cried a bunch?
– Jen Yamato, Los Angeles Times
I never wanted this movie to end, and as soon as it did I wanted to go back. Solid action, smart story, tons of personality. Shuri is my new fave, Nakia is everything, Killmonger is incredible, T’Challa deserves to rule the MCU. Coogler has done it again.
– Angie Han, Mashable
Black Panther is everything we all wanted it to be. A smart, emotional, well-told story. And just f’ing beautiful.
– Roth Cornet, Screen Junkies
Black Panther is simply awesome. Extremely bold and as touching as it is thrilling, it boasts Game of Thrones-style intrigue, crazy innovative action and a deep bench of memorable characters. Top 5 all-time Marvel movie, easy… (Also, sorry Loki, Rocket, Groot, et al. Letitia Wright’s Shuri is gonna be everybody’s new favorite Marvel scene-stealer.)
– Brian Truitt, USA Today
Black Panther is exceptional — the James Bond of the MCU. You’ve seen nothing like this in a superhero movie. It’s bold, beautiful and intense, but there’s a depth and spiritualness that is unlike anything Marvel has ever done. It’s 100% African and it is dope af… The best part is how it unravels this deeply emotional and complex story about family ties and protecting your tribe. While lots will tout Michael B. Jordan as the stand-out, my faves were Danai Gurira and especially BP’s lil sis, Letitia Wright… Lastly, Black Panther is an audience movie. See it with a crowd cause they will be loud. It is a very proud movie and a female first movie, and I hope it crushes at the box office, paving the way for a future full of much greater representation.
– Erik Davis, Fandango
So much love for Black Panther. The exploration of Wakanda is phenomenal, Erik Killmonger is unquestionably one of Marvel’s best villains, and manages to be both fun and dramatic. Can’t wait to see it again!
– Eric Eisenberg, CinemaBlend
Black Panther is not screwing around. By far the most political Marvel chapter, to the point I had to remind myself this is a Marvel movie. A movie with a lot to say. Also, Michael B. Jordan… damn.
– Mike Ryan, Uproxx
Black Panther is crazy impressive. Little slow at first, but fantastic world building, great performances. Most standalone Marvel movie since first Guardians. More a drama than an action movie, which is a good thing. Letitia Wright is the huge surprise; she steals every scene she’s in.
– Gregory Ellwood, The Playlist
The cast is GREAT, Ryan Coogler is a wonderful image maker and Michael B. Jordan is the best Marvel villain (not even just by default). This movie has a lot on its mind, and I was mostly enthralled.
– Todd VanDerWerff, Vox
This movie asks the right questions and challenges the right themes, while creating one of the most impactful villains to date with Killmonger. Chadwick Boseman brings an entirely new dimension to T’Challa and grounds the entire story with necessary weight, but it’s the new characters who shine. Danai Gurira, Lupita N’yongo and scene stealer Letitia Wright are so so good and their fight scenes are AMAZING.
– Terri Schwartz, IGN
Black Panther is riveting on many levels: visually astonishing, but more importantly so unpredictable. Incredible to watch a major blockbuster celebrate blackness while exploring its relationship to various facets of pop culture.
– Eric Kohn, IndieWire
The MVP of Black Panther is Letitia Wright’s hilarious, ebullient Shuri. I want a Shuri supercut, I want a Shuri spinoff, I want a capsule collection of Shuri sportswear at Opening Ceremony, and I want these things now!
– Kyle Buchanan, New York Magazine
Check out the trailer for Black Panther below and check back next week when reviews officially start rolling in. The film opens everywhere on February 16.