Long live the king!
Early reactions from the Black Panther premiere (which kicked off with a standing ovation) are coming in from the Dolby Theatre, where audiences were treated to the first screening of the film. Reviews have not yet hit for Marvel Studios' superhero project, so this is the first word fans awaiting its Feb. 16 release date are getting.
THR has created a snapshot of early responses to director Ryan Coogler's film, which stars Chadwick Boseman as T'Challa/Black Panther, as well as Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira and Letitia Wright.
Across the board, the reaction to Black Panther was overwhelmingly positive, with those lucky enough to see the film early praising the performances, the story, the costumes, the direction and the cinematic realization of the African kingdom of Wakanda.
Black reviewers and geek sites, in particular, were effusive about the positive representations of black women. Natasha Alford, an editor at The Grio, made the point that there will be a generation of kids growing up seeing superheroes that look like them. The Los Angeles Times' Tre'vell Anderson called Black Panther a "love letter about blackness." ReBecca Theodore-Vachon, who has written for Forbes and RogerEbert.com, was one among many who felt that Wright's Shuri and Gurira's Okoye were important and necessary portraits of black women not seen before in superhero movies. Many black reviewers also praised Coogler's deft handling of issues of identity and imperialism.
Jen Yamato from the Los Angeles Times was also brimming with enthusiasm about Black Panther and the wider themes it tackled such as "representation and identity." Indiewire's David Ehrlich, while deriding the action scenes, also noted the film's "actual sense" of identity and history. Slash Film's Peter Sciretta called it Marvel's "most political film." Fandango's Erik Davis said the movie was "100% African and it's dope AF." Uproxx's Mike Ryan chimed in on the political nature of the film, adding that Black Panther was a movie "with a lot to say."
Ryan Coogler knocked it out of the park, some great sequences presented in a “single take/shot.” If this movie isn’t nominated for costume, art and production design awards next year, I would be seriously shocked. #blackpanther
Among the major film and entertainment reporters, CNN's Frank Pallotta praised Jordan as a "top tier" Marvel villain, a view echoed by Mashable's Angie Han, who tweeted that she "didn't want the movie to end." Collider's Steven Weintraub confidently predicted that Black Panther would make "serious" big office.