Early reactions from the Black Pantherpremiere 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 collected together 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 for 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 in superhero movies before. Many black reviewers also praised Coogler’s deft handling of issues of identity and imperialism.
If you don’t understand the power of representation, imagine growing up never seeing a superhero who looks like you. When American Girl dolls came out I always picked Addy who had to escape slavery. But now kids have #BlackPanther’s Nakia, Shuri and Okoye. Dope on many levels.
— Natasha Alford (@NatashaSAlford) January 30, 2018
#BlackPanther is a love letter about blackness, to a world that often ghettoizes it without realizing that it is on black backs that this planet revolves.
This world’s livelihood is in our blood. pic.twitter.com/FscW1hWbI6
— Tre’vell Anderson (@TrevellAnderson) January 30, 2018
Shuri, played by @letitiawright, is absolutely delightful. I love that Shuri is so at ease with her brilliance and genius. And her scenes with T’Challa are so funny! #BlackPantherpic.twitter.com/Rch7LfSlqM
— ReBecca Theodore-Vachon (@FilmFatale_NYC) January 30, 2018
— Brandon Norwood (@bwood0824) January 30, 2018
The story arc of Eric Killmonger will strike a heavy cord for every African-American who was raised here.
It puts tears in my eyes, made me grit my teeth and broke me before the credits.
— Mellow Marketer (@MellowMarketer) January 30, 2018
Black Panther is the best MCU movie ever. I was blown away from start to finish and I’m not even being biased. This was by far the best marvel movie to date. Thank you, Ryan Coogler! #BlackPantherpic.twitter.com/8Qh0hlOYAb
— Geeks of Color (@GeeksOfColor) January 30, 2018
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 Scrietta 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.”