With a handful of nips and tucks, "Black Panther" might have been an unequivocally divine entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, clawing its way into the upper echelon of the blockbuster franchise. Like 2016's dazzling, thoughtful "Captain America: Civil War" before it (coincidentally the introduction of this film's title character), this first solo outing for T'Challa (Chadwick Boseman), inherited King of African nation Wakanda and frequent feline-garbed avenger, works as popcorn entertainment and something more. Under the guidance of acclaimed writer-director Ryan Coogler (2013's "Fruitvale Station"), is there any surprise the film concerns itself first and foremost with socially, racially and politically conscious subject matter over empty-minded action and computer effects? As worthwhile as his and co-scribe Joe Robert Cole's efforts are, they are occasionally overwhelmed by the narrative boxes they must check. Falling into the trap of too often telling rather than showing, the film's momentum and storytelling aren't as effortless as one hopes; as engaging as much of it is, it is always readily apparent how hard Coogler is trying to please. Then again, striving for too much and only sometimes succeeding is far preferable to not trying enough.
See Dustin Putman, TheFilmFile.com. for full review