In Black Panther, director Ryan Coogler (Fruitvale Station, Creed) has crafted a nearly perfect solo film for the eponymous African Superhero. The film has all of the visual appeal, action, and expert world-building that we have come to expect from the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). In addition, Coogler instills the film with superlatives that are rarely attached to the MCU: a noteworthy and complex villain, a rich political subtext, and a truly thematic conflict. It is likely too early to crown Black Panther as the greatest anything, but it is folly to ignore the power behind such an exemplary film.
The boxing ring is an attractive setting for exploring themes of determination, courage, and discipline. You won’t find a better offering from this century than Ryan Coogler’s Creed. This fantastic film manages to respect the stories that came before it in the Rocky universe while contributing a freshness to the standard underdog story. Coogler’s direction is apparent and smart, especially during the thoroughly engaging boxing sequences. Coupled with powerful performances from the leads, Creed delivers far more than the satisfying knockout punch of the standard boxing flick.