With the demise of his father and king, Prince T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) is the heir to the throne of Wakanda, a legendary country in the hidden jungles of Africa. Isolated for thousands of years, Wakanda is considered a third-world country. In fact, it is a country with hidden technical and medical superiority. Through ritual and tradition, Prince T’Challa is proclaimed King and is given the additional title of “Black Panther” — protector of the kingdom.
As the Black Panther, King T’Challa’s first job is to bring Ulysses Klaue (Andy Serkis) to justice. Besides being implicated with the death of Black Panther’s father, Klaue has been selling Wakanda weapons to terrorist organizations throughout the world. One customer — Erik “Killmonger” Stevens (Michael B. Jordan) — has had a grudge with the Wakanda leadership since the Rodney King riots of 1992. This conflict leads to a satisfying climax that works as a big comic book epic, while focusing on a human story about two men who qualify as the modern day version of Mark Twain’s The Prince and the Pauper.
1945 and Black Panther create contrasting forms of escapism this weekend.