Let's be real: Black Panther was such a fantastic movie from start to finish that picking a top 10 moments from the film was incredibly hard. And yet it had to be done, so here we are, with a list stacked with instantly iconic scenes and performances. I’ve seen the latest Marvel masterpiece three times now, so I’m comfortable with this list, though of course there are plenty of other moments that could make the cut.
Oh yeah, and this should be obvious, but this post has spoilers for Black Panther.
The land of Wakanda
One of the most captivating moments of Black Panther was finally getting to lay eyes on the land of Wakanda outside the context of a battle-weary Bucky Barnes and Steve Rogers. Seeing an African nation untouched by colonizations was a mesmerizing experience. To the outside world, Wakanda is a third-world country that refuses to take international aid — but now we know the truth. And when Okoye first flies the jet through the mirage and we see Wakanda for the first time? It's truly breathtaking.
Shuri was definitely the breakout character of Black Panther for quite a few reasons, not the least of which being her one-liners; she has enough incredible lines to fill out her own Top 10 Moments list. It's almost overwhelming. So, instead, I’ll just highlight her character as a whole.
Seeing a young black girl be the one to build the tech and help save the day was remarkably monumental. Shuri is hilarious and a total badass. Letitia Wright has a bright future in Hollywood and I'm excited to see what she does in the future of the MCU.
A refreshing take on Man-Ape
I was pleasantly surprised with how well the movie handled Man-Ape. Winston Dukes' portrayal of M’Baku was equally menacing and awesome, and I was glad to see the character rocking white fur, which was a subtle nod to his original costume that managed to not portray a black man as a gorilla.
Without M'Baku, Killmonger would have taken over the throne, and potentially the world.
Killmonger's introduction to the MCU
Michael B. Jordan was a fantastic villain, rivaling Tom Hiddleston as Loki. Killmonger and Klaw taking down the museum security team without remorse gave us a glimpse of just how far Killmonger is willing to go to get what he wants, solidifying him as a real threat from the moment he's introduced onscreen.
T'Challa visiting the ancestral plane
When T’Challa is officially crowned king and bestowed with the powers of the Black Panther, we get to see him visit the other side — the ancestral home where his father resides. The scene's visuals and score made for an unforgettable moment between T’Challa and his father. It reminded me of a scene from The Lion King, which also just so happens to involve a kid taking over after his father is murdered in front of his eyes.
The Korea fight sequence
I used to think Captain America: The Winter Soldier had the best action sequences in the MCU. But after the fight scene and chase sequence in Korea, I have to give it to Black Panther.
The fight sequences in Korea are really when the entire Black Panther team first gets a chance to shine, individually. Okoye using her wig as a weapon and Nakia taking down guards like it was nothing made me smile from cheek to cheek. And seeing Shuri literally ghost ride the whip was breathtaking.
Killmonger visiting the astral plane
One thing I loved was the difference in Killmonger’s plane from T’Challa’s plane because he’s from a different place. Killmonger's conversation with his father, in which the audience learns Killmonger's motivation and why he's so hurt by Wakanda, was so powerful and moving that it made me tear up.
The final fight
I was on the edge of my seat when T'Challa had to go up against the Wakandan army with Killmonger at its helm. T'Challa using the kinetic energy to knock all the soldiers in the air was beautiful. Shuri finally got to use her gauntlets in action and wasn’t afraid to take on Killmonger by herself. Okoye choosing her country over her lover showed us why she is the true leader of the Dora Milaje.
Killmonger's last lines
“Bury me in the ocean with my ancestors who jumped from ships, cause they knew death was better than bondage.”
Killmonger's final line was so powerful and you could tell Michael B. Jordan gave it his all. Initially, I thought Ryan Coogler and the Marvel team would keep him around for a sequel, but they took him right out. You could truly feel his pain and understand where he was coming from, which made the scene even more emotional.
The Wakanda Outreach Center
At the end of the movie, T’Challa realizes that Wakanda should be doing more for its people — even if they aren't from Wakanda. This scene was so important because it allowed the movie to end on a high note despite everything that happened along the way. Shuri teaching the little black children about the ship was so special to me; I saw myself in those kids.