Here's what the critics are saying about "Black Panther"

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Black Panther hits theaters on February 16, 2017.

For numerous black actors, musicians, and artists involved in Marvel's Black Panther, this dream has come true.

The important stuff was a phone call from Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige, Marvel producers Louis D'Esposito, Nate Moore, and directors Joe and Anthony Russo.

Meanwhile, through a tragedy of Shakespearean proportions, a former USA black-ops warrior nicknamed Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan) lays claim to the throne - and Wakanda's super-science weapons, which he'd use to conquer Africa's old colonizers and enslavers, that is, much of the world.

Around 30 black characters have donned the lycra for the big screen since the early 1990s, including Marvel's Falcon (Anthony Mackie since 2014), Wesley Snipes's titular vampire hunter in Blade (1998) and Halle Berry's Kenyan princess Storm in four X-men movies.

Ever since that debut, the Wakandan drumbeat has only grown louder in anticipation of the first solo film for T'Challa - a character created a long half-century ago by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, amid the heat and height of the civil-rights movement. The film stars Chadwick Boseman as T'Challa/Black Panther and follows him as he returns to Wakanda to reign as its king. But he'll need more than combat skills in a globe-trotting plot that begins in London, where Age of Ultron mercenary Ulysses Klaue (Andy Serkis, having a ball) steals a Vibranium artefact.

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"Black Panther" is the antidote to such films, though.

Along with Okoye (Gurira) the head of Wakanda's elite, all-female fighting force the Dora Milaje, he picks up the luminous Nakia (Nyong'o) his ex-girlfriend on the way back to his homeland. The royal family is completed by Angela Bassett (American Horror Story) as Ramonda, T'Challa's mother and Queen Mother of Wakanda. Whether the movie will prove a watershed moment for diversity in Hollywood blockbusters remains to be seen.

New York Times' Manohla Dargis praised Coogler for his his acting scenes but noted his "directing strengths are more intimate", writing: "There are sequences in Black Panther that may make you cry because of where they go and what they say, but also because of the sensitivity he brings to them".

Rolling Stone's Peter Travers agreed, calling the movie "an epic that doesn't walk, talk or kick ass like any other Marvel movie - an exhilarating triumph on every level from writing, directing, acting, production design, costumes, music, special effects to you name it".

Much fuss will undoubtedly be made of the blows that Black Panther strikes so emphatically.

Because it is also about Wakanda, Black Panther is inherently a story about Colonialism and a vision of Africa that was allowed to thrive without the imposition of white culture and violence.

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