It's hard to deny that there's a special kind of hype surrounding the arrival of Black Panther on February 16th. The character was introduced in Captain America: Civil War and instantly became a point of conversation, and just how popular he had become was made evident when the first trailer for his own solo film dropped and fans all over the world went nuts.
There's an energy that's hard to put a finger on about the film that has made it feel like we're in for something special, with director Ryan Coogler's passion to deliver a film of importance evident every time he's talked about it. And that's not to mention how heavily the cast seems to be invested, which is nothing to ignore, as this is a roster that sees Chadwick Boseman joined by Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong'o, Danai Gurira, Daniel Kaluuya, Letitia Wright, Winston Duke, Forest Whitaker, Angela Bassett, Martin Freeman, and Andy Serkis, the latter pair reprising their respective roles in Civil War and Age of Ultron.
As a character, Black Panther is a king with responsibilities to an entire country of people, and with that power comes with it new real-world social and political conflicts and obligations the likes of which we haven't really seen a major MCU hero deal have to deal with yet. As a movie, it's something whose hype feels more than justified, not just a stepping stone to get out of the way on the road to Infinity War but an event in itself that can't get here sooner.