If you start in the center of Africa and head southeast, you arrive at Wakanda. According to one map, it lies somewhere near Uganda—below South Sudan, above Rwanda, and abutting the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Unlike those nations, however, which have been scalded by strife, Wakanda is a model of serenity. It is a kingdom, wisely ruled, and rich in a precious natural resource, vibranium, which is used for hyper-technology. Foreign marauders have never pillaged that wealth, because they know nothing about it. In short, Wakanda is blessed among nations, and there’s only one thing wrong with the place. It doesn’t exist.
The map appears in “Black Panther,” most of which is set in present-day Wakanda, at a pivotal point. The old king is dead; long live the new king, T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman), a princely sort who comes with many advantages. His mother is played by Angela Bassett, who rocks a ruff better than any queen since Elizabeth I. His most trusted combatant, should trouble loom, is the shaven-headed Okoye (Danai Gurira), who can fell an aircraft with the toss of a spear. He has a thing going with the wondrous Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o). Oh, and I almost forgot: he’s a superhero. Unlike Peter Parker, whose teasing, could-it-be-me act has worn thin, T’Challa is super and proud, turning at will into Black Panther. His suit, at once bulletproof and clingy, makes Tony Stark’s outfit look like a deep-sea diver’s. Sure, Bruce Wayne has the Batmobile, but T’Challa has a whole country to drive. The king is the man.
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