In all the fanfare regarding another new iteration of Spider-Man becoming a part of the MCU thanks to an unprecedented deal between studios Marvel and Sony, and subsequently stealing the show in Captain America: Civil War, some appeared to forget that that film also introduced another big character into the universe; Black Panther!

Regal, graceful and looking insanely cool to boot, Chadwick Boseman’s Panther was a quiet yet formidable presence. Following on from said Spider-Guy’s upcoming Homecoming the Panther is getting his own standalone picture of which the first trailer just landed with a potent kick to the stomach:

Scored by Run the Jewels’s aggressive Legend Has It, this first glimpse is dripping in promise. Akin to Thor: Ragnarok’s unique visual palate director Ryan Coogler (Creed) has committed completely to the African setting. Colourful, vibrant and laced with stunning costume design it showcases a Marvel that is not afraid to let these individual films have their own distinct personality.

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It certainly helps that this is one of the strongest casts yet seen in the MCU, refreshingly dominated by a coloured cast featuring seasoned pros like Angela Bassett and Forest Whittaker, alongside new blood such as Micheal B Jordan and The Walking Dead’s Danai Gurira. Not to mention in a testament to Marvel’s long form storytelling we have the return of Andy Serkis as Ulysses Klaw (last seen having his arm lopped off by Ultron), seen here domineering his surroundings despite being imprisoned akin to the Joker’s cackle-filled rants in TDK. Martin Freeman also reprises his Government stooge role from Civil War.

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Although we are still aways off from release date there is some comforting glimpses at a few large scale action scenes, including a energetically choreographed fight scene between some mercenaries and the Panther plus a brief look at the giant car chase sequence that was filmed in Korea last summer. Coogler is still a relatively fresh director but is clearly utilising the deep Marvel coffers to realise the required noise these films need.

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It is in the style though that I’m most intrigued, Marvel have slowly and smartly raised the strangeness with each passing film. It is hard to imagine the studio kicking off the MCU with something like this or Dr Strange, instead making the shrewd choice to go with the relatively grounded Iron Man. The success and plaudits for James Gunn’s Guardians films has also most definitely given Kevin Feige and team the confidence to go as deep as possible into these far-fetched worlds.

Plus can we all take a moment to appreciate Micheal B Jordan’s hair:

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The story details are thin on the ground at this point, with the broad strokes being that T’Challa is facing threats from all sides as he rises to the throne of Wakanda, but as a mood setter this trailer couldn’t have been better.

Black Panther gets his claws out February 2018!

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