REVIEW–Today we review Black Panther 2: 21 Bridges, Marvel’s highly anticipated sequel to last year’s hit Black Panther film! Helmed by the Russo brothers–known for their work on Captain America: Civil War, Avengers: Infinity War, and Avengers: Endgame, the film stars Chadwick Boseman as King T’challa/the Black Panther, Taylor Kitsch as Remy LeBeau/Gambit, and J.K. Simmons as J. Jonah Jameson.
While King T’challa normally operates in the African nation of Wakanda, 21 Bridges has him stationed in Manhattan. For comics fans, Black Panther’s presence in New York hearkens back to the Black Panther: the Man without Fear arc, in which Black Panther temporarily took over for Daredevil in his absence (#SaveDaredevil). The film involves T’Challa collaborating with the NYPD to take down two crooks on the run while also confronting corruption within the police force itself.
One of the crooks on the run is Remy LeBeau, a.k.a. Gambit, as last seen in the fan-favorite film X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009). While fans recognize Gambit as a good guy and a member of the X-Men, this story takes place during his known past as a thief and a wild card, just playing the hand he was dealt. When Gambit and his accomplice steal a stash of cocaine from a rival gang, it at first seems like everything is coming up aces for them. But after they make their getaway, the police set out to pay them back in spades, and the chase through nighttime Manhattan is on! They seek out the help of known villain Ra’s al Ghul (Alexander Siddig), but even his ties to the criminal underworld can’t help the crooks disappear fast enough! Can Gambit play his cards right to escape the island in time?
Throughout the story, Black Panther works with J. Jonah Jameson to catch the crooks and close the case. Despite a successful appearance at the end of this year’s Spider-Man: Far from Home, Jameson has retired from the news business and is now a police captain! Jameson is convinced that the crime was perpetrated by that menace Spider-Man, and demands that his officers find the pictures to prove it! But T’challa has a different idea: he convinces the mayor to close down all 21 bridges out of Manhattan so he can cut off Gambit’s escape routes and bring him to justice. Spoiler warning: Little does T’challa suspect that, beyond just being distrustful of Spider-Man, Jameson himself is actually the one behind the police corruption!
21 Bridges is a fast-paced, thrilling action film and a great exploration of the Black Panther and his role in the greater Marvel universe. Go give it a watch! What more could we have asked for from a Black Panther sequel?