Back when Captain America: Civil War was released almost two years ago, we got our first look at the African superhero of Black Panther, played by Chadwick Boseman. Seeing the trailers for this new Marvel movie made it feel like an epic blockbuster. And after Thor: Ragnarok, I was certain that the same typical formula used by Marvel movies would be used again here. Thankfully, I was wrong.

The plot centers around Boseman’s character, T’Challa, returning home after the events of the Avengers fighting one another to assume his place as king of Wakanda, a secretive African country that hides itself away from the rest of the world. Having returned, he must now face a new threat that puts the fate of the country, and the rest of the world at risk. Together with friends and family of his kingdom, he must release the full power of the Black Panther to save his country and protect his people.

Director Ryan Coogler had a strong vision for this film, executing it with outstanding poise. Having directed both Fruitvale Station and Creed beforehand, he’s now made another cinematic success in the eyes of critics. But that isn’t the only constant. Both of those films and this one include actor Michael B. Jordan, who plays the main antagonist, Erik Killmonger. Both Boseman and Jordan are phenomenal in their roles against one another. Other astounding performances come from Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, Letitia Wright, Angela Basset, Forest Whitaker, and Winston Duke. I remember hearing word on social media about how representation matters for this film, and I was not disappointed any of these characters’ performances, no matter how long they lasted. That’s not to say that actors Martin Freeman and Andy Serkis weren’t just as good, as they too had their moments to shine in the spotlight alongside the main cast.

The best thing I can say about this film is that it is a political commentary and weaves its way into an excellent story around both Jordan and Boseman’s characters. I would even dare say that Jordan has produced Marvel’s best and most sympathetic villain since Loki, who was not even an antagonist the last time I had seen him. This movie was a surreal experience on many levels from seeing the film to seeing the crowd that left the theater, some even in tears from such a movie. I’m glad to say that this was my favorite Marvel film thus far, and I hope Avengers: Infinity War can bring the same kind of excitement. For now though, long live the king that is Black Panther.