There is so much to like (or at least, to appreciate) in this film that I actually wanted to say it is a must watch - but I can't quite say so. Black Panther is still among the better films within the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and I would still recommend everyone to consider watching it (especially if you like these kind of films), but the film still has noticeable gaps/flaws from a storytelling quality perspective.
As I mentioned, though, there are so much to like and so many good things about this film. The characters (and to an extent, the actors' performances) are what stood out most. Chadwick Boseman shows he can lead the film as T'Challa, able to be dramatic or funny, powerful or struggling, depending on the period in the story. Michael B. Jordan & Lupita Nyong'o were also great in their respective roles. But the standout for me has to be Letitia Wright's character - who is funny, but more importantly, brings a different level of energy & carefree-ness (modernity) in a community still high on tradition. I think Shuri is my new favourite character in the MCU.
But while the characters were great & well developed from the beginning, it is unfortunate that they did not go through much development throughout this particular story itself. There is not too much change (or struggle) in character even for T'Challa himself. So, while the overall plot isn't actually that bad, unfortunately it also does not significantly change/impact most of the characters. And the sequence of events didn't feel as tightly written/edited as it could be. There are scenes which I felt could be fleshed out a bit more, and vice versa.
Meanwhile, all of the action sequences were great and so were the visual effects. I also want to give credit specifically to the production design team for the look & feel of the setting (Wakanda, for the most part), and then also for the ideas of the different pieces of technology. In particular, I like the look of the Black Panther outfit and the mechanics of it.
There are quite a few comedic moments peppered, but gratefully, it didn't take over the film (like what Thor: Ragnarok or Guardians of the Galaxy did). It's about time for a change. The remaining aspects of the film were decent or okay, but nothing else really stood out. And overall, it remains a great Marvel film which I really like - perhaps too much so that I wish I could plainly say that this is a must watch film. But I am only being a little melodramatic, so don't listen to me too much - this is still among the better MCU film which definitely is worth a watch!
VERDICT: 80 / 100