Review: Black Panther pulls no punches

We've had men made of iron and steel, a boy bitten by a spider, women descending from the gods - now it's time for a Warrior King.

Black Panther stamped his mark on Marvel in last year's Civil War, and now his standalone movie is one of the most talked about in superhero movie history.

It's a superhero movie set in Africa with kings, queens and warriors - all African, all black and all powerful.

The fictional secret African nation of Wakanda has a new King, T'Challa - the Black Panther who is wrestling with the old and the new. He rules a city more technologically advanced than anywhere else on the planet.

He's surrounded by formidable, fierce, fabulous women - from his mother, Queen Ramonda, to his scene-stealing sister, Princess Shuri, his ex-girlfriend, Nakia, to his mighty contingent of warrior women of Wakanda sworn to protect his throne. Protect it they must, and much sooner than they all expected.

Every superhero needs his nemesis. Here Michael B Jordan's KillMonger explodes into the Marvel Cinematic Universe with seething potent intent. He wants revenge, he wants what he believes in his dark ravaged soul is rightfully his - he wants the Throne of Wakanda.

Writer and director Ryan Coogler pulls no punches, ushering into the mainstream a story that thunders home global themes of racial and gender inequality, Third World versus the rest of the world.

There's power, greed, slavery, the refugee crisis - the past and the present. It's a powerful package.

If this all sounds like a heavy few hours in the cinema, I promise you - it's not. This is big-screen entertainment that just happens to have a big message.

There are kick-arse chase scenes, heist scenes and fight scenes. There is Gollum with an insane South African accent, and Bilbo with his insane American accent.

There is, of course, the Black Panther.

Wakanda forever? Yes please, that'd do nicely.

Four-and-a-half stars.