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Movies Like 'Black Panther' to Watch Next

To celebrate the arrival of 'Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,' Metacritic lists 10 films that match the style and sensibility of the Afrofuturistic superhero film.
by Sam Rosenberg, Danielle Turchiano — 
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Chadwick Boseman in 'Black Panther'

Marvel Studios

The cultural phenomenon that is Black Panthercan't be understated. Directed by Ryan Coogler, the Marvel Cinematic Universe blockbuster broke ground in 2018 as the first Marvel Studios movie to feature a Black filmmaker at its helm and a nearly all-Black cast, comprised of an outstanding ensemble of talented performers including Chadwick BosemanLupita Nyong'o, Daniel Kaluuya, Angela Bassett, Sterling K. Brown, Forest Whitaker, Michael B. Jordan, Danai Gurira, and Winston Duke

A financial juggernaut with a $1.3 billion worldwide box office intake, Black Panther also currently ranks as the highest-rated MCU property on Metacritic, with a Metascore of 88. Critics and audiences alike raved about the film's emotionally and politically complex storyline: newly crowned Avenger T'Challa (Boseman) returns to his home of Wakanda to take over his late father's throne, only for his cousin Killmonger (Jordan) to call for a revolution in which Wakanda gives over its resources to places in economic need. 

In addition to being a critical and commercial smash, Black Panther also secured a slew of notable accolades, namely the coveted trophy for Outstanding Performance by a Cast at the Screen Actors Guild Awards and seven Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture, the first superhero movie to do so. It ultimately won three for Best Costume Design, Best Original Score, and Best Production Design. The soundtrack, curated by award-winning rapper Kendrick Lamar, also received critical acclaim and eight Grammy nominations, including one for Album of the Year. 

Black Panther, of course, wouldn't be what it was without the central presence of Boseman, who suddenly passed away in 2020 at the age of 43 from a years-long battle with colon cancer. Marvel chose not to recast his role and Coogler continued on with production of the sequel Black Panther: Wakanda Forever in 2021, despite his reservations to stay in the industry following Boseman's untimely death. Letitia Wright, who plays T'Challa's sister Shuri, takes over the hero's mantle after the country mourns the loss of their king, but she is not the only one carrying on his legacy.

To celebrate the arrival of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Metacritic lists 10 films that match the style and sensibility of the Afrofuturistic superhero film. 


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Al Pacino in 'The Godfather'

Paramount Pictures

The Godfather

Metascore: 100
Best for: Fans of devastating family dramas and crime thrillers 
Where to watch:

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Runtime: 175 minutes

Aside from it being one of, if not the, most celebrated film of all time, Francis Ford Coppola's gangster masterpiece The Godfather posed as a source of inspiration for Coogler when making Black Panther. Per Black Panther producer Nate Moore, Coogler liked the idea of telling a Godfather-styled story, one that is dramatically centered around vying for leadership and power within a family-oriented organization. Indeed, T'Challa's political ascent in Wakanda following his father's death mirrors Michael Corleone's (Al Pacino) unexpected rule as the Don, though T'Challa's arc is considerably much less tragic. The Godfather was also quite the decorated commercial breakthrough, nominated for 10 Academy Awards and winning three, including Best Picture.

"Overflowing with life, rich with all the grand emotions and vital juices of existence, up to and including blood. And its deaths, like that of Hotspur in Henry IV, Part I, continue to shock no matter how often we've watched them coming." — Kenneth Turan, The Los Angeles Times


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'The Lion King'

Walt Disney Pictures

The Lion King 

Metascore: 88
Best for: Fans of intelligent, comedic animated films 
Where to watch:

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Runtime: 88 minutes

The iconic 1994 Disney classic about a young lion cub named Simba (Jonathan Taylor Thomas) destined to inherit the throne of his late father Mufasa (James Earl Jones) carries a strong thematic parallel to Black Panther'sfocus on family, tradition, and hierarchy. Yes, The Lion King is a bit more light-hearted and contains more musical numbers than the Marvel film, but their shared Shakespearean drama and feline-centered characters are worth watching in tandem. The Lion King was also remade into a live-action film in 2019 by Iron Man director Jon Favreau, spurring mixed reviews but strong box office returns. A follow-up prequel to Favreau's take is set to be released in 2024, with Oscar-winning filmmaker Barry Jenkins attached to direct.

"A mystical, thrilling and breathtaking coming-of-age movie." — Dolores Barclay, Associated Press


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Michael B. Jordan in 'Creed'

Warner Bros. Pictures

Creed

Metascore: 82
Best for: Fans of thrilling boxing dramas
Where to watch:

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Runtime: 133 minutes

Before hopping over to the MCU, Coogler and his muse Jordan made Creed, the first spin-off of the Rocky franchise. Following in the footsteps of his late father Apollo (Carl Weathers), Philly boxer Adonis "Donnie" Johnson (Jordan) gets the chance of a lifetime when his dad's former rival-turned-friend Rocky (Sylvester Stallone, reprising the role that made him a star) offers to serve as his mentor and trainer. Both Donnie's journey in the ring and the film itself proved a rousing triumph, garnering critical acclaim, a worldwide gross of $173 million, and an Oscar nomination for Stallone. The sports drama's success led to an even more profitable sequel in 2018 and an upcoming third film, directed by Jordan, is set for a March 2023 release.

"Ingeniously, Coogler has transformed Rocky — the modern cinematic myth that, perhaps more than any other, endures as a modern capitalist Horatio Alger story of personal determination and sheer will — into a vision of community and opportunity, connections and social capital, family and money." —Richard Brody, The New Yorker


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Chris Evans in 'Captain America: Civil War'

Marvel Studios

Captain America: Civil War

Metascore: 75
Best for: Fans of superhero crossovers
Where to watch:

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Runtime: 147 minutes

If you want to see Black Panther in action prior to starring in his own movie, look no further than this 2015 Captain America sequel. Along with the MCU introductions of Ant-Man (Paul Rudd), Spider-Man (Tom Holland), and Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen), Boseman made his superhero debut as Black Panther in this well-regarded Marvel entry, where Captain America (Chris Evans) and Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) assemble their own teams after sparring over their differing visions for the Avengers. Boseman would go on to reappear as Black Panther in other MCU offerings like 2018's Avengers: Infinity War, 2019's Avengers: Endgame, and posthumously via voiceover in the 2021 Disney+ series Marvel's What If…? 

"Striking and consistently engaging, the Russos deftly craft compelling blockbuster entertainment out of a moral and emotional conflict, and that's more impressive than any overblown display of loud and vulgar power." — Russ Fischer, The Playlist


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Chris Hemsworth in 'Thor: Ragnarok'

Marvel Studios

Thor: Ragnarok 

Metascore: 74
Best for: Fans of humorous action movies
Where to watch:

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Runtime: 130 minutes

After relatively lukewarm reviews for its two predecessors, critics and audiences appreciated the third film in the Thor franchise, Thor: Ragnarok, for its more colorful, comedic take on the God of Thunder (Chris Hemsworth). In this entry, Thor teams up with fellow heroes Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson) and Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) to stop his evil sister Hela (Cate Blanchett) from taking over his home of Asgard. The film's critical and commercial success was likely due to the influence of New Zealand filmmaker Taika Waititi, who, like Coogler, jumped from making indie films like 2014's What We Do in the Shadowsand 2016's Hunt for the Wilderpeople to blockbusters. Waititi would go on to co-write and direct Ragnarok's followup as well, this year's Thor: Love and Thunder

"Thor: Ragnarok is by far the most unusual of the Marvel movies — a crazy, colorful, ambitious, hilarious ride through the cosmos — even surpassing the Guardians of the Galaxy movies as the former holder of that title. And it's by far the funniest." — Mike Ryan, Uproxx


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Denzel Washington (center) in 'Malcolm X'

Warner Bros. Pictures

Malcolm X (1994)

Metascore: 73
Best for: Fans of biopics about important American icons
Where to watch:

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Runtime: 201 minutes

Considered one of Coogler's favorite films, Spike Lee's Malcolm X chronicles the complex life of the notable, titular American political figure (played by Denzel Washington), from his criminal activities during his youth and subsequent prison sentence to his conversion to Islam and rise as a Black civil rights leader. The film's unwieldy 3-and-a-half-hour runtime may be a bit of a hard sell for some viewers, but it certainly didn't deter audiences when it was released in 1992 and made $48 million at the box office. Lee's epic also earned two Oscar nominations, one for Denzel and the other for the costume designer Ruth E. Carter, who would go on to design the costumes for Black Panther and win an Oscar for her work. 

"Mr. Lee means for Malcolm X to be an epic, and it is in its concerns and its physical scope. In Denzel Washington it also has a fine actor who does for Malcolm X what Ben Kingsley did for Gandhi." — Vincent Canby, The New York Times


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Gugu Mbatha-Raw in 'Fast Color'

Lionsgate

Fast Color

Metascore: 64
Best for: Fans of sci-fi indie dramas
Where to watch:

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Runtime: 102 minutes

Director Julia Hart's sophomore effort is a much more modest take on the superhero drama. The 2018 film tells the story of Ruth (Gugu Mbatha-Raw), a woman with supernatural abilities who runs from control-seeking scientists and receives help from her equally gifted mother Bo (Lorraine Toussant) along the way. Though under seen by audiences, critics praised Mbatha-Raw's performance as well as Fast Color's unique spin on the superhero formula. In 2019, Amazon Studios announced its development of a TV series adaptation of Fast Color, with the film's writers expected to return, but no further updates on the show's status have been reported as of the publication of this article. 

"Working with an economical running time of 100 minutes and a relatively modest budget, Hart infuses Fast Color with genuinely moving drama, an engrossing, supernatural-sci-fi mystery and some pretty darn impressive special effects." — Richard Roeper, The Chicago Sun-Times


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Jacob Latimore in 'Sleight'

WWE Studios

Sleight

Metascore: 62 
Best for: Fans of indie thrillers
Where to watch:

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Runtime: 89 minutes

Another small-scale superhero flick, J.D. Dillard's Sleight follows Bo (Jacob Latimore), a young street magician who uses his special abilities to save his kidnapped sister. After premiering at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival, Sleight became a moderate commercial success, garnering almost $4 million at the box office against a $250,000 budget. And like fellow Sundance alum Coogler, Dillard went on to direct more big-budgeted projects, including this year's war thriller Devotionand episodes of the HBO miniseries The Outsider, Amazon's Utopia, and Jordan Peele's reboot of The Twilight Zone

"Sleight fuses superhero story with a tough coming-of-age tale, and it enlivens and elevates both genres into something new and different, while heralding the arrival of Latimore as a star." — Katie Walsh, Chicago Tribune 


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Will Smith in 'Hancock'

Sony Pictures

Hancock

Metascore: 49
Best for: Fans of darkly funny superhero movies
Where to watch:

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Runtime: 92 minutes

One of the few profitable superhero blockbusters that wasn't a Marvel property, Hancock illustrates a much darker, rowdier superhero origin story, following its reckless titular protagonist (Will Smith) as he slowly begins to retool his public image with the help of a PR consultant (Jason Bateman). Although Hancock didn't fare as strongly with critics, the Peter Berg vehicle was co-penned by Vince Gilligan, who would go on to create the acclaimed AMC drama Breaking Bad and its equally beloved spin-off Better Call Saul. It also proved to be a hit with audiences in 2008, grossing $629 million worldwide

"As popcorn movies go, this is fleet, funny, and even thoughtful: its central question, nicely underplayed by director Peter Berg, is why power and altruism never seem to intersect." — J.R. Jones, Reader


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Wesley Snipes in 'Blade'

New Line Cinema

Blade

Metascore: 47
Best for: Fans of horror-adjacent action thrillers
Where to watch:

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Runtime: 120 mintues

Twenty years before Black Panther, there was Blade, an adaptation of another well-known Black Marvel superhero comic. Wesley Snipes plays the titular immortal vampire hunter, joining forces with his mentor Abraham Whistler (Kris Kristofferson) and hematologist Karen Jenson (N'Bushe Wright) to stop his nemesis Deacon Frost (Stephen Dorff) from decimating the human race. Despite mixed critical reception, Blade's legacy led to a series of significant milestones, begetting two sequels, serving as a signature role for Snipes, and setting the stage for future Marvel adaptations to come. An MCU reboot starring Mahershala Ali in the title role is expected for release in the fall of 2024.

"Big as it is, Blade is meticulous and subtle, not just in its camera technique but in the way it works its themes and creates a mood." — Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle