Michael B Jordan on power of Black Panther

michael b jordan

Black Panther star Michael B Jordan believes the new Marvel movie has the potential to change the film industry.

The comic book film is the first release from the studio to have a predominantly black cast, and critics are hailing it as Marvel's "most woke" movie.

"Hopefully with this film coming out, being able to inspire the next generation, being able to send a message to the film industry, to the television industry, to the world that this cast is more than capable of making a successful movie, and to be a part of that film, it means a lot," Jordan told AAP.

In Black Panther, Jordan plays villain, Erik Killmonger, who challenges Chadwick Boseman's character T'Challa (the Black Panther) to the throne of the fictional African nation of Wakanda.

The self-sufficient country is more technologically advanced than anywhere else in the world, thanks to the abundance of a powerful resource known as vibranium. However, Killmonger is angered at how Wakanda has turned its back on African-Americans.

He is a complex and sympathetic villain, and his inclusion in the film highlights broader issues regarding racism and the mistreatment of African-Americans.

It's not the first time the actor has confronted race issues directly.

This is his third time making a film with director Ryan Coogler, who gave Jordan the starring role in his 2013 film Fruitvale Station. The pair also made Rocky spin-off Creed together, pitching Jordan as a wannabe professional boxer.

But Jordan understands how particularly important Black Panther could be.

"It's changing ... the outside perception of what African is, of what Africa is, African-American culture and issues, and it's definitely starting a dialogue and conversation that hasn't really been had before," he said.

"When you watch this film you might walk away with something you never thought you were going to take away from the film. And I think that's truly the power of cinema."

* Black Panther releases in Australian cinemas on February 15

© AAP 2018 Image credit: AAP Image/Yonhap News Agency