No matter how different it wants to be, it just ends up the same.

Black Panther, the latest entry in the Marvel Universe, opens in wide release today. Director Ryan Coogler puts his own imprint on what a superhero movie can be, but the film ultimately falls back into too many familiar tropes to truly set it apart from the rest of the MCU.

After the death of his father, T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) returns home to the African nation of Wakanda to take the mantle of King of Wakanda and become the legendary Black Panther. Immediately after ascending the throne, T’Challa is faced with a dilemma: Ulysses Klaue (Andy Serkis) has resurfaced, heading for South Korea.

Many years earlier, Klaue stole a supply of Vibranium, a special metal that has allowed Wakanda to advance technologically more than any country on Earth, that was tracked by T’Challa’s father, the former Black Panther, to Oakland, CA where he discovers a Wakandan who has betrayed the secrecy laws of his own country. T’Challa must face the decision of whether or not to pursue Claue outside of their borders or not.

T’Challa decides to take a small team to South Korea including his army’s top general Okoye (Danai Gurira) and expert spy and former girlfriend Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o) to apprehend Claue. Armed with the latest Vibranium technology developed by his sister Shuri (Letitia Wright), T’Challa sets off to apprehend Claue, but runs into the even more powerful villain Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan) who has a tie to Wakanda’s past.

Black Panther is everything the Marvel Cinematic Universe wants its pictures to be. It’s fun, it’s vibrant, it has great action and has just enough of its director’s touch to feel original. Where it sets itself apart is through the development of rich supporting characters and creating a world that feels rooted in authenticity yet stays truthful to the fantastical world of Marvel.

There are some interesting bits of social commentary layered onto this typical comic book movie. It’s important that Wakanda is an uncolonized African country that has flourished more than any other country on the world. There is a level of pathos for the idea that Wakanda should lend its military might to the oppressed around the world. There’s a real conflict for T’Challa to reconcile keeping with tradition and thinking about the greater good of the entire world.

Having those elements present certainly make Black Panther a different type of superhero film – this film has a relevance and conscience that’s much greater than simply the good versus evil baseline of most comic book fare. The issue is that, despite all of its differences, the film can’t help but devolve into the trite comic book tropes.

Much like other Marvel movies, we can’t go 20 minutes without a spectacular fight, we have a villain that must be defeated because he’s a villain and we have an origin story that involves our hero first getting beaten down only to rise back up again. We’ve seen this format before which is doubly frustrating considering how many unique elements Coogler brings to the table with his take on the superhero film. Rather than breaking the mold, he just kind of warps it a bit. This film felt like it should shatter it.

Despite those frustrations, Black Panther is a really top-notch superhero movie that Coogler impeccably brings to life on the screen. Its performances are outstanding, particularly from Wright who steals the show with a sharp wit and wonderful energy. Boseman is every bit of the Black Panther and a perfect addition to Marvel’s cavalcade of heroes, and with his awareness of the world and relationship with oppressed people, the most relevant hero the MCU has produced so far.

If only the film had followed suit a little bit more.