African Americans Finally Get the Superhero They Deserve
By: Kenny Velez
“Black Panther” is a movie that combines superheroes with Afrofuturism.
It is the 18th movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, based on the Marvel comic book character of the same name.
After the events of “Captain America: Civil War”, T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) succeeds his late father as the king of Wakanda. However, things are never as easy as they seem, and enemies rise to threaten the safety of Wakanda and the throne of the king – one of them being T’Challa’s cousin, also known as Erik “Killmonger” Stevens (Michael B. Jordan).
This movie is absolutely gorgeous. Several locations, such as vibranium underground, are beautiful to look at and you can tell that a lot of care and effort was placed into them.
The costumes and the designs for this movie are solid. The look of them are distinctly African, with several characters having ritualistic tribal marking on various parts of their body.
It makes sense that this movie has a predominately black cast because in the comics, Black Panther and the majority of his supporting crew are African. It feels more natural than the likes of “Spider-Man Homecoming”, changing the races of multiple supporting cast members to non-white.
The action sequences for the most part are solid, though there are some moments where the camera needs to stop shaking, so the audience can see who is doing what to whom.
The music, during some parts, was also great as well, and helped to amplify the mood of scenes. This was mostly thanks to Kendrick Lamar.
T’Challa is more complex than you would expect a stoic king to be. He jokes around with his sister Shuri when he’s not in “King mode.”
He also gets teased by his strong female general, Okoye, played by Danai Gurira, but not to the point of belittling the character.
The movie does a better job at making T’Challa more effective than “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” did with its male characters. It is he who kills the villain, and not one of his female warriors.
The villain of this movie, Erik Killmonger, is also complex- more than you expect a superhero movie villain to be. He doesn’t want to take over the world because he is evil.
Rather, he wants to take over the world so that he can end the racism and oppression towards black people that he lived with.
He continues the goals of his father but with a more extremist approach to it. The film does a fine job of making him sympathetic, while at the same time still having him be a villain that needs to be stopped.
There is definitely a political agenda in this movie, specifically an inclusion and diversity agenda.
Our society collectively values equality, for the most part, and wants to forget the “dark past” of oppression and mistreatment that has afflicted everyone who is not a straight, white male.
To the credit of the movie, it doesn’t shy away from this. During the post-credit sequence, T’Challa says he wants the world to be united, as he reveals the existence of Wakanda technology to the United Nations.
He also says, “The wise build bridges while fools build barriers” which alludes to the presidency of Donald Trump. It also refers to the wall that separates Wakanda from the outside world.
For every action in life, there are both positive and negative consequences. With that said, it would be interesting to see the consequences of Wakanda opening its doors to the world get explored in sequels.
Overall, “Black Panther” is a more enjoyable movie than “Thor: Ragnarok” and “Spider-Man: Homecoming”.
It’s more controversial and more successful, and with all the records it’s breaking, it clearly shows.