Black Panther Official Facebook
Long Live The King
February 26, 2018
Children, adults, teenagers, and elderly couples shuffled into the theater, preparing to watch one of the most anticipated Marvel movies yet. Seats were hard to come by, but it made sense seeing as how it was the opening weekend. “Black Panther” had the fifth biggest opening of all time, and beat films such as “Avengers: Age of Ultron” and “Captain America: Civil War”, making it the second biggest opening that a Marvel studio has done (only behind the first “Avengers” film).
T’Challa, also known as the Black Panther and Prince of Wakanda, had already been introduced in a previous Marvel movie, “Captain America: Civil War,” where he sought revenge for his father’s murder using the power of the Black Panther. The 2018 film, “Black Panther,” picks up after “Captain America: Civil War” and focuses on T’Challa’s claiming of the throne and his challenger Erik Killmonger threatening the peace and ideals of Wakandan society.
It all started with a story. A man telling his son an almost whimsical and nostalgic recollection of a beautiful place called Wakanda. Wakanda is a highly developed African nation that hides its advanced technology stemming from the element vibranium from the outside world, in fear of what the outside world may do if they found out. Real issues such as intervening and aiding outside countries, racism, colonization, and the protection of nativism are all addressed in the film.
From the very start, the visuals of Wakanda were stunning, with colors ranging from purples and blues to shades of orange and pink all within the same sunset. The characters were all loveable, and held a good amount of humor and witty comebacks without taking away from the actual plot of the story.
The film contains many strong, high ranking, female characters. These include T’Challa’s sister, Shuri, who was the top scientist in Wakanda, Nakita, a spy with a desire to help those in need, and Okoye, the head of a special force unit.
I was very pleased to see that the female characters were all strong, intelligent, and capable of having their own opinions. In many ways, the film has a large capacity to represent those who are never given the chance. Rarely do we see strong women in films that are not sexualized or made weak for the sake of seeming more feminine. And rarely do we see people of color being the heroes of the films.
In the film, POC weren’t just the humorous and idiotic side-characters that happened all too often. In “Black Panther” people are given the opportunity to be represented. The film also gave opportunity for commentary on big issues presented today. One of the most important points that the film presented was the idea of oppression and colonization.
The fear of repeated history kept Wakanda from revealing its true state. Imperialization stripped many nations of their valuable resources, and the people of Wakanda feared that once people knew about their advanced resources, different countries, especially the United States, would attempt to take that power and bring suffering to their country.
Their concerns were more than valid and presented important commentary on what powerful countries do to those they see as lesser. Wakanda’s citizens wished to be dismissed as a third world country with no resources in order to escape the oppression that would come.
The antagonist, Erik Killmonger, and the Wakandan Spy, Nakia, also present valid arguments and commentary on the Wakandan policies. They see the oppression that African Americans face throughout the world and wish to aid them so that they are no longer helpless against the racism they face. They see it as fair since Wakanda is plentiful in resources and could help those in need. The issue of intervention in other countries is then expanded on in the film. If Wakanda were to interfere in other countries, it would bring the problems that they sought to avoid.
The peace in Wakanda would be threatened and many were not willing to risk the end of their peaceful time. The argument that Killmonger made is what helped him be such a good antagonist. He held good ideals at heart, but was blinded by rage and his dysfunctional ways of executing his plans.
His origin story and strength also helped develop the character in such a way that there was actual fear in the main character failing. Marvel movies have not been amazing at writing their villains, often making them too weak or one-note, but I felt that Erik Killmonger was written in a way that made the story much more interesting and presented moral ambiguity.
Overall, the film was fantastic. The costumes were all beautiful, detailed, and distinguishable and the special effects as well as the action scenes were all intense and realistic. The comedy tied in really well to the story and the characters were well-rounded. I enjoyed the different issues and points of view presented and hope that the representation of minorities in the film reaches children and teens and shows them that they can be protagonists of their own stories.