After earning a record-breaking $202 million on its opening weekend and $400 million within 10 days of its release (making it the third fastest grossing movie of all time), there’s a good chance you are one of the many who has already seen Marvel’s ‘The Black Panther.’ But to many, it was more than just a movie.
“I’ve already seen it twice,” said CU junior and Jamaican native Canute Watson, “I loved the movie, I’m a big Marvel fan and I thought it was cool to see a movie that had a black superhero.”
The Black Panther is one-of-a-kind when it comes to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The film features a predominantly black cast centered on an African superhero, with Ryan Coogler being the first African-American director to handle a big-budget film for Marvel Studios.
“To me it’s empowering to see a black man save the day because you don’t normally see that in many superhero films, so I thought it was really cool. I definitely think it meant a lot to people, especially people of the black community,” said CU senior Sha’Ron Bilowith. “Not only that, but the movie itself was great, probably my favorite from Marvel so far.”
I’d have to agree. I found ‘The Black Panther’ visually striking, entertaining all throughout, hilarious at times and significantly less predictable than your average Marvel movie.
The film follows the events of The Black Panther or T’challa (played by Chadwick Boseman), a prince who, following his father’s death in ‘Captain America: Civil War’, has recently taken over as king of the fictional African country of Wakanda. Although Wakanda appears to be a third-world country to the rest of the world, due to their massive supply of the otherworldly element vibranium (the same metal used to forge Captain America’s shield), they have managed to secretly become the worlds most advanced civilization.
The film is mostly confined to the endeavors of the Wakandan king as he juggles being the leader of a nation with being a badass crime fighting superhuman. The dilemma that T’challa is faced with throughout most of the film is the question of whether or not Wakanda should provide aid that they are more than capable of providing to those around the world that need it, or to continue to thrive amongst themselves while remaining hidden from the public eye like the ways of their ancestors before them.
Things get complicated when we are introduced to one of the most complex, yet complete and intimidating movie villains we have seen in a long time, Erik Killmonger (played by Michael B. Jordan). He arrives with a much more solid stance on what Wakanda should do with their power and plans to implement his ideals by force. It falls on The Black Panther to stop him.
I personally thought that Jordan played his role as Killmonger so well, it made it almost hard to root against him. Most Marvel movies you pretty much know the protagonist has it in them to defeat their respective villain, but in ‘The Black Panther’ there are moments where that notion is seriously in doubt. This, I believe, adds a whole new dimension to the film.
Also introduced in this movie is the character of T’challas sister, Shuri (played by Letitia Wright who some of you might recognize from the Black Museum episode of ‘Black Mirror’). In Marvel folklore, Shuri is said to have a greater scientific mind than Tony Stark. She operates as T’challa’s most trusted advisor and tech-specialist while also doubling as the films main source of comedic relief. Shuri, her brother T’challa, and the country of Wakanda not only play major roles in this movie but are also no doubt poised to play major roles in Marvel films to come.
So, believe the hype people because this movie is special. If you haven’t seen ‘The Black Panther’ yet I have just one question for you. What are you waiting for?