When a movie is well-anticipated, it is rare that it exceeds expectations in every category. However, “Black Panther” is everything I imagined and much more. “Black Panther” is a cultural jewel with its political commentary and spills of humor, embodying the phrase “for the culture.”
Initially, I was impressed with the visuals of this movie that made Wakanda realistic. In the movie, audiences were allowed a peek into the beautiful African utopia of Wakanda, untouched by racism and colonialism. Wakanda is also technologically advanced with futuristic structures. We see the advancements of this African country due to an abundance of vibranium, a glowing blue substance that is the world’s strongest metal. Vibranium brings the country power and riches, prompting Wakanda’s isolation from the rest of the world.
T’Challa, Black Panther and king of Wakanda, battles with the decision to remain isolated or right the country’s wrongs with innovation.
As an audience, we accompany T’Challa on the journey of finding himself as he tries to fit his father’s shoes as king and decide what’s best for Wakanda. T’Challa is a born warrior, but Chad Boseman brings a certain softness to the superhero with whom the audience can’t help but empathize. Boseman portrays this in many ways during this film as he jokes with his younger sister, Shuri, and confides in his old flame, Nakia. We can’t help but fall in love with the king of Wakanda.
The women of Wakanda also play vital roles in the authenticity of this film.Danai Gurira plays Okoye, the leader of Dora Milaje, an army of female warriors who face their battles fiercely. Okoye, the leader of the female warriors, supplies some the film’s best action scenes, especially when she snatches off her wig in the blink of an eye as she shows off her moves. Hollywood’s sweetheart Lupita Nyong’o plays Nakia, a Wakanda spy and T’Challa’s old flame. Nakia also accompanies Black Panther in fighting for Wakanda. Audiences can’t help but be inspired by her ability to take matters into her own hands. Last but not least, T’Challa’s little sister has smarts and humor that she often uses on her brother. The women of Wakanda are extremely powerful and serve as a great means of representation.
We even get a chance to see Daniel Kaluuya return from the sunken place as W’Kabi, a Wakandan warrior.
Representation is what makes this movie so monumental for people of color. To my surprise, the character I related to the most was Killmonger, played by Michael B. Jordan. I knew I would be somewhat infatuated with this character, but to my surprise, I was able to sympathize with his character, as well. Killmonger is villainous; however, it’s clear that there is a method to his madness. Killmonger’s methods are extreme and threatening, but I still sympathize with his pride, motives and desire to help his people.
The director, Ryan Coogler, does a great job of adding his own twist to this film, making it stand out from other Marvel films. Although this movie takes place mostly in Wakanda, the film still touches on issues in America such as the ill treatment of African-Americans. “Black Panther” adds a new, needed thread to the Marvel Universe.