Black Panther was not just another superhero movie. Instead of the omnipotent hero swooping in and saving the day, this movie covers the political struggle of a technologically advanced hidden African nation (Wakanda) unsure whether they should share their advanced technology with the rest of the world. This uncertainty drew lines in the sand within Wakanda, inevitably leading to a coup led by one of the better villains in a superhero movie in my opinion, Erik Killmonger, played by Michael B. Jordan. Besides some of the dialogue, I really loved the movie and some of the things they did, which I will talk about in this article.
What They Did Right
This movie did a great job representing minorities in positions of power. Many African cultures were represented in Black Panther and the tribes even spoke real African dialects. The vast majority of the movie's cast were African American which is extremely important. Before this movie there had not been a superhero movie with an African American as the hero. This is important because it gives young minorities someone to look up to who looks like them.
Strong Female Roles
Black Panther also featured a slew of powerful female roles, namely the Dora Milaje, King T'Challa's female body guards who are not to be messed with. My personal favorite character, Okoye, is a spear wielding bad-ass who will fight for Wakanda until death. Joining her was Shuri, the brilliant younger sister of King T'Challa, who is a master at manipulating vibranium to advance Wakanda. Characters like Okoye and the Black Panther give groups previously underrepresented in the superhero realm someone to look up to and realize they can be whatever they want no matter their skin color or gender.
What I Didn't Like
There were few things I did not like in this film. Most were minute details but I thought Michael B. Jordan overacted at times. I also thought the romance between W'Kabi and Okoye was not handled well because they had not talked at all about the coup going on until it was time for them to fight each other. It was almost as if I had forgotten that they were romantically involved because of the rarity of scenes referencing it. I just thought it would make sense for them to talk about it before the very end of the battle, but I did read there were scenes involving the two characters that were later cut from the film. Those were pretty much all I had for complaints after I walked out of the movie theater.
The movies main super villain is the ex-military killing machine, Erik Killmonger. He seeks vengeance after his father, who is the brother of the former king and T'Challa's father, was betrayed and struck down for planning to share the secrets of vibranium with the world. I loved the character and what he represents in the normal African American kid growing up in a rough area who has that chip on his shoulder, fighting for survival since day one. Besides a few lines I found corny, including his "Hey Auntie" line, I really loved Michael B. Jordan's portrayal of Erik Killmonger in this movie.
My favorite character as mentioned above was Okoye. She shows off her combat skills and her proficiency with a spear often throughout the film. My favorite scene was when she threw her spear in front of a car, stopping it in its tracks. She is a fierce warrior which I thought was great. I particularly liked the fighting scenes involving her. Okoye is a member of the Wakandan Royal Guard and plays a major role in the film as King T'Challa's right hand (wo)man. Her relationship with W'Kabi helps to put an end to the conflict at the end of the film.
I really loved the soundtrack to this movie. The Black Panther album features big names in the hip hop industry right now including Kendrick Lamar, The Weeknd, and SZA. The album mixes modern rap styles with African influence and each song that came on during the movie fit in perfectly in my opinion. This album is not only great as a movie soundtrack but I found myself listening to it after the fact as well. My personal favorite song on the album is Big Shot with Kendrick Lamar and Travis Scott. I would strongly urge any hip hop fans to check this album out.
Spotify Link To Black Panther Album
It is hard to write an article about Black Panther without mentioning the accolades it has achieved, including being the highest grossing film from a black director. It is currently nominated for fourteen Saturn Awards including Best Director, Best Comic-to-Film Motion Picture, and Best Special Effects. It is no surprise all of the records shattered by Black Panther as the movie really was a roller coaster of emotions. I am sure Black Panther will only continue to break records in the future. It was only recently dethroned in box office earnings after being on top for five straight weeks by Pacific Rim Uprising.
I was blown away by the Black Panther movie when I first saw it in theaters. The movie had a very positive meaning for minorities paired with a great story and awesome hero. I would recommend anyone to see this movie and listen to the soundtrack and hope more movies make steps to be more like this one.