Black Panther Movie Review

Black Panther Movie Review

Black Panther poster

Black Panther poster

Josh Freitag, Writer

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






Black Panther has proven itself worthy of consumers, as it soars past all expectations, grossing $897 million worldwide as of March 4, 2018. It is expected to pass one billion soon and become the highest grossing solo superhero movie worldwide. The massive success of Black Panther demonstrates one big idea that Hollywood is starting to catch onto. Diverse representation on the big screen pays out in the box office. Black Panther contains a predominantly black cast and despite being a superhero film, it isn’t afraid to grapple with real world issues such as isolationism, colonialism, and racism. As such, it is an important movie for all sorts of people to see and enjoy.
Taking place primarily in the fictional African nation of Wakanda, Black Panther focuses on T’Challa, its recently crowned monarch. Wakanda is a third world country of farmers and sheep herders, or so the rest of the world is led to believe. Secretly however, Wakanda is the most technologically advanced nation on the world, thanks to their sole control over the rare metal known as vibranium. With vibranium, the Wakandans have far surpassed the rest of the world, possessing superior medicine, transportation, weapons, and more. Wakanda has long been an isolated country, kept secret from the rest of the world. It is the duty of the king, titled the Black Panther, to protect Wakanda. In Black Panther, T’Challa, played by Chadwick Boseman, must decide as king what is best for his country. Past kings had kept Wakanda hidden from the outside world out of fear of war and having seen how the African nations all around them had been taken advantage of, their resources robbed. It is assumed that T’Challa will continue this tradition, but with the entrance of a new character, Wakanda’s future is put up for grabs.
Michael B. Jordan plays Erik Killmonger, an ex-U.S. black ops soldier who grew up in Oakland, California. The audience is shown in the first scene he appears that Killmonger is not afraid to question the status quo. As he admires African art in a British museum, he questions the curator “How do you think your ancestors got these? Do you think they paid a fair price? Or did they take it, like they took everything else?” (Black Panther). Starring opposite of Boseman’s titular hero, Jordan plays an anti-villain of sorts. Killmonger’s goal is to ‘liberate’ black people around the globe, whose mistreatment he blames on Wakanda’s willingness to remain hidden. Revealed to be T’Challa’s cousin, he seizes the throne in order to enact his plans of overthrowing governments around the world with Wakandan weapons. T’Challa, meanwhile, struggles to deal with the repercussions of his forefathers’ decisions of keeping Wakanda hidden. Killmonger’s cause is a righteous one, but the end does not justify the means. Thus, T’Challa defeats him in an epic superhero final boss battle over the future of the world.
Despite this cliché, the ending has somewhat of a twist with T’Challa’s realization of the validity of Killmonger’s views. Wakanda’s isolation has negatively impacted Africans as a whole. Killmonger makes T’Challa ask the question “what if?”. What if Wakanda had shared its technologies with the rest of Africa? What if they had stood up to white colonialism? In a way, Black Panther’s ‘villain’, Killmonger, succeeds. At the end of the movie, T’Challa decides to end Wakanda’s longstanding secrecy, announcing Wakanda to the U.N., and creating outreach centers for black communities around the world. The complexity in Black Panther’s villain and his aspirations makes the dynamic between the villain and hero anything but black and white.
For a superhero movie, Director Ryan Coogler threaded many relevant themes into his film. Wakanda is designed as the antithesis to imperialism and the white man’s burden. It is a highly civilized black nation that has never seen European influence. Wakandans are able to be highly advanced while still maintaining their culture. Coogler made sure to incorporate many aspects of native African culture including the characters’ clothes, language, and traditions. The black power is prevalent in Black Panther. The two white characters in the film are only in limited supporting roles and one of them is actually killed off. This is a reversal of past roles, where black characters, if included, were merely plot points to further the story of a white main character. Black Panther particularly portrays black women in powerful roles that are they not often seen playing on screen. Shuri, played by Letitia Wright, is the younger sister of T’Challa and a technological genius who is responsible for the Black Panther suit’s awesome capabilities. Okoye, played by Danai Gurira, is the leader of T’Challa’s personal guard, the Dora Milaje, a group of butt-kicking women warriors. 2017 gave little girls a white woman role model in the movie milestone, Wonder Woman, and it is only fitting that the year 2018 goes a step farther.
With representation and discussion of relevant ideas of the likes a superhero movie has never seen before, Marvel’s Black Panther is hoped to catalyze a change in the movie industry, and with its success in the box office, movie producers now have a cash incentive to represent diversity in theaters. A spectacle of visual effects, entertaining for all ages, and full of relevant themes to discuss with your family, Black Panther is worth every dollar spent.