My family and I made it to see Black Panther. This was the first time it was actually hard to get in to a movie for us. The first theater we made it to sold out just after we got there, and had to hit up another theater in the next city over.
This was my first clue to what we were about to see.
I knew Black Panther was going to be a great movie. Every review has pretty much been positive, the trailers looked amazing, and it’s a Marvel movie. Marvel movies are awesome. It’s apparently a law. (Alright, some aren’t awesome, but they’re almost universally good, generally)
Black Panther continues that tradition. Great action scenes, awesome special effects, and really a good fun time. Marvels humor is on full display throughout the movie. Not as much as with Thor: Ragnarok maybe more like with SpiderMan: HomeComing. Sprinkled throughout the movie, but not trying to be an action-comedy but simply working to lighten the mood.
Basically if you’re looking for classic Marvel style movie, you should go and see Black Panther. But frankly that’s not all there is to it.
There’s more to Black Panther, and I”d be remiss to not address it. And that’s race.
As a straight, white male it’s not hard to find representation in a movie. Essentially I can go to a movie section, point randomly, and more than likely I’ll pick out a movie with a straight white male lead. So I recognize the importance of a movie with a (nearly) all-black cast. (There are 2 named white characters, and they are pretty much side characters). Black Panther address race issues throughout, sometimes subtly, sometimes not so much. A Wakandan spy points out that the very technologically advanced Wakandans could be doing more to help repressed black people the world over. Interestingly the main villain of the movie, Killmonger (I love Marvel, but seriously Killmonger? Someone wasn’t trying very hard on name day. Also Killgrave is another Marvel villain. Also not trying hard that day) has the same motivation.
Black Panther celebrates and revels in African Culture, characters are in African dress, drum beats punctuate their rituals, dances, and chants which are on full display. I’m hard-pressed to think of any other movie that celebrates African culture in the same way. And certainly no major blockbusters would.
I loved this movie. It’s a great action comic movie with good comedic timing. It brings more depth to King T’Challa, the Black Panther, gives us more to see of Wakanda, and helps to hold us over until Avengers: Infinity War comes out.
But more then that it gives more representation for people who don’t normally get it. I love seeing more of this in movies. Be it Finn in Star Wars, Captain Gergiou and Specialst Burnham in Star Trek: Discovery and now T’Challa and the entire cast of Black Panther. It can only help for people to see people of color in postivie rolls. I don’t need more representation in media, but my friends who are POC, my wife who is a POC, and my children who are bi-racial all deserve that same experience I’ve grown up with. Everyone deserves that same experience.
Great awesome movies like Black Panther are great ways to begin that. I for one, am hoping for more. Not just for my friends and family, but for everyone and even for me. I can only benefit from learning more about the cultures in our world, and in my own backyard.
Bottom line, go see Black Panther. We plan to go again.
A few notable lines from the movie, I wish I could better incorporate them into the review, but I’m trying to stay away from spoilers, and nothing comes to mind. But they help to encapsulate some of the issues and themes of the movie.
“The sun will never set on the Wakandan Empire.”
“We can take them over and rule them the right way.” “Don’t sneak up on me like that white colonizer.” “Oh good, another broken white boy for me to fix.” “In times of troubles, the wise build bridges and the foolish build walls.”