Black Panther Review


“WAKANDA FOREVER!” Whether you are a Marvel fan or someone aching for representation in the movie industry, Black Panther will not fail to disappoint you.

The movie centers around T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman), a prince from the fictional African country of Wakanda who must learn to take over his country after his father’s death. Meanwhile, he must also defend his country’s supply of vibranium (the most powerful material in the Marvel Cinematic Universe) from people who could corrupt its power.

In all honesty, the movie’s premise was not exactly unique. Instead, its originality was centered in its unabashed celebration of black culture (with its costume design inspired by different African cultures and its soundtrack) and its deep political undertones.

Aside from its visually stunning sets and landscapes, one of the main aspects of the movie that caught my eye was the casting of dark-skinned actors to play the protagonists. Especially from an industry that casts mostly light skinned actors to fit its botched perspective of the population, it is especially refreshing to see seeing an entire movie full of dark-skinned actors playing lead roles.

I especially enjoyed the diversity in the roles black women played in aiding T’Challa. T’Challa would have gotten nowhere without the help of his extraordinarily intelligent sister, Shuri (Letitia Wright), who built his suit, his badass yet compassionate ex-girlfriend Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o), or his loyal general Okoye (Danai Gurira).

In addition, the film diminishes the roles often tied to black female characters in other movies. Not once does the film succumb to tropes such as the “white savior” or depict strong black women as aggressive or belligerent. (Honorable mention: Shuri calls the one good white character in the movie a “colonizer.”) In addition, the film’s central love interest is portrayed as deserving of love rather than just a strong independent woman.

Unlike other Marvel movies, Black Panther presents a nuanced interpretation of right and wrong by contrasting the values of T’Challa and his enemy Erik Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan). The distinction between their intentions is one of interpretation of two correct courses of action, presenting a realistic view of both sides as good.

T’Challa has intentions to protect his people as leaders do. Meanwhile, Killmonger wants to weaponize Wakanda’s powerful vibranium to liberate black people from their oppressors in other countries.

Even though Killmonger’s execution of his goals are flawed (he wants to take over the world), I often found myself thinking that his intentions were right. He brings up his anti-colonialist sentiments and prevalent issues such as police brutality.

The minor difference between the two characters emphasizes the strong political message behind the plotline. It presents questions regarding the duty of the privileged to help those in need. It highlights issues such as the struggle of black people in non-black majority countries.

Whether you want to watch a fun movie with interesting comedy or a film containing poignant social commentary, Black Panther is definitely a movie you should watch.