Black Panther Rules Moviegoers’ Expectations
In a world where every film feels like a retread of the one before it, Black Panther has taken a life of its own. Following the film’s premiere at Dolby Theatre, buzz is vibrating out of Twitter like a blow off the titular character’s bulletproof armor. The film will not be available to the public at large until February 16th but several critics, many being POC, to give the movie high praise, even claiming it the best Marvel has put out yet. Special note was given to the women of the film such as the Dora Milaje, the Black Panther’s squad of female bodyguards/warriors with many saying that their portrayals of strong black females was a long-needed element in the superhero genre. People also praised the performance of Michael B. Jordan’s take on the film’s villain, Erik Killmonger which is particularly outstanding given most Marvel movie villains have been rather lackluster. The political themes of imperialism and identity were also mentioned.
Spinning out of the third Captain America movie, Black Panther features T’Challa, the hereditary ruler of the fictional nation of Wakanda. A mysterious and isolationist country, Wakanda is a technological and social near-paradise due to its natural resources including a rare herb that grants a person superhuman abilities and a metal called Vibranium that is near-unbreakable. Wakanda’s afrofuturist design in the film was yet another source of praise. Written by the likes of Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, and recently Ta-Nahisi Coates; the comic book superhero king has always been a strong exception to the typical great white hope present in superhero comics. Likewise, Marvel Studios hopes Black Panther will be a beacon of originality for a franchise that has felt by the numbers of late. It might have succeeded.