Black Panther pounces into audience’s hearts

Kasey Cross, Staff Writer

WARNING: This review contains many spoilers.

Superheroes have been around longer than some of us can remember. However, not many people look like the ultra-macho, “all-American” honorable hunk archetype, and that sometimes leads both adults and children to wonder; “Why don’t any of these guys look like me?” People who don’t fit into the cookie cutter of a superhero, often, (if they even get cast) are cast as sidekicks, damsels in distress, villains, and even comedic relief type characters.

Thankfully, the film industry is getting better, and has been producing so many heroes, of all kinds, for people to see themselves in. Black Panther is the perfect example, and a gigantic step in the right direction.

The Black Panther was introduced in 1966 in a Fantastic Four comic. It had its very own animated series on BET back in 2010, and was introduced in Captain America: Civil War in 2016, but this is the Black Panther’s first solo movie appearance. It is so far the third highest grossing release from Marvel.

I could go on for hours about how important this movie is for inclusivity reasons, but not only does it have amazing representation, it’s just all around a fantastic film. It covers so many interesting bases, it’s hard to remember that it’s even a superhero origin story. But at heart, Black Panther is the perfect mixture of hero fantasy, African pride, and complicated modern-day social issues.

The most standout part of this film, however, were the complex characters. The three characters of Shuri, (portrayed by Letitia Wright), Killmonger, (portrayed by Michael B. Jordan), and the Panther himself, T’Challa (portrayed by Chadwick Boseman) shined above the rest.

Shuri was the extremely lovable and even more intelligent sister of T’Challa. She was the comedic relief of the film, being the first to humble T’Challa with a little bit of friendly sibling ridicule. On her own, she is a cute, trend loving teen, and is also, according to Marvel, one of the smartest people on the planet. Wright took the character of the brilliant princess into such a fun direction, and it was a wonderful way to break up the tension of the film.

By far, the most conflicting part of this movie was the character of Killmonger. Killmonger had audiences questioning what really makes a villain. His character made the other elders of Wakanda consider modern day issues such as war refugees, starving and diseased third world countries and first world countries that don’t help as much as they could.

He gets drunk on power and tries to conquer the world with Wakanda’s riches, but also helps out those in need in the process. He is angry with Wakanda for keeping quiet when the other descendants and people of the African continent were suffering, just as he himself suffered after T’Challa’s father killed Killmonger’s father, and his own brother.

This begs the question; can you blame him? He had a completely justified reason for being angry at Wakanda and the world. His main argument was that they didn’t give back nearly enough. How is that villainous? His last line hit the hardest as far as revealing the man he truly was. “Bury me in the ocean with my ancestors that jumped from ships, because they knew death was better than bondage.” Not at all a villain, but a misunderstood hero. His character was meant to start a conversation, and that, it had achieved.

T’Challa himself was the true triumph of this movie. While still remaining humble, he knows who he is and how powerful he is. Boseman added a certain class to his character that I believe truly can’t be matched. He is a strong leader and proud warrior, but is still is a human. He sees Killmonger’s point of view, and eventually fulfills his wishes, by helping out the rest of the world, making sure there is never a forgotten child like him ever again. He’s a hero that many people can relate to, but more importantly, countless children of African descent are going to see him and think of how they could very well be just like him.

Black Panther is a fantastic film, let alone a superhero story. I not only recommend, but ask that you see this movie and understand its importance for both Hollywood and everyday life.