It’s finally here and it’s amazing.
Spoilers ahead. Stop reading now if you haven’t seen “Black Panther” yet. Seriously.
“Black Panther” opened this past weekend, and it’s already setting records. The film, headlined by Chadwick Boseman and Michael B. Jordan, pulled in a record 207.1 million dollars, making it the highest grossing February-release movie of all time. Additionally “Black Panther” ranked as the fifth-highest movie opening of all time. And it’s not just a money maker; people really seem to like the film. According to Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an average critic score of 8.2/10 and an average user rating of 4/5.
The film takes place after the events of “Captain America: Civil War” when T’Challa (Boseman) returns home to take up the mantel of king of Wakanda following the murder of his father. While in the early stages of his reign as king and his tenure as the Black Panther, Erik Killmonger (Jordan), a cousin he did not know about, challenges and takes Wakanda from the T’Challa. Eventually, T’Challa is able to grow more powerful and reclaim his thrown, securing a better future for Wakanda and the world.
The story line is pretty generic and the movie is missing some of the trade-mark Marvel super-action filled scenes. The film’s characters and message, however, carry the film to amazing new heights.
Killmonger and T’Challa play off each other and represent two sides of the same coin. Killmonger wants to better Wakanda by using its hidden power to take over the world and liberate black people. T’Challa wants to stick to tradition and keep Wakanda’s secrets safe from the damage the world would do. Both ideas seems to have merit and after winning, T-Challa decides to combine both by opening Wakanda to the world but doing it in a way that still keeps Wakanda in regulation of its powers.
Other standouts are Lupita Nyong’o as Nakia and Letitia Wright as Shuri. Nakia’s role as T’Challa’s love interest is secondary to her role as a Wakandan spy working around Africa to free girls from sexual slavery. Without Nakia’s strong will, determination and loyalty T’Challa would have never been able to mount his comeback. Wright plays Shuri, T’Challa’s genius sister. Without her inventions, T’Challa would have a hard-time completing any of his missions. Additionally, she is presented in a strong manner with absolutely no sexualizing.
This film is not just another Marvel film. For the first time ever, people of color—specifically African-Americans—have a real, successful superhero to look up to. Ben Shapiro can yell from his soapbox all he wants about Blade being the first black superhero, but the Blade films lacked the popularity of “Black Panther.” In a time when liking Marvel superheroes is cool again, African-American kids finally have a character that they can make a direct connection with. That’s something that every child deserves.
Some people will try and bring down the film because it isn’t like the traditional Superhero film. It doesn’t have all the classic large scale battle scenes and heavy focus on saving the world, but that’s what makes it so interesting. Instead of big-box action scenes we get refreshing characters who go through real growth and show real heart. There’s a focus on the issues that people of color have to deal with around the world which allows for even more of a personal connection.
No matter how you spin it, “Black Panther” is a homerun of a film. Everyone needs to see this movie…right now.
Amar Batra is a senior staff photographer and weekly columnist for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email firstname.lastname@example.org. He tweets at @amar_batra19.