By Shauna Carlos
Published: February 21st, 2018
Whether it was the obsession with Marvel comics, the excitement to see a predominately African American cast, or the joy of watching some of our favorite actors and actresses take the lead in this film, “Black Panther” has to be the most anticipated movie of the year! On Thursday Feb. 15, “Black Panther” made $25 million in the box office from preview showings. Pictures and videos of people supporting the movie continue to go viral as we embark the film’s premiere weekend. With all of the excitement and hype surrounding the movie, we have to ask the inevitable question: Was it really worth it? I would have to say, absolutely!
“Black Panther” picks up from Captain America: Civil War, where T’Challa’s (Chadwick Boseman) father, T’Chaka (John Kani), is killed. With the throne empty, Wakanda, the fictional African nation where the film takes place, is in need of a new king. T’Challa rises to power and attracts a new enemy threatening his throne. Through conflict with T’Challa and Erik Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan) the beauty and strength of Wakanda and their people are illuminated. Through the use of vibranium, an indestructible metal, Wakanda is the most technologically advanced nation in the world. The catch however, is that it is all a secret. The debate on whether Wakanda should remain hidden from the world or use their resources to help people, drives the conflict further until there is only one king left alive.
There are so many things to love about this movie. For starters, the leading scientist, Shuri (Letitia Wright), and the best warrior of Wakanda, Okoye (Danai Gurira), are both women. The women portrayed in “Black Panther” embody intelligence, strength, and beauty. It is such a refreshing sight as supposed to the overdone damsel in distress or pretty girl in the background role. T’Challa’s greatest allies throughout the entire film were the Wakandan women. They play such a crucial role in the epic battle between T’Challa and Killmonger. Now more than ever, we are seeing how strong women truly are and the important roles they play in our day to day lives; personally, I am glad that such an emphasis was made in the movie.
In addition to all the strong female roles, the sense of pride and responsibility I got from watching the movie was the best part. Okoye made a joke about wearing a wig implying that it’s strange wearing someone else’s hair on her head, and I couldn’t help but to reflect on the natural hair journey so many African American women chose to embark on. For a long time, social media and other main stream media outlets tried to push a European standard of beauty (straight hair, lighter skin, etc.) but now we have a film where a woman of color embodied what it means to love being in her melanin rich skin and bald head because it was her own. No shame. The Wakandans were proud people. The mannerism of which they carried themselves and cherished their culture inspire me to do the same.
The actors and actresses truly brought the story of the Black Panther to life. This action-packed film had its audience at the edge of their seats and swimming in emotions at almost every turn. I would urge everyone to see this movie and reflect on how they were inspired in one way or the other. With the movie’s premiere falling on a four-day weekend, I have no doubt that Black Panther will continue to compete with the popular Marvel movies (Avengers, Spiderman and etc.) in the box office. This movie was definitely worth the hype.