Photo courtesy of Netflix.com | The newest Marvel superhero film has ripped into the box office with sky-high expectations. Thus far, the film has seemed to live up to those hopes, and has been praised for it’s racially diverse cast.
A little more than a week in and Black Panther is close to becoming the highest grossing superhero movie of all time. In its second weekend the movie has reached 700 million in worldwide ticket sales. To offer a comparison, the successful film Guardians of the Galaxy, a Marvel Universe (MU) counterpart, generated $773 million in sales throughout its five-month run. So, what’s the big hype about Black Panther?
Black Panther is the kind of movie you need to watch at least three times to pick up on all of the details packed into the 135-minute runtime. The excitement that takes over the first time might cloud your ability to take notice of the small nuanced parallels with the world of Wakanda and our reality.
Black Panther is more than just a superhero movie. Yes, this the last setup for the highly anticipated Avengers: Infinity Wars that will be released in May this year, but it is also a critique on the modern racial climate in the world, specifically our country. Similar to other MU movies, Black Panther was originally a comic book series, and the comics, just as the movie, served as a platform to discuss pressing political issues of its time.
Marvel has a strong history of addressing current political issues within their comics and live action movies, and the Black Panther movie was no exception. Without giving too much plot away from the movie, the two main points addressed in this 2018 film are the history of slavery and colonization and their lasting effects on the inequality of Black people in America, as well as the stereotypical portrayal and understanding of African countries.
The director and writers of Black Panther weren’t being subtle in their addressing of these issues. The movie is full of one liners and quotes that hit the nail on the head of Black oppression in America. Several times throughout my first viewing of the movie I leaned back in my chair and thought, “Wow, they actually went there.” Or found myself snapping along to the words of the characters.
Yes, it is completely possible to enjoy this movie without regard for the underlying, at times screaming in your face, political agenda. The movie has all you’d want from a superhero movie and more. There’s conflict, drama, a badass supervillain, a satisfying but not all-encompassing romance and a superhero you cannot help but root for.
But Black Panther is purposed to be so much more than a casually enjoyed superhero film. In fact, most of MU is meant to be so much more than a casually enjoyed superhero film. Black Panther is the first one to be completely, 100-percent blunt about the topic it is addressing.
And for those of you who say, “It’s not that deep fam,” you obviously don’t understand the true purpose of this movie or comic books.
By: Abrena Rowe ~Op-Ed Editor~