The ‘Black Panther’ Experience

Look if you haven’t seen “Black Panther” yet then I don’t know what to tell you, besides GO SEE IT

by Noah Mitchell

The international box office numbers of over $1 billion should prove that everyone and their momma went to see that movie.

I even have first-hand experience after seeing it twice opening presidential weekend at Grand Lake Theater and AMC Bay Street.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many African American people in one place and both times, might I add, I saw at least five people from Skyline and other OUSD schools. And the screaming when OAKLAND came up was such a surreal feeling for everyone!

 

The Story (SPOILERS AHEAD)

Black Panther is about to be the newly crowned King T’Challa, while still mourning the death of his father King T’Chaka, a week after the events of 2016’s Captain America: Civil War.

When Ulysses Klaue, a vibranium stealing public enemy of the Wakandan nation, is found working with a mysterious new enemy it’s up to Black Panther, his family and surrounding tribes, as well as Agent Ross to defeat an unlikely enemy that may have closer ties to Wakanda than they think.

 

The Protagonist

T’Challa is really not a relatable protagonist on the surface. Let me explain. He loses his father and becomes the king of a highly technological east African country while also becoming it’s sworn protector who runs around in such a tech savvy cat suit that it would make Iron Man drool in amazement.

Now that’s what makes his character so great, is that despite all of that he is still able to relate to audiences. He wants to live up to his parents’ legacy, not disappoint the people he cares about the most; he strives to keep his loved ones safe, and continues to not only help his own people but humanity as well.

These qualities mixed in with a little humor and family drama, coupled with the tough decisions he has to make that challenges him to become a strong man as well as a strong king is so enticing for anyone to watch while rooting for T’Challa.

 

The Villain

Killmonger, portrayed by Michael B. Jordan, is one of if not the best villain Marvel has brought to the silver screen to date. You know you have a great antagonist to the main hero when the villain’s reasoning for conquest makes themself look like the protagonist of the film.

What I mean is Killmonger’s backstory of his father’s death at the hand of T’challa’s father (the original Black Panther) influences his motivations so much to fight for the African race as a whole all over the world and give them the tools to better themselves that Wakanda has been hoarding for so long.

Even though Killmonger chooses death and to forfeit his plan, in the end what he was fighting for ended up coming into fruition when T’Challa opened Wakandan’s resources to the UN. This shows that despite the way he chose to try and achieve it, there was good intentions behind his actions, good intentions he was willing to die for.

Supporting Characters

Black Panthers supporting characters all have a distinct roles add that helps to move the film forward.

Zuri’s backstory and eventual sacrifice to save T’Challa, General Ross proving his loyalty to Wakanda repeatedly, W’Kabi desperately trying to catch Klaue while dealing with his wife, M’Baku and his gorilla tribe aiding in the final battle, Okeye and the Dora Milaje and the sacrifices they are willing to make to protect their country, Nakia and her mission to help the rest of the world while dealing with her relationship with T’Challa, Shuri and her essential role in developing tech and supporting T’Challa, and just tons more!

There wasn’t a single character who shouldn’t have been on screen.

 

Final Thoughts & Criticisms

The visuals in this movie are stunning, even subtle touches like how Wakanda is usually bright and has more exposure, while the other locations in the world they travel to are dark and have low light to symbolize Wakanda keeping to themselves, and out of unruly world affairs.

The African costumes and rituals are odd to watch at first, but becomes extremely interesting as you begin to understand the depth how rooted they are in the culture.

The quote on quote “white” people in this movie have a nice balance of letting the African actors be prominent throughout the movie at the foreground (as it should be), but not only being in the movie as a butt of uncultured white people jokes or just plainly labeled as ‘colonizers.’

Some knit-picks I still have with the film are how Vibranium is basically a fix-all magic plot device; why did Zuri have to die if there was Vibranium that could have saved him; and wasn’t there a third Black Panther suit — used in Civil War and then discarded for Shuri’s revamp — that could have been used in the final battle against Killmonger?

I give it a 9/10 because with “Avengers: Infinity War” coming out this year and it already passing Black Panther’s presale records in like an hour, I’m positive Infinity War will be a 11/10.

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