Black Panther Scratches Out Competition

 Image courtesy of Marvel Studios/Walt Disney Pictures

Image courtesy of Marvel Studios/Walt Disney Pictures

The highly anticipated film of the year is finally here. When Captain America: Civil War premiered on May 6, 2016 revealing a Black Panther addition to the Marvel series, moviegoers anxiously awaited for its release on Feb. 16, 2018, and it has lived up to the hype. From the costumes, to the massive sets, the film is quite a visual experience. According to Forbes, Black Panther is now the third fastest grosser of all time, earning $400 million in just ten days.

Black Panther is one of very few super hero films where the minority is actually the majority. At least 85 percent of the cast was African American, which is very notable considering our social and political climate with heightened racial tensions. This film was also perfectly released in the middle of February, which is Black History month.The film’s release seemed to add to the sense of pride this February.

The film was action-packed, with an intriguing storyline that left the audience on the edge of their seats for the entire two hours. Director Ryan Coogler, also of Creed and Fruitvale Station, casted Chadwick Boseman as the protagonist and Michael B. Jordan as the antagonist, and each could not have been better fits for these roles. This was Coogler’s third film with Jordan as a lead character, and they seem to complement each other with their work.

Chadwick Boseman, who also played Jackie Robinson in the movie 42, gave our youth another hero to look up to. Boseman plays T'Challa, the king of the African nation of Wakanda and the new Black Panther. He delivers to the audience a powerful message: learning how to defend the safety of your community, rather than allowing someone else to thrive on the power they have over the people.

During a recent interview on ESPN's First Take, Boseman stated that this is "a sea change moment." He was able to be something bigger than just another super hero because of his ability to take current issues in this world and make them relevant to the film.

The movie takes place in what first appears as a third-world country to the rest of the world, but is actually a secret technological powerhouse in Africa called Wakanda. Only the people of the five African tribes are allowed in Wakanda. Although the villain and Jordan’s character, Erik Killmonger, was born in Oakland, Calif., he is the son of Prince N’Jobu, the original Black Panther's brother, and T'Challa cousin, allowing him to challenge the Black Panther (T’Challa) for his position as king of Wakanda.

Jordan called his journey as Erik Killmonger “liberating” in an interview with Sean Evans on Hot Ones. He trained himself for nine months by studying Heath Ledger’s role as The Joker in The Dark Knight. Killmonger had no family in the movie, so Jordan also made sure to seclude himself from the outside world.

This movie was overall inspirational, entertaining, and ended with a powerful message. This a movie you will probably want to watch more than once. In its typical fashion, Marvel did not disappoint. I, along with many others, am already looking forward for the next Black Panther to be here.