May contain spoilers, read at your own risk. Black Panther was one of the most highly anticipated Marvel Studios films of this year, and the film is thick with intentional African accents. The film explores the story of T’Challa played by Chadwick Boseman, who takes on the role of King of Wakanda after the passing
May contain spoilers, read at your own risk.
Black Panther was one of the most highly anticipated Marvel Studios films of this year, and the film is thick with intentional African accents.
The film explores the story of T’Challa played by Chadwick Boseman, who takes on the role of King of Wakanda after the passing of his father, T’Chaka played by John Kani. The country of Wakanda disguises itself as a third-world country to protects its asset—vibranium; the rare metal that powers all of their high-tech advancements and livelihoods that they’ve hidden for thousands of years from the rest of the world. But with the technological advances of Wakanda needing to be portrayed, it isn’t hard to guess that the film was expensive to make.
The film itself cost a pricey $200 million to produce, but it made a whopping $25 million alone on its debut night—which is the largest grossing film of a February opener for a Thursday night preview and the second-largest preview gross for a Marvel film.
Yet, after just two weeks at the box office the movie has become one of the top 10 highest grossing Marvel films worldwide: making $304 million from overseas markets combined with $400 million domestic total, the movie has earned $704 million worldwide making it the tenth-highest grossing movie ever from Marvel Studios after surpassing Doctor Strange and Ant-Man.
This isn’t surprising as after seeing the film once many fans have taken to see it a second time. But what is it about this film that is so engrossing for Marvel fans and action-lovers alike?
This film took on a lot of “new” for Marvel. To portray the experience of Wakanda the film was created with a cast full of actors of African descent, headed by a director of African descent, and set in a fictional and highly advanced African country. Regalia, artwork and make up designs were each inspired by real African tribal traditions and appearance to also help bring the world to life.
Not only aesthetically pleasing, the film also utilized a lot of talent in the music to accompany the visual aspect. The Black Panther Album was masterminded by Kendrick Lamar while also featuring artists such as The Weeknd, SZA, 2 Chainz and Schoolboy Q, making the album an ambitious companion to the film. The album had the equivalent of over 130,000 sales in the U.S., just last week and holds eight songs on the Top 10 Billboard Track List with Lamar’s and SZA’s “All the Stars” leading the way at number nine.
One of the other gems within the films storyline happens to be villain. Surrounding the protagonist the T’Challa, Erik Killmonger, whose body is adorned in scarification marks for each of the people he has killed during his work as a black op, proves the theory that the best villains are those that could have been good. Michael B. Jordan’s portrayal of Killmonger is the first villain since Loki to steal some of the spotlight away as an antagonist, as his justified anger against the mistreatment of African people in history and continued colonialism seems justified. His sense of restoring justice by taking the technological advances of Wakanda and spreading them to the rest of the world and helping to restore the mistreatment of people of African origin is an effort for justice that is easy to see, but is misguided. If only his sense of justice was as little less harsh and more negotiable, he could have become an equal protagonist. His words and actions in the movie, especially at its beginning, were also some of the hardest hitting.
Although the audience for the film seems to veer onto the male side, the movie is full of female empowering moments. A strong cast of women took to portraying the warriors that help to watch T’Challa’s back; known as the Dora Milaje, the Adorned Ones. This fighting force is comprised solely of women and includes the acting power of Danai Gurira, who played Michonne from the Walking Dead, in her role as the warrior elite Okoye. Utilizing martial arts and spears, these women don shaved heads and are recruited from every sect of Wakanda to represent political queens loyal to the throne. The Black Panther also created a single group of top Dora Milaje and named them the Midnight Angels.
But as with every film, there is some backlash. Some fans took to Twitter to note that the Black Panther is one of the only Marvel heroes to not have “man” in his title – insinuating a sense of dehumanization on the creators part. However, the Black Panther is the only superhero with the responsibility of an entire nation, as T’Challa is not just a hero or an accidental super-human, he is a king.
As well, the onslaught of Twitter trolls claiming that “black movie-goers” were attacking them came around after the premier. However, none of the allegations were proved to be true, rather that the trolls were using abuse photos and fabricating stories.