Black Panther: My New Favorite Superhero

Last Updated on

343 views

Wakanda Forever

Alexis Gardner | agardner5@radford.edu 

Do you remember what you were doing on Feb. 15 at 6:34 p.m.?

I do.

I was standing in line with my friends waiting to see the highly anticipated Marvel movie, Black Panther.

I am a huge fan of the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe), and I have been counting down the days until Black Panther premiered.

If you have not heard the reports, Black Panther is on its way to outselling other superhero movies in advance ticket sales, according to a report by CNN. Moreover, there’s a reason why that is happening.

This movie was astonishing, a 10/10 would recommend. It was so good that I had to see it twice.

It’s the way it represented black people and painted them in a positive light, that is having people rushing to the theaters and buying tickets in advance to celebrate black culture.

Honestly, I would’ve seen it more than two times, but you know broke jobless college student over here.

So, I am not going to do a formal review of the movie, but instead my opinion of it. Pretty much, I will be breaking down my favorite parts/aspects of the film and why they are.

*Disclaimer: This is not a review but my opinion of the movie. From here on out this article does contain spoilers, so you have been warned. I am black, and that does affect the opinions and views I have*

First, I just want to talk about the female empowerment featured throughout the film.

If there’s something I love, it is a strong female role, and this movie not only gave us one strong female character but multiple. Not only that, they were strong black females.

Yas.

A lot of the women were fighters, and they were out there in battle. Many of the women were also bald with designs on their head, and I liked that because as black women we are always pressured to have long straight hair, or if we wear our natural hair we are told that it is nappy and ugly.

For women in general, society makes it seem like we need to have hair to be seen as beautiful. Well not all, but many of the women were bald or didn’t have much hair, and they were beautiful and fierce.

One of my favorite scenes was when Okoye – who is the head of a special forces group – was in the casino with Nakia and T’Challa, and they are all fighting and not only were the women kicking butt, but Okoye was wearing a wig because she was supposed to be undercover. However, then she just throws it off and starts going in on everyone with her spear. A queen!

Next, I want to talk about Erik Stevens aka Killmonger, who was the antagonist of the movie. I just found it interesting how he was the most ‘woke’ in the movie.

Being woke is a term that’s used a lot these days, and usually, it is describing someone who knows what is going on politically and aware of the social injustices in the world.

However, according to Urban Dictionary, being woke is, “a state of perceived intellectual superiority one gains by reading The Huffington Post.”

So how was Killmonger woke in my definition?

First, he makes a comment towards a museum curator, who is white, about how her people are used to taking things that don’t belong to them, just like the earlier days.

Then, when Killmonger was talking to T’Challa about sharing all the vibranium (which is used to make Captain Americas shield and Black Panthers suit) with blacks in the U.S. T’Challa responded by saying ‘those aren’t our people,’ in which Killmonger responded by asking ‘didn’t we all come from this continent (Africa)? So aren’t we all the same?

Many people like to say that Black Panther is just a movie, or it is just something based off a comic, and that may be true, but that does not change the truth behind whats said in the movie and what it represents.

We all do come from the motherland of Africa, so we should all try to help each other and be more accepting of each other. There’s always this debate of light skins vs. dark skins, and which one is better, but in reality, we are all the same. Moreover, we should all try to come together as a community instead of tearing each other down and trying to pin one against the other.

Lastly, right before choosing to die, Killmonger said, “bury me in the ocean with my ancestors who jumped from ships, cause they knew death was better than bondage,” and like I said this might just be a movie, but some of the lines they said were deep. That one sentence had a lot of meaning and truth behind it, that resonated with me.

Is life worth living if it is not really your life and there’s no freedom to do what you want? To make your own choices?

Moving on to one of the other things I loved about this movie – his sister. I loved T’Challa’s sister Shuri for multiple reasons. From their very first scene together, they had a brother-sister relationship that was so relatable; I felt like we were the same person.

I mean no, my brother is not a superhero, and no, I am not this genius who can design all this advanced technology. However, the way they acted around each other reminded me of the way my brother and I are around each other. We joke around a lot, and we always tease each other, but at the end of the day, we still have each other’s back no matter what.

Nevertheless, other than the relatable brother-sister relationship between Shuri and T’Challa, Shuri was just another example of a hard-core, intelligent, strong, black female character. She is only 16-years-old, and she is in charge of all of the designs and technology in Wakanda.

She designed the Black Panther suit and not only made one but two different kinds of them. She also has a passion for what she does, and you can see it in how excited Shuri gets when talking about her new designs or the upgrades that she makes to them, like when she was explaining how the train system works to Agent Ross.

She was honestly so inspiring to me, and I hope that little black girls will think the same thing. Representation seriously matters and seeing a smart, beautiful black woman on a big screen like that can inspire and give hope to so many other young black girls, and that is what’s important.

Finally, I want to talk about Wakanda, which is the nation in Africa where most of the movie takes place. I would first like to say how annoying it was to see posts on social media before Black Panther came out, saying things like, “it is impossible for something like that to ever exist because it is too technologically advanced and it could never happen.”

My first complaint about statements like that is it makes it seem like black people are not smart enough to have this kind of technology and we always have to be dependent on the white man to make it in this world. I mean yes, it is a movie, but it is what statements like that represent.

My second problem with a statement like that is no one questions Asgard, where Thor is from. No one seems to make a big deal about this man living on an entirely different planet, who has a magic hammer, with a rainbow bridge that links the nine realms – which is also fake may I add. Moreover, I will tell you why.

It is because this world still sees blacks as people who are not smart and aren’t able to provide for themselves without the help of others. That is just my opinion though, *Kanye shrug.*

However, Wakanda was beautiful. The scenery was breathtaking, the cinematography magnificent, and the respect that was put on my culture’s name. Marvel knew what they were doing by hiring a black director for this movie.

The small jokes that were made, the authenticity of the representation of the culture, everything was spot on. The African drums in the background for half of the scenes and the clothes everyone were wearing was another one of my favorite parts. I love how blacks and Africans were painted in a strong, independent, and powerful picture.

Lastly, with all of that said, Black Panther is my new favorite superhero. *Drops mic.*

Photo Credit (movies.disney.com)