Black Panther, 2018
Signed up the 30/03/2017
“Bury me in the ocean with my ancestors who jumped from ships, cause they knew death was better than bondage.”
Black is an afro-futuristic superhero film directed by auteur director Ryan Coogler (Creed & Fruitvale Station). The film stars Chadwick Bosman, Lupita Nyongo, Angela Basset, John Kani, Andy Serkis, Winston Duke, Letitia Wright, Forest Whitiker, Michael B Jordan, Danai Gurira, David Kaluuya & Martin Freeman. Luwig Gorranson handled the musical score whilst Rachel Morrison was in charge of cinematography.
One week after the fateful events of the civil war between the Avengers caused by the Sokovia Accords, T’Challa returns home to the futuristic African utopia of Wakanda in order to officially take over as king after his father’s assassination at the hands of Agent Zemo. T’Challa has no time to enjoy his coronation day however as a unprecedented threat has emerged in the form of an old enemy Ulyesses Klaue an unhinged arms-dealer who has allied himself with a mysterious mercenary known as Erik Killmonger a man who possesses a dark secret that could tear Wakanda apart. T’Challa & his comrades will be taken to the absolute limit as they battle numerous sinister foes so it’s up to the newly crowned king to prove that he is worthy of the mantle Black Panther held by countless warrior kings before him.
Black Panther is triumph of a film which has succeeded in realizing & all the greatest aspects of ancient African mythology & the concept of afro-futurism on screen giving us a delicious visual feast from the intricate tribal inspired costumes, the gorgeous African landscapes & the sprawling city of Birnin Zana capital of Wakanda. I have not seen such a masterclass in cinematic world building since the Lord of the Rings trilogy & the Star Wars Saga so it was wonderful to behold. Rachel Morrison’s cinematography really blew me away which shocked me considering how bland Marvel films are in this particular department (Marvel movies also have horrible color grading by the way) so I can say that Black Panther is hands down the best visual offering the Marvel cinematic universe has ever given us.
The characters are as beautiful & bold as the fantastic landscape around them. I especially loved the female characters in Black Panther who all showcased amazing resilience & strength in order to help T’Challa become a better king whether it’s Nakia helping with guiding T'Challa's moral compass (or distracting him with her good looks), Ramonda the queen mother giving him assurance in the face of uncertainty as only a mother can, Shuri with her unrivalled intellect or Okoye with her strong fighting spirit & wise council every one of these black goddesses completely slayed it. The character that blew me away the most though was Erik Killmonger the Wakandan exile. Marvel has always had weak villains that never really had a purpose other than to be the primary obstacle in the way of the hero’s eventually victory (with the exception of the Winter Soldier when he was still an agent of Hydra who I thought was an outstanding villain that took Steve Rodgers to the brink) but with Killmonger we get a truly nuanced villain who’s tragic back story & relatable motivations make him a simply irresistible character that I guarantee you will fall in love with. The best villains are those that put forth arguments that are often hard to argue against & quietly persuade the audience to root against the protagonist which is why Killmonger is such a great character who impacted meaningfully to the entire storyline instead of being a simple plot device.
What impressed me the most about this film is how it was not afraid to tackle all the most relevant issues affecting the entire black diaspora from Africa to North America & beyond. Coogler could’ve easily stuck to the factory line approach of most Marvel films but instead chose to break the mould by injecting this film with potent themes that all Africans can relate to, this film pulled no punches in addressing issues such as the evil impact of colonialism on the African continent, the divide between the black diaspora worldwide, institutional racism & neocolonialism. This movie is more than a typical Marvel movie as it tackles a lot of serious issues head on especially through the controversial philosophies of the antagonist Killmonger. It was also refreshing to witness Africans portrayed in a positive & powerful likeness which harked back to the proud history of countless ancient African kingdoms like Benin & Ghana. I loved how beautifully African culture was showcased throughout the film with aspects of ancestral spirituality & traditional practices shown as something to celebrated not be demonized.
Black Panther is a proudly African spectacle that I suggest you all watch with as many people as you can whether it’s your friends, your siblings or even strangers. I usually hate watching movies with big crowds but I will never forget watching Black Panther with a full crowd and the entire audience clapping & cheering as we witnessed this masterpiece unfolding before us. Black Panther is more than a movie it’s a MOVEMENT!
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