Marvel’s latest addition to its cinematic multiverse has successfully met the expectations of its audiences and can leisurely retract its claws and curl up on the couch now that it’s conquered the box office with a whopping $21 million (US) in its opening weekend. But of course, this comes as no surprise does it? A celebration in every way, Black Panther is the must-see blockbuster for the coming weeks… until Deadpool and Infinity Wars hit.
The film tells the story of the young King of Wakanda coming to terms with his newly inherited role while simultaneously keeping his technologically super-advanced country a secret from the rest of the world, bringing Ulysses Klaue into custody for stealing a bite of their greatest resource: vibranium, and combating the challenge of an outsider with a desire for revenge who would have the peaceful nation rule the rest of the world.
In everyone’s eyes this was the movie that was going to change everything. It was the mainstream blockbuster that would bring progress and slash away at the inhibiting racist and sexist attitudes of society. It certainly does this to a point. Of course the most celebrated thing about the movie is its predominantly African-American cast –with the exception of two white males for ‘diversity’. Amongst the rich sea of coloured faces, broken up by beautiful and vibrant costumes that celebrate the various fashions and traditions of many countries and tribes, we have a number of strong female characters that outweigh the men. On top of this a fair portion of the film is spoken in various African languages, while the villain’s ulterior motive for domination stems from society’s racist and oppressive attitudes towards people of colour. Marvel’s pretty much got all bases covered.
But social commentary and racial agenda aside, Black Panther is just a really good film! Not only is it a celebration of racial diversity, it’s an absolute party of computer graphics and simulated wizardry. Visually it’s stunning. Everything from the vibrant costumes and makeup to the set design, art design, and special effects is an absolute knockout. The story is both poignant and moving with a number of messages about good and evil while simultaneously being a really lovely character journey. All the film’s characters are rich including the villain who –in another lifetime- might have made a good hero. Despite part of his agenda being a simple revenge plot, Erik Killmonger follows in the footsteps of Loki and Vulture as a relatable villain: not evil for the sake of being evil.
The film is also a fabulous celebration of genre being part James Bond spy movie, part dramatic character journey, large part blockbuster action movie, and part science fiction utopia. When you think about it, there’s even a little bit of Brigadoon happening.
If there’s one blockbuster you’re going to see before May, make it Black Panther.