Review: More than a movie, Black Panther makes its mark on Hollywood

Marvel Entertainment

Marisa Uddin, WTV Special Projects Producer

Whether you’re a social activist, a feminist, or just a movie fan, Black Panther checks all the boxes.The highly-anticipated movie came out in theaters on Thursday evening as the eighteenth movie apart of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

A mixture of humor, plot-twists, and tear-jerking scenes, Black Panther is a thrilling movie that will have audiences at the edge of their seat.

The story follows T’Challa, aka Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman), who is crowned King of Wakanda, a technologically advanced nation that’s fueled by a vast supply of the super-metal Vibranium, which Wakandans have protected for millennia by masking Wakanda as a third-world country.

Whether it’s facing Eric Killmonger, a threat to the throne, or figuring out what kind of king he is, T’Challa must balance his internal battles with the external all while trying to accomplish the ultimate goal of the Black Panther: protecting Wakanda.

As the first movie in history to star a black superhero with a black director and black-majority cast, Black Panther is a cultural phenomenon. Often movies in Hollywood portray black people as thugs or criminals, however, Black Panther showcases true black culture in a beautiful way.

By combining traditional African cultures with a futuristic setting and technology, audiences are able to better understand African royalty and just how rich black culture is. As a minority myself, watching other minorities on the big screen absolutely dominating their performance and creating an incredible story made everyone in the theater feel empowered, further emphasizing the importance of representation. Black children will grow up watching a movie where majority of the cast looks like them, inspiring generations of children to come.

Feminism is an underlying concept in the movie as well. King T’Challa has an elite group of female bodyguards and Wakandan special forces known as the Dora Milaje; they work to protect the King and fight his battles with him. Men are normally associated with strength and violence, so by going against the norm and having women take on this role, the Black Panther cast implements brings a 2018 version of feminism to Hollywood.

Shuri, T’Challa’s younger sister, is the brains behind Wakanda’s technological advancements and she designed the improved Black Panther suits. In previous Marvel movies, the most intelligent characters are normally played by men but having the operator of the most technologically advanced nation in the world be a woman is a big step for gender equality in the movie industry. The women of Black Panther go beyond simply just being eye-candy.

Black Panther is one of the best superhero movies not just because of the underlying messages of equality, but because of the storyline and production. There was never a moment where audiences will be bored during the movie with the effects realistic and providing an incredible view of what Wakanda would look like if it were a real country.

What was particularly memorable was Michael B. Jordan’s portrayal of Eric Killmonger. Marvel is known to have a history of villains who do not contribute much to the plot, but they really stepped up with Killmonger; as audiences are able to relate to him and his ideals more, even though they were a bit extreme at times. Nonetheless, performances by actors such as Jordan, Boseman, and Lupita Nyong’o, just to name a few, were marvelous and will definitely pave the way for future movies.

A jolt of a movie, Black Panther is a versatile film that captures the attention of all audiences. It’s safe to say the film lives up to the hype and is worth waiting in line for.