Black Panther Movie Review
Even before it’s release, Black Panther was already breaking records! Marvel’s latest juggernaut broke Fandango’s presale ticket record for Marvel Cinematic Universe films within 24 hours of going on sale. Analysts also expect the film to have an opening weekend of nearly $130 million, but actual returns might be much higher. For comparison, The Avengers raked in $207 million during its opening weekend in 2012, making it the biggest opening weekend for a superhero movie. The film premiered in Los Angeles in January 2018 and will be released worldwide on February 16th. Based on a comic book of the same name, the film focuses on Black Panther T’Challa and his mission to avenge his father, T’Chaka’s, death and protect Wakanda, the fictional technologically advanced African country, from invaders. The film boasts a large slate of stars including Chadwick Boseman in the titular role, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, and Forest Whitaker.
The film’s first trailer premiered in June 2017 and since then, the public has been waiting anxiously for the feature presentation. There are hundreds of posts, memes, and thought pieces about the film circulating online and the current 100% Rotten Tomatoes score, just goes to show that black-led films are competitive and marketable in our society. As the Hollywood Reporter wrote, “the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is Wakanda”. Black Panther will hopefully be the beginning of a long history of films that portray multidimensional black characters. Peter Travers of Rolling Stone described the film as “an epic that doesn't walk, talk or kick ass like any other Marvel movie — an exhilarating triumph on every level from writing, directing, acting, production design, costumes, music, special effects to you name it. For children (and adults) of color who have longed forever to see a superhero who looks like them, Marvel's first black-superhero film is an answered prayer, a landmark adventure and a new film classic.”
Black Panther’s incredible fandom is a testament to what the film represents. For many, it’s more than just another superhero story, but has potential to be a cultural institution. It is the first superhero film to feature a predominantly African American cast and the only mainstream superhero film to be directed by a black man, Ryan Coogler. Coogler is known for his award-winning and critically acclaimed film, Fruitvale Station, as well as 2015’s Creed. Both films feature Michael B. Jordan, who will play the nefarious Erik Killmonger in Black Panther.
While we can’t predict how Black Panther will impact the future of superhero movies or the industry at large, we can be sure of its impact in the here and now. For many young people of color, this will be the first opportunity to see not only a superhero that looks like them, but a film full of melanin-abundant stars saving the world.