Black Panther was fantastic. Picking up from where we saw T’Challa last, in Civil War, It was refreshingly different for a Marvel movie, with emphasis on the African culture of Wakanda, its myth, and its people, as well as the breaking of racial and gender stereotypes, which I LOVED. Many movies and TV shows with main characters of color today usually have a plot focusing on racial tensions, a hot topic in current world politics. But Black Panther had none of that. The entire story was focused on Wakanda, its ruler, and the tensions coming from the aftermath of not only T’Chaka’s death, but also the revelation of N’Jadaka, Erik “Killmonger” Stevens, T’Challa’s first cousin and nemesis.
The worldbuilding was just amazing–the city of Wakanda is unique to the rest of the world as it is technologically advanced with vibranium, a meteorite the five African tribes fought over in the early years of the birth of Wakanda. And yet, the city is also steeped in tradition and the African cultural values, (which, in fact, reminds me of what I’m trying to accomplish in one of my WIP’s worldbuilding. The writer in me is much inspired).
The characters were just as epic as the place they lived in. The Dora Milaje, an all-female warrior force are super cool. N’Baku and his fierce tribe up north are fearsome architects. T’Challa’s little sister, Shuri is my new favorite MCU character. And Martin Freeman’s character actually kind of knows what he’s doing in this movie; Everett Ross plays a big part, and I am ever thankful.
Aside from Everett and Shuri, Killmonger was actually one of my favorite characters, with a well-developed arc and tragic story from his childhood up until his defeat. Marvel is not known for being faithful to their villains; none of their antagonists are as well-rounded or as interesting as their protagonists; this is why I was pleasantly surprised with the plot twist in Spiderman: Homecoming, and once I saw Black Panther, I realized they might be trying to improve that aspect of their characters. Killmonger has secrets that we don’t find out until later about who he really is, and his past makes his motives understandable.
As much as I liked T’Challa, a noble and good ruler of Wakanda with a mission, he simply did not have as much background as Killmonger. I hate to admit it, but I didn’t feel any regret or loss when he went down the falls, unless it was for the fate of Shuri, Nakia, and the rest of Wakanda.
Not to mention that the soundtrack was incredible. Since we’re talking about a movie solely based in Africa among African culture, the soundtrack reflected that with traditional roots in the orchestral score by Ludwig Göransson. It’s simply breathtaking, just like the beautiful visuals throughout the movie. The track “Wakanda” had me feeling all the feels.
Summed up, this movie not only satisfied the writer in me, but it was also a beautiful and fresh Marvel experience. I look forward to seeing T’Challa in Infinity War this May!
Have any of you guys seen Black Panther yet? If so, what did you think?