“What happens now determines what happens to the rest of the world”
Black Panther a movie in so many ways utilize the genre to tell a story that is rich and expansive to actually stand tall enough as a stand-alone movie from the rest of the Marvel project but at the same time tells a relatable perspective upon the situation that we currently face in our society.
Director Ryan Coogler born in Oakland 1986, draws a lot of inspiration from the city, which if you realize is also the place where Eric Stevens A.K.A Eric Killmonger played by Michael B Jordan started his journey to the path of Revenge against the people that betrayed him.
Black Panther is a Marvel comics superhero created by Writer-editor Stan Lee and Writer-artist Jack Kirby. He is a hero and a king of the fictional nation of Wakanda, a nation that is far advanced from any other countries, located in East Africa, thanks to its possession and production of the rarest metal on earth called Vibranium. This material is used to create Black Panther iconic black suit with other advanced features. The journey speaks as we could see for T’Challa this is the road of a young prince taking the burden of the people of Wakanda, dabbling between the life of a king and a superhero ( we can see in the movie that T’Challa is confronted with the task of being the man that the people of Wakanda needs or a warrior who fights for justice). But of course, the movie shines not on the main character itself but the people that surround T’Challa, as if I am, to be honest like Batman, Black Panther truly shines when they interact with the interesting cast of characters, with their own unique drives and a rich background and character building that is built well by director Ryan Coogler.
Shuri played by Letitia Wright, Sister to now King T’Challa that has created a lot of buzzed around the media, a character that in the comics has donned the mantle Black Panther from time to time,and dare I say a character that outsmarts the like of Tony Stark Iron man; Nakia, Ex-lover of T’Challa, a spy who helps the outside world, standing for the oppressed, and questioned the hidden nature of Wakanda; Queen Ramonda, the wife of the previous king T’chanka and the mother of T’challa and Shuri played by Angela Bassett; and the Okoye played by Danai Gurira, the general of the Dora Milaje, the personal guard of black panther, a group of superior woman with a strong duty to protect the one who sits on top of the throne.
Black Panther successfully created a movie where the women are not the damsel in distress or is overshadowed by the male characters but more so, the women are portrayed as the backbone of the movie, The driving force of Wakanda not just the man but also the women, a letter for all the women watching the movie that the time is now for women to rise, equal to man, able to stand on their own will not because of love, or duty but their own will. “Would you kill me my love” W’kabi, “For Wakanda..No question”, Okoye. A strong words by Okoye that even out of the man she loves, she prioritize her duty, her love for Wakanda her home, Here we can see that Okoye, which I can say is one of the cast that has a strong presence shows, a strong women with cool action piece and a women not bound by love but her will to protect what is right.
Not only the supporting cast of characters that truly shines but also the main villain, Eric Killmonger a kid born and raised in Oakland turned mercenary who lives all of his life to fight for what he believes in. To stand with his people, to help the weak anyway possible. He came to Wakanda to have one goal in mind to use all of the resources they have to help his people. One of the most if not the best Marvel villain to date, we can even consider him more of an antagonist than a villain, he is the victim of Wakanda’s past mistakes. He also carries a burden, but unlike T’Challa he carries the weight of all the Minorities, the one who struggles to live in the world that we lived in. “ We can still heal you”, T’Challa, “ Why do you lock me up ?, Nah. Bury me in the ocean with my ancestors who jumped from ships, cause they knew that death is better than bondage”, Killmonger. This is some sort of reminder that, even within the confined place of Wakanda hidden from all of the worlds, we are the same, we come from the same ancestor, no matter where we are we can never forget our roots in the world.
At the end we see, T’Challa and Shuri stand at the exact same spot where it all begins, story-wise and scene wise, T’Challa instead of burying his father’s mistakes, face it and change it into something better. To build a bridge between the outside world of Wakanda, to share what they have to the world. To help the community around Oakland and the others, and it all begins with the appearance of the Talon, T’Challa’s so-called private jet, “Its the Bugatti Spaceship”, Oakland kids. With that, it is a small step of a new dawn, a message no matter how small or big the change is, it would make a difference. To share the world and show that Wakanda consists of multiple tribes, and with this, we could also create peace with the rest of the world to act as one, as a tribe.
The bottom line is, Black Panther is a representation of what our world could be, where everyone can work as one, a time where now women are as equal to man, where the minorities would be as equal as the others. Black Panther tackles this issue in a way where all of this can be achieved through an understanding not conflict but a peaceful solution that many can try to accomplish. Where even though superheroes like the Black Panther, Captain America, or Spiderman doesn’t exist, we could be that Hero of change where the world can act as one. “In times of crisis the wise build bridges, while the foolish build barriers, We must find a way to look after one another as if we were one single tribe”, T’Challa.
Words by: Adrian R
Header Image credited to: theconversation.com