By Gabrielle Smallwood
“Black Panther” is named to be Marvel Studios’ best superhero movie to date. Director Ryan Coogler embraced the diversity and representation that was needed in the industry. A record-setting box office tells Hollywood that an all-black casted superhero movie was long overdue, breaking records set by 18 previous Marvel movies featuring a predominantly white cast.
“Black Panther” set a box office record. The movie earned an estimate of $202 million in North America alone and is expected to surpass $235 million for the four-day weekend, making it the fifth largest movie opening of all time.
“Black Panther” continues from the aftermath of “Captain America: Civil War,” where viewers were introduced to Prince T’Challa and his super alter ego, the Black Panther. T’Challa, played by Chadwick Boseman, returns to the country of Wakanda, where he will become king in the wake of his father’s death.
Though Wakanda isn’t a real place, on the surface it mimics an African country, with technological advancements hidden from the rest of the world. A new villain emerges named Erik Killmonger, played by Michael B. Jordan (also the star of Coogler’s films “Fruitvale Station” and “Creed”), and he wants nothing more than to shake up the world.
As a former United States military operator, Killmonger has the greed for not only Vibranium, Wakanda’s main power resource, but also control. It doesn’t help that he has the blood right to battle for the throne.
Without spoiling much of the movie, T’Challa is stuck between a rock and a hard place. On one hand, he wants to protect his country by ignoring the outside world, while other Wakandans want to seek retribution for years of injustice, using their country’s advanced tech. Supporting T’Challa on his journey is a group of amazing, action-packed women.
His right-hand is General Okoye (Danai Gurira), the head of Dora Milaje. It doesn’t take much for Okoye to showcase her strength and loyalty throughout the movie, with her long spear and keen fighting abilities. Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o), is a former love interest and a Wakandan spy, who is sent on missions around the world. She is often invested in helping those in need, despite her duties as a War Dog. Letitia Wright brings a comedic aspect to the movie as T’Challa’s little sister Shuri, who spends time building armor and weapons for the Black Panther. Shuri is the Princess of Wakanda, and leader/tech genius of the Wakandan Design Group.
Forest Whitaker and Angela Bassett add a respectively simple touch to the movie as a spiritual guru and the royal mother, the Queen of Wakanda. Strong performances are portrayed in “Black Panther.” You didn’t solely depend on T’Challa for the movie, as each character gave their best to entertain. And entertain they did.
If you haven’t seen “Black Panther” yet, run to your nearest movie theatre to watch this amazing film. The message of empathy for everyone’s struggles is just as important as the representation in the movie. When you do watch, make sure to stay seated even after the credits, this isn’t the last of “Black Panther.”