Movie: Black Panther
Director: Ryan Coogler
Starring: Chadwick Boseman, Lupita Nyong’o
Stars: Four-and-a-half star
City Press review:
Finally. A comic-book superhero blockbuster where the black character is far more than a supporting sidekick or comic relief. Black Panther is a cinematic apology for the hardships the black community has suffered on an international level. In the past, black people have either been portrayed as thugs, drug dealers, slaves or prisoners. In this film, both the men and women are depicted as noble, brave, kind, educated and, most importantly, powerful.
In its own way, the film provides an answer to the lingering question regarding the continent of Africa. What would have happened if we’d never been colonised? Taking Black Panther’s fictional nation of Wakanda as an example, the answer is that our technology and level of intellect would not only have matched those of global superpowers such as the US or China, we as Africans would have surpassed the competition. In a nutshell, the movie boldly states that Africa is not poor, but poorly managed.
As a politically charged blockbuster, Black Panther explores the power struggle between two rightful heirs to a coveted throne. T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman), the Black Panther, intends to continue keeping Wakanda and its treasures hidden from the world. Meanwhile, his rival Erik Killmonger (Michael B Jordan) believes that the resources of Wakanda should be weaponised so they can use them to free their black brethren across the world from the oppression of white supremacy and police brutality.
The well-assembled cast that includes Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, Angela Bassett, Letitia Wright, Andy Serkis and Martin Freeman brings a much appreciated intensity to the film. Viewers will be glued to their seats by the breathtaking cinematography, African-inspired wardrobe and fast-paced action glazed over with the humour that has brought Marvel so much success. The movie should be particularly enjoyable for South African audiences as the creatives have used isiXhosa as the native tongue of Wakanda. Black Panther holds the record for the most presold tickets for any superhero movie in history, according to ticket sales website Fandango.
Black Panther cements itself as the 18th and final instalment in the Marvel saga, before the much-anticipated Avengers: Infinity War, expected later in the year. To put it into context within the Marvel cinematic universe:
At the beginning of Captain America: Civil War, the Winter Soldier kills the king of Wakanda T’Chaka, the father of T’Challa. In an act of reconciliation, the new king of Wakanda takes the Winter Soldier back to his home country to undo the effects of intense brainwashing he had suffered at the hands of the forces of Hydra. He does so using Wakanda’s advanced healthcare. Later on, it is speculated that part of the Infinity War will take place on the grasslands of Wakanda, with the fearsome T’Challa and his fierce army of lady warriors paired with a few Avengers ready to protect planet Earth.