Black Panther review: Wakanda Forever


Jeromy Mackey, Staff Writer

Although Oscar buzz continues to mount, there is one movie upstaging the biggest night in Hollywood.

Marvel’s Black Panther is the studio’s most commercially and critically successful film they have ever produced. With a Rotten Tomatoes score of 97 percent and a Metacritc aggregate of 88/100, Black Panther is the highest rated movie to be produced by Marvel.

It also has the second most successful domestic four day opening at the box office ever at $242 million, second only to The Force Awakens. As of this writing, the movie has grossed over $700 million worldwide, and is still obliterating the competition in ticket sales.

The movie distinguishes itself from its predecessors in many ways.

First, the studio made all the right choices in giving this film to gifted director Ryan Coogler. A major studio has finally realized that a movie about a black superhero and celebrating Afrofuturistic culture should be produced by an almost entirely black crew and cast.

The passion and authenticity of creating and expressing the fictional nation of Wakanda, a nation where black men and women are at the heights of innovation and technology, is apparent throughout the entire film. Hopefully the many successes of this film will reveal to the the other major publishers that authentic black cinema is not only wanted, but desperately needed in the mainstream. Already viral videos of black celebrities, politicians, athletes and fans doing the Wakandan salute are being spread across the internet.

No longer will children desiring an African American superhero to look up to have to settle for weak supporting roles like Falcon and War Machine. They have the future of the genre itself to be inspired by, as no superhero thus far has had the emotional breadth as King T’Challa.

Second, we finally have a solution to the infamous Marvel villain curse in Michael B. Jordan’s incredible performance as Killmonger, an outsider with a mysterious vendetta against the kings of Wakanda.

Not only is Killmonger the first good Marvel villain since Loki in The Avengers, he is one of the most sympathetic in an important way. He represents the most extreme solution to the real problem of global black disempowerment.

No one approves of his methods, but his motivations bring many real and relevant issues to everyone contributing to the $700 million global gross. He’s neither preach-y nor condescending; he simply represents the rage and frustrations that so many people have rightfully felt in the face of systemic racial oppression.

This movie exceeds the expectations critics and viewers have based on the usually shallow but entertaining previous Marvel films.

It gave us entertainment as well, but didn’t falter on its political and emotional scope. It’s the boldest and brightest superhero film yet, and has become the new industry standard.

As the veterans of the MCU such as Captain America and Iron Man slowly begin to wane their involvement, a new king has stepped up to take their place. In the hands of Chadwick Boseman and King T’Challa, the ever-popular genre has been refreshed and remolded forever.

With fresh faces and a heightened expectation for these films, the future of the studio may just exceed its incredible past. Wakanda Forever.