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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Movie Review – Marvel delivers crowning glory

King+T%E2%80%99Challa+%28Chadwick+Boseman%29+faces+his+competitor+in+the+open+plains+of+the+fictional+Wakanda+in+the+newest+Marvel+film+in+its+cinematic+universe%2C+Black+Panther.
King T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) faces his competitor in the open plains of the fictional Wakanda in the newest Marvel film in its cinematic universe, Black Panther. Photo courtesy of Disney/Marvel Studios

By Jamil Oakford/managing editor

A strong king, a relatable villain and black women are the true stars of the visually awe-inducing Black Panther.

Prince T’Challa begins this film poised to take the throne as the next king of Wakanda after the untimely death of his father in Captain America: Civil War. For the remainder of the film, it balances its focus between a man struggling to understand what it means to be a good king and a man who’s willing to go to whatever lengths it takes to obtain the throne.
Black Panther’s strengths don’t lie on Chadwick Boseman’s shoulders alone with his portrayal of T’Challa. Its strengths lie in its ability to flesh out rich and vibrant characters and its raw, honest depiction of heavy topics like race relations.

For example, Michael B. Jordan’s Erik Killmonger is a beautifully fleshed out character. He is a villain not often depicted in a superhero movie. He is a formidable foe for T’Challa not just by brute strength but because his motivations are pure. His views are completely understandable and, in some ways, align more realistically with the American black experience than T’Challa’s. That’s what makes Killmonger such a thrill to watch on screen. The audience knows he has valid points to make. It’s just frightening to watch it play out with a protagonist like T’Challa.

Wakanda is perceived as a poor nation of farmers from the outside but hides an advanced African country. Shuri (Letitia Wright) is behind its futuristic technology.
Wakanda is perceived as a poor nation of farmers from the outside but hides an advanced African country. Shuri (Letitia Wright) is behind its futuristic technology. Photo courtesy of Disney/Marvel Studios

The three main female leads — Okoye, Nakia and Shuri — showcase a beautiful array of personalities: Okoye, a loyal and duty-bound woman, unmovable when it comes to her oath; Nakia, who sees beyond the throne, knows her place isn’t necessarily to be bound to a man and stuck in Wakanda though she loves T’Challa fiercely; and Shuri, a genius tech head who’s the brain behind many technological advancements in Wakanda but still very much a little sister and a bit of a jokester.

They all showcase such varying ideas and images of strength, which hopefully breaks the stereotypical, one-dimensional black female character shown in film.

When it comes to race, this movie rages. There is a strength in the dignified manner it takes to explore this topic. This film in particular doesn’t preach to the audience. It does something smarter. It depicts how the scars left behind by racism and injustice can mar and warp one’s good intentions to the point of villainy. The only thing separating T’Challa and Killmonger, at times, is perspective based on life experiences and worldview.

With all this being said, if one strips away the cultural significance, Black Panther is still a good movie. At its core, all the elements work well. The story moves at a good pace and never feels rushed. The characters are so likeable that it’s hard not to care about what happens to all of them, including the villain.

Don’t forget to stay after credits start rolling. There are two end credit scenes. You’re welcome.

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