Even reporter Halen Doughty went to the theater to see it, and she never watches movies.
I watch a lot of movies. It one of my favorite pastimes. I also studied some screenwriting in college. That being said, coupled with all the press that the recent film Black Panther is getting, I'd like to chime in.
First of all, the movie is great! It features action and humor. Even reporter Halen Doughty went to the theater to see it, and she never watches movies. But really, the film features a great cast that includes Chadwick Boseman as the Black Panther and Michael B. Jordan as Kilmonger. Forest Whitaker and Angela Bassett also have supporting roles. I could go on.
Okay, I will. Lupita Nyong'o from "Star Wars" and "12 Years a Slave" is in the movie. So is Daniel Kaluuya from "Get Out." Moreover, Tobagonian actor Winston Duke had all the funny lines. My favorite is when he and his men begin barking at Martin Freeman's character. Then he says, "I'll feed you to my children," followed by an uncomfortable silence before, "I'm only kidding. We're vegetarians."
The "Star Wars" similarities were there. The king and his council meet to discuss matters of the fictional country Wakanda similarly to the way the Jedi Council meets in the "Star Wars" series. Also, Wakandans use holographic technology when delivering messages. Not to mention they fly spaceships in and out of their secret world. I'm a Star Wars fan, so that was cool.
Earlier I spoke of all the funny lines, but the film didn't pull any punches with delivering hard lines. I was captivated, personally when near the end Kilmonger tells the Black Panther, "I'd rather die like my ancestors did when they jumped from the ships, rather than live in captivity." An extremely powerful line here is delivered at just the right moment in the film.
One of the particular things that invoked thought for me was a line delivered by Angela Bassett, who plays mother to the king. She says something like, "We can always make what we have better." The way it is used in the movie is sort of ironic because Wakanda is a far-advanced technological utopia, but I thought about the issue of blighted property in Ascension Parish being addressed in government on both sides of the river lately. It was a hopeful line about improving our own surroundings.
Moving on, there was some social media back and forth over the past two weeks about the Black Panther being the first superhero movie for African American children to look towards with admiration. A friend of mine pointed out that Blade was a black character. So was Spawn, from back in the 90s. Another friend pointed out Halle Berry as Catwoman.
Being the nerd that I am, I say sure while those movies were made starring Aftican Amercian actors and actresses those characters were all kind of sketchy superheroes. Sometimes they did questionable deeds. So perhaps the difference is that the Black Panther was the epitome of noble. Although it was admittedly odd that seemingly anyone could rule Wakanda if they could only beat up the king, the fights were noble and respectful. That is until Kilmonger showed up. But there will always be a supervillain in a Marvel comic book.
Or maybe the true controversy underlying the Black Panther is that the comic book was originally written in 1966 by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby at the height of the black power movement. That's in case anyone was curious.
Lastly, I will go back to the laurels of this film, thus far. I read today in the Chicago Tribune that it produced $235 million at the box office in its first four days. That marks the biggest President's Day opening in history. Next, it was said at the Oscars last night that someone could remember a time when a minority or female character couldn't hold up a blockbuster action film on their own, "since that time was just last year." "Wonder Woman" being of course the other film mentioned.
I guess if I'm going to wrap this up I'd just like to say I'm happy to witness this time. I enjoyed both "Wonder Woman" and "Black Panther" a great deal, and I'm looking forward to the continuation of the series with The Avengers and The Justice League.
If there was one thing I'd do differently, I would go see it in 3D.