Film Review: Black Panther

Marvel Studios' BLACK PANTHER..T'Challa/Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman)..Photo: Matt Kennedy..©Marvel Studios 2018

Black Panther is a big budget superhero film written and directed by Ryan Coogler and actor Michael B. Jordan. Black Panther is the story of the superhero king of Wakanda, an isolated but wealthy African nation that hides its existence. Through the story, the Black Panther is confronted with a question: should Wakanda stay hidden or fight to help Black people worldwide? Black Panther, like Coogler and Johnson’s other films, addresses the oppression Black people face in this society. These issues rarely appear in a superhero movie, let alone in one of the highest grossing movies of all time!

Black Panther certainly shares many defects of superhero movies – macho characters, violence, implausible and unrealistic elements. But to imagine a society like Wakanda is to imagine Black life in a society without the legacy of slavery and the daily reality of racism. This is the powerful, provocative message of Black Panther: it asks us to imagine life for Black people without racism, and that fighting Black oppression in the world is a goal worthy of a superhero, who is after all just a stand-in for our own wishes and dreams.