Black Panther: “Wakanda Forever” For Real

I recently saw Black Panther in theaters, so I thought to myself, ‘Why not make a blog-post-thing about it, Amanda?’ There’s no reason for me not to, right? (Right?)

I saw the movie waaaaaay later than I normally would. When a super hero movie comes out, I usually try to see the premiere. A premiere in my small town is basically just a seven o’clock showing in the evening with a longer line. However, when Black Panther came out, I was pet-sitting for my sister, so I could not abandon her gorgeous menagerie to see the first showing. And then further postponements occurred, and I saw it about two weeks after it originally came out.

Oh, well.

Anyways, I’m a huge comic book fan. I loved comic books before the movies made them successful. Even so, I have to admit that I’m suffering from slight Superhero Fatigue. There is no shortage of superhero content to dunk yourself into; a year can’t go by without a superhero getting their own movie. I love superheroes more than the average person, but there’s no denying that our summer movie selection is being dominated by them.

All I’m saying is that if you’re going to give me two superhero films a year, you should at least make them stand out from each other. I mean, Doctor Strange was basically Iron Man with magic. Come on, movie dudes. You’re not even trying.

Black Panther has answered my prayers. It was good. I’m officially jumping on the band wagon.

It felt so different from other Marvel superhero movies. Instead of watching a hapless man-child stumble his way to hero-dom by haltingly learning to use his powers for good, we got to see a man (a man man) settle the mantle of responsibility onto his shoulders in an ethical and reasonable manner. (Shout-out to all Halo fans who may be reading this.)

Prince T’Challa may have been following the same story path as Thor did in Thor, but T’Challa handled his rise to power with much more aplomb and grace than Thor. (For one thing, he wasn’t a whiny Norse god with an inflated ego.)

Every actor in that movie played their roles to perfection. My favorite characters were Shuri, T’Challa’s younger sister, and Erik Killmonger, the villain of the story. Shuri was a delight every time she was on the screen. I nearly split the seams of my stomach trying to hold in my laughter when she called Black Panther’s shoes his “sneakers.” (I have an obnoxiously loud laugh; I wanted to be kind to other moviegoers.)

And Killmonger was great! For having not that much screen time, he made his presence felt for even the shortest of moments. Michael B. Jordan played the abandoned prodigal son so well, I felt like I’d received a kick to my emotional lady balls. Hit me right in the feels, I’m telling you.

Let’s not forget the music! It’s been far too long since a movie’s soundtrack has caught my ear and it wasn’t made by John Williams, Hans Zimmer, or Michael Giacchino. Killmonger’s theme was really identifiable, but in my opinion, the best piece comes out during T’Challa’s visit to the ancestral plane, when he sees his father again. Whatever that track is called (I actually think it might be called “Ancestral Plane”), it’s a superb bit of music. Strings play a melody that is fit for the king T’Challa is.

SPOILER ALERT.

The movie ends happily, with T’Challa deciding to reverse Wakanda’s foriegn policy decisions of the past. Instead of remaining isolated in all of their glorious self-suffiiciency, Wakanda will now walk the path of gracious aid and attempt to help those who cannot help themselves.

It’s an extremely positive message of hope to the world. I left the theater felling buoyant as hell. A friend of mine was quick to point out, however, that if you really think about it, the ending to the movie is incredibly tragic.

“Why? I just saw an incredibly happy ending.”

“But it’s not real,” he told me. “There is no hidden technologically-advanced country in Africa that will rise up and help people.”

And he’s right. There is no Wakanda that is going to assist the beleaguered, downtrodden, and mistreated African-Americans of this, or any other, nation to rise above whatever horrible situations they find themselves in. Black Panther paints a beautiful picture of a hopeful future, but it’s based on the past creation of an imaginary place.

I think it’s important to remember that effort needs to go into making that future a reality. We shouldn’t just congratulate ourselves that a movie like this got made; we should focus on actually following the Golden Rule of treating other people how we would like to be treated ourselves, not just in words, but in thoughts and actions as well.

If you haven’t seen Black Panther yet, I highly recommend it.

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