By: El Broide
The Black Panther hype is real – that is undeniable. The official trailers have been met with rave reviews and the film beat Captain America: Civil War as the Marvel film that sold the most pre-booked tickets than any other in history. After getting a chance to view the film earlier this week, I can confirm that the film is deserving of all the hype and more.
After the events of Captain America: Civil War, King T’Challa returns home to the reclusive, technologically advanced African nation of Wakanda to serve as his country’s new leader. However, T’Challa soon finds that he is challenged for the throne from factions within his own country. When two foes conspire to destroy Wakanda, the hero known as Black Panther must team up with C.I.A. agent Everett K. Ross and members of the Dora Milaje, Wakandan special forces, to prevent Wakanda from being dragged into a world war.
Black Panther is the first superhero movie to feature a predominantly black cast – and the film couldn’t come at a better time. In a time where black talent is still incredibly overlooked in film (remember Jada Pinkett-Smith famously called out the Oscars for the lack of diversity back in 2016) this is a not-so-subtle reminder that black actors, African stories and the importance of diversity in Hollywood and around the world is important and should be celebrated.
The film isn’t your typical Avengers-type superhero movie. Although Marvel has really stepped up it’s game over the past few years, those films seem to follow a similar recipe. Black Panther, on the other hand, is incredibly refreshing. The story is incredibly strong. Because the Black Panther is a superhero many are unfamiliar with, a strong yet clear origin story was needed. This film explains everything about the country of Wakanda and where Black Panther stems from but still has a modern-day, explosive plot. Chadwick Boseman is the perfect actor to portray the character and the casting division did a superb job casting the remainder of the cast. I must give a special mention to the impressive female supporting cast. Letitia Wright who played Shuri – Black Panther’s sister, was a treat to watch. Not only did her character add some humour to the film but she is a phenomenal actress who delivered an exceptional performance. She is certainly one to watch. Lupita Nyong’o gave one of her best performances to date, Danai Gurira blew me away with her ability to capture the strength and loyalty of African women while Angela Bassett continued to perfectly execute every role she is given.
The rest of the cast captivate the essence of Africa and its people beautifully. The film featured some incredibly talented South African actors (Atandwa Kani, John Kani and Connie Chiume) which showcased the strength and talent African performers have. South African music also sticks its head out throughout the film. Expect to hear Babes Wodumo’s smash hit Wololo as well as Bhizar’s Qobisiqolo in the film as well as an array of new original music created specifically for the film’s soundtrack from the likes of Sjava, Saudi and more. If you speak isiXhosa, you’ll be happy to know that the language features in the film – another element that makes this film proudly African. South African entertainment has reached its peak and the world can’t help but sit up and watch.
Important attention was needed to highlight both the vast beauty of the African continent and the various traditional African culture and the producers hit the nail on the head. From highlighting the different landscapes to traditional clothing, language and even highlighting cosmetic elements such as tribal lip plates, face painting and much more. The production was beautifully shot and Marvel was willing to put a massive budget to make sure the film gets the foundation it deserves. Similarly, the film placed a lot of attention to ensure that the make-up and costumes were on point.
But, what makes this movie so special is its message. Sure, it’s jam-packed with action but it also spreads the notion of black excellence and female empowerment. The characters celebrate their heritage and culture despite being different from the west and are proud of where they come from and who they are. Similarly, as mentioned earlier, the female characters play an important role in the film and resemble a woman’s underestimated role in society.
In summary, Black Panther is a film that Marvel needed to make. It’s refreshing, exciting and important and could very well be the best Marvel film to date. It’s full of action, emotion and is a reminder of just how awesome the Black Panther character is. It’s a film that will make you proud to be African and one which is bound to make a major impact on the world of superheroes. This is Marvel’s most invigorating film in years and it’s deserving of all the success that is going to come its way.
Black Panther releases nationwide on the 16th of February 2018.