(Photo courtesy of Disney)
By: Allison Upchurch, Staff Reporter
One of the most highly anticipated superhero movies of the year is now out in theaters! Because of its unique draw of diverse themes and majority black cast, Black Panther opens up a new realm of the image of a superhero that is being much welcomed in society.
Coming off events of the 2016 Marvel movie Captain America: Civil War, T’Challa/Black Panther (played by Chadwick Boseman) returns to his kingdom of Wakanda to be crowned king and to take up the challenge of masking the country’s advancements in technology from the rest of the world. That masking is threatened to be exposed when two separate forces of power, an arms dealer Ulysses (played by Andy Serkis) and accomplice turned rogue Erik (played by Michael B. Jordan), steal a piece of their technology. From this, T’Challa fights alongside with Wakandan spy Nakita (played by Lupita Nyong’o), Wakandan military general Okoye (played by Danai Gurira) and tech-savvy sister Shuri (played by Letita Wright) to keep the traditions of Wakanda secure and protected from these threatening forces.
As a general note, one of the abilities of the Black Panther suit is the ability to harness the force and energy of its impacts and use it to release a force of power and energy. In a way, this movie does the same thing with all its cinematic elements. Black Panther takes in culture, social issues, visual and audio elements, and releases them all in a burst of energy that consumes an audience’s attention and suspends their concept of reality for two and a half
hours. The real drivers for the movie’s invigorating execution are the actors that make up this cast. All of them are proud to be a part of this superhero movie and that pride shows through their abilities to authentically express their character’s feelings in both serious and comical situations.
The visuals of this movie play upon the Marvel Studio’s standards of showing a new world but still based on the imagination of something fictionalized. It incorporates Earthly elements by having the country of Wakanda be on the continent of Africa. However, it also incorporates fantastical elements by having the majority of that country be masked by an invisible shield and have their main resource be a mineral called vibranium that is impenetrable most of the time. With this incorporation, the movie becomes a distinct exercise of imagination that at the same could potentially exist in the real world and we may not even know it!
As an outlook of the current society, Black Panther provides a conversation on what is the best way to fight oppression in this world and who is in charge of doing that job. In this setting, the movie becomes a reflection of the Jesuit value “cura personalis”. Not only do characters in Black Panther encourage care and consideration for one’s own people but encourage opening up to include other people of other circumstances – to treat them as equals and give second chances when applicable.
With high energy, action-packed fun with a call for social justice, Black Panther delivers a momentous movie for society to embrace a new image and drive for a superhero odyssey.