by Ryan Hsu
“Black Panther” inspires African American pride in their cultural heritage through the telling of the wondrous story of T’Challa, the superhero/ young prince of the fictional nation of Wakanda.
The film opens with a monologue about how Vibranium, the hardest metal in the universe, was deposited into central Africa by a meteorite. The alien metal mutated a local herb and was eventually ingested by a tribal warrior which gave him superhuman abilities. That warrior became the first Black Panther, king and protector of Wakanda.
Over the centuries, through the mining of Vibranium, hiding in plain sight by posing as a third world country and isolating itself, the dominion of Wakanda became the most technologically advanced nation in the world.
Prince T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman), heir to the throne of Wakanda, comes home from a mission and becomes king after defeating a challenger in a ritual combat ceremony. Complications arise when T’Challa is informed about Ulysses Klaue (Andy Serkis), a shady arms dealer who has been trying to sell stolen Vibranium in South Korea, and sent to hunt him down.
While in custody, Klaue is rescued by Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan), a cunning, covert operative linked to Wakandan royalty and with a mysterious past of his own. The confrontation would lead to a full-blown civil war within Wakanda that would cause T’Challa to lose his throne through betrayals. He is forced to face and correct the consequences of his dead father’s guilt-ridden past.
Ultimately in the end, T’Challa learns valuable lessons from his battle with Killmonger on not just being a better king, but also how to make a world a better place by renouncing the isolationist tradition of his country. The goodness in T’Challa’s character is balanced with his enemy, Killmonger, who is filled with justifiable rage and pain. His eventual defeat gave the Black Panther a realization to help serve mankind by sharing Wakanda’s technology to the world.
A refreshing difference with this film from the traditional Marvel movies is that it is free from the usual mass-destruction type scenes. Instead, we are given a conflicted, duty-bound hero, who is confident but humble. Although he is full of doubt during his journey, he never fails to make the right decision based on his morals and love of his country.
The design of the movie was very colorful and filled with majestic, inspiring African inspiration. Most of the action scenes are not filled with explosions; instead, they are vibrant, imaginative and well-choreographed. Combined that with a great story and characters, the film is bound to exceed the critics’ expectations worldwide.
According to Box Office Mojo, “Black Panther” is fifth all-time for the highest grossing movie opening weekend with over $202 million.
The runtime is a little over 2 hours and rated PG-13.