Black Panther Rises



Black Panther has a visually stunning poster to accompany a visually and thematically stunning film.

Caitlyn Truong, Photojournalist

On its opening weekend, millions of fans poured into their local movie theaters to watch one of the most diversified superhero cast on the big screen, generating a record-breaking $202 million. On its fourth weekend, Black Panther surpassed $1 billion as well as all expectations for the movie. Black Panther is one of Marvel’s greatest cinematic leaps with its phenomenal storyline, nearly all African-American cast, and overall societal and commercial success.

Black Panther begins with the after-effects of last year’s Captain America: Civil War which left the hero of the story, T’Challa, fatherless and next to become the king of the legendary Wakanda, a highly advanced city in Africa rich with vibranium yet disguised to the outside world as a third-world country in order to protect their wealth and prevent colonization. His reign is soon challenged by his cousin, Killmonger, who serves more as an evil version of T’Challa than his own individual character. As a villain, however, his background and motives are more developed than perhaps any of the villains in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Chadwick Boseman plays T’Challa with poise and elegance; despite the lack of humor characteristic to Marvel’s movies, T’Challa’s heroism is more than enough to win the audience over. Likewise, Michael B. Jordan plays Killmonger to perfection, and it is bittersweet that his death allows for Black Panther to live but prevents the brilliant character himself from appearing again. T’Challa’s sarcastic, meme-referencing sister Shuri is the unexpected princess of the Marvel Cinematic Universe whose jokes and genius make her an instant favorite. Sarah Kim (10), a fan of the film, commented, “I hope we see more of Shuri and her brother. They made the movie amazing and it’s easily one I will rewatch again and again.”

The film itself stands distinctly apart from any other superhero movie. Wakanda is breathtaking, and the scenes in the ancestral plane are impossible to forget. The fight scene in South Korea alone is worth numerous awards; even the animated credits at the end are remarkable. The gorgeous settings and impressive sci-fi effects, however, came at a price. Vulture reported that Marvel Studios spent about $200 million to create, more than the typical superhero movie in order to do the superhero justice. The results were more than rewarding; according to the Deadline, Black Panther had the biggest February debut ever with $202 million during its opening three-day weekend and has become the ninth highest grossing film of all time.

In addition to its commercial success, Black Panther has also received outstanding critics’ reviews and societal feedback. It has received an extremely high 97% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and has been praised for its diverse cast supporting the first black superhero on screen. Kevin Feige, head of Marvel Studios, commented during an interview with Vulture that “It’s something that’s easy to take for granted…that my cinematic heroes look like me…I want everybody to have that feeling.”

Black Panther is not simply another superhero movie. It is a cinematic masterpiece revolutionizing Hollywood with its diverse cast, women empowerment, and politically relevant themes. It has audiences everywhere heavily anticipating Chadwick Boseman’s next return to the big screen, and rightfully so.