Let me just start by saying initially I wanted to hit you with one line for my review, but I later thought better of it because we're working to do better, right? Before we get into the review, I feel it is my responsibility to the culture to educate some and reintroduce to others the fictional Marvel character that is: Black Panther. Introduced in July of 1966, Black Panther was written by Stan Lee (we love him in every movie cameo) and Jack Kirby and first featured in Fantastic Four's #52: The Arrival. As the first super hero of African descent, protector and current King of Wakanda (Wa-Kan-DA!) with his access to technological advancements, wealth, education, and physical training, oh and the wealthiest of Marvel's superheros; T'Challa is a force to be reckoned with! In the comic series, he is married to Storm and in an alternate universe they share a son. The Black Panther character was created before the Black Panther Party and was briefly renamed to the Black Leopard after backlash about the BPP. Let me not forget to mention that he's appeared in several animations to include his own series on BET, which started Alfre Woodard and Jill Scott. We'll discuss the other Black Panthers to include his father before him and his sister alongside him in a later post. Anyway, on to the movie. **Spoiler Alerts Will Follow**
Oh my black GAWD, there is so much to unwrap with the movie and I'm going to try and keep it short and my emotions at bay-but don't trip if I fail. Not only was this movie phenomenal, it was one of the best Marvel movies that I've seen. PERIOD. Everything was on point from the beautiful melanined people, amazing cinematography, excellent cast, superb costumes, and dare I say fine black people! With a cast ranging from the United States, Mexico, Trinidad and Tobago, Uganda, Zimbabwe, and Guyana; the melanin was indeed popping. From the opening scene, the movie's story line grabs your attention and refuses to let go. Full of breath taking scenes, Black Panther does not disappoint with stunning visuals and I'm so excited that my boo in my head, Ryan Coogler did his directorial thing and the movie broke all kinds of records. We definitely represented for the culture, sis.
Having been released at a time where Blacks, humanity even, needed a WIN; Black Panther helps to provide that much needed representation for those that look like me, children who need to understand that they too can be both smart and cool, where women are celebrated to no end, and brothers are doing it and doing it well. We came together as a unit and if only for two and a half hours, put our differences aside to enjoy a cinematic masterpiece! Black people came, slayed, and conquered with various costumes, voting registration initiatives, charitable donations for children to see the movie, and sold-out hundreds of theaters around the country. Baby, we took cosplay to another level! Sis, I need you to understand that I am struggling to put into words just how much this movie means to me. I mean, I feel like any words I choose just won't be good enough to describe how I feel. I have a new sense of pride. I'm talking about I'm seeing myself and my people in a much brighter light. Hell, I'm walking differently, picking my curly 'fro more towards the sun to make the ancestors happy, my chest is filled with so much pride that black excellence has taken on a brand new meaning. I will be going to see this movie again this weekend and probably once again next week.
Starring Chadwick Bozeman as Black Panther and King T'Challa, Lupita Nyong'o as Nakia, Michael B(ae). Jordan as Killmonger, Angela Bassett: as Queen Ramonda, Danai Gurira as Okoye, Daniel Kaluuya as W'Kabi, Winston Duke (my new boo) as M'Baku, Sterling K. Brown as N'Jobu, and Letitia Wright as Shuri-you already know the acting is on point so I won't waste your time going into how everyone needs to win several awards for their performances. What's most important here is that I found a new boo in Winston Duke! Once you see him in his role as barking, strong-backed, and sexy M'Baku you'll understand why. Shit, I even have a new appreciation for Michael B(ae) Jordan and all his sexiness. I promise you I offended my date several times when I involuntarily moaned during various scenes. Don't trip, sis I know you did too.
Let's talk about these glorious costumes that were influenced by various African countries. Designer Ruth Carter definitely did her due diligence when researching and brought about many great agboadas, kaftans, blankets and other pieces to bring Wakanda to life. The ladies of the Dora Milage's costumes made me want to head to the nearest fabric store for some colorful leather, online for bad-ass gold accessories and armor to get my cosplay on. I loved that their costumes were sexy without being sexualized.
So what started this whole thing awry was that damn Killmonger and his quest for revenge because King T'Chaka killed his father (played by Sterling K. Brown) for betraying Wakanda by trading Vibranium. Finding his father on the floor dead from cat claw blades set him on a quest for revenge. Oh and someone or the whole country would pay. Be it he has to fight and kill everyone or burn that bitch down; they will pay for leaving him without a father. Mind you, years later his uncle T'Chaka is now dead from an assassination played out in the previous Avengers movie, when he finally makes his way to Wakanda after tangling with the villian Klaw.
He almost took me out when he entered the room looking all sexy with a, "hey auntie!". Honey, I hollered! Anyway, Erik's ass is a complete mess and is a ball of tension that, to me, represents the dissension between Africans and African Americans. This bastard worked my damn nerves with all his bitchass antics to take the crown. Y'all he even killed T'Challa during a fight (or so he and everyone else thinks)! Enters my new boo, king of the Jabari tribe comes to their rescue as they've been preserving a comatose T'Challa on ice for his family to bring him back to his awesome self with their heart shaped herb to go back and take the throne back. M'Baku, with his rude fine ass, kept me laughing, especially when he barked at the CIA agent. As leader of the Jabari warriors he helps T'Challa and crew with fighting The Golden Jaguar (Killmonger in sister Shuri's other Black Panther suit) and forever in the Sunken place, W'Kabi and his men. Yea, I said he should have not been rescued from the Sunken place on Get Out. Anywho, all's well after Okoye and the Dora Milaje whip all the ass to protect the throne! The scene then advances to T'Challa and Erik fighting honey and all of a sudden it got so hot in there! LOL! Anyway, to wrap it up...T'Challa eff Erik up and he choose to die instead of being saved and patched up by Shuri. Although, I'll admit I don't believe he died. We'll see though won't we. The movie ends with the kingdom being returned to T'Challa back on the throne and them ending up the United Nations choosing to unveil the truth that is Wakanda in all of its technological glory and put all other nations to shame. Or so we thought...So if you chose to leave when the credits started rolling, clearly you have not watched many Marvel films and have missed out on some key gems. Like all Marvel movies, there are two in-credit scenes that shed light on what's to come next with the character.
We are shown that Bucky's ass is in Wakanda with Shuri caring for him. The children of the village refer to him as White Wolf. For my comic book friends, we all know about the White Wolf and all that shit he started. This will be revisited in The Avengers next movie set to be released in November of this year. The next scene shows T'Challa explaining to Shuri that he purchased Erik's old apartment building and those surrounding them to build the Wakanda STEM center, and he wants her to head it. Pretty awesome, right?! I can't wait to see what happens in November.
LONG STORY SHORT, GO SEE THE DAMN MOVIE. Multiple times.
Read the extension of our podcast as hosts, Charli, Kay and Phoenix write about issues concerning woc simply because when you know better, you'd do better. Do better, sis.