Black Panther: The Greatest Marvel Movie of All Time

Black excellence, black resistance, and black girl magic: the three terms that describe this incredible movie. The movie marks the return of T' Challa (Chadwick Boseman) to Wakanda after the assassination of his father, King T' Chaka. After ascending to power, T' Challa embarks on a mission to capture Ulysses Klause, a villain who not only stole the most important treasure of Wakanda, vibranium, but partially caused King T 'Chaka's death. The movie takes place in Wakanda, a technologically advanced and extremely wealthy nation that has isolated itself from the world by posing as a Third World country. During T'Challa's quest to hunt down Ulysses, he discovers his father's secret. His father once has a brother named N'Jobu who lived in the U.S. and his brother has a son, Erik Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan). Erik, who grew up in the midst of racism and oppression in America, is now on a quest to conquer and dominate the world.

Great plot and empowering messages 

Black Panther by far the only Marvel movie that has such a humane and empowering plot. It emphasizes the struggles of black people as well their resistance toward oppression. King T' Challa is an optimistic, kind, and visionary hero who fights for the well-being of his people. His main vision is to protect Wakanda from the outside world. Unfortunately, he unintentionally neglects the struggles and oppression that black people across the African Diaspora are objected to. Meanwhile, Erik Killmonger is a genius and a warrior who cannot forget the racism and oppression Black people face all over the world. In order to survive and in order to achieve his mission, he has to be ruthless and he has to destroy everyone who attempts to get in his way. Indeed, he is characterized as a black supremacist. He is vengeful and ambitious. When he acquires power, he plans to conquer, oppress, and perhaps even destroy white people in the same way that they have conquered and oppressed black people. In this way, Black Panther emphasizes the internal struggle and tension between Africans and African Americans. Part of tension is the lack of communication between Africans and African Americans. As consequences, some Africans are uninformed about the history and struggles of their brothers and sisters who were captured and enslaved abroad. Indeed, the characterization of Erik Killmonger embodies the bitterness of an African American who has been neglected by and isolated from his ancestor's country, the powerful Wakanda. He comes back to Wakanda to overthrow King T' Challa and use its technology and weapons to conquer the world. 

The Birth of Black Female Hero and A Black Feminist Declaration 

Black Panther proves that black men, or men in general, can't win or accomplish anything without the partnership of women. King T' Challa would have never been king without the help of Okoye, the general of the Dora Milaje regiment; Nakia, a Wakandan spy and a member of the War Dogs as she often sent on missions around the world; his mother; and last but not least, his sister, Shuri. Shuri (Letitia Wright) is a genius and a princess. She's a scientist and creator who develops advanced technology, medicine, and weaponry for Wakanda. She is the brain of Wakanda. Okoye (Danai Gurira) is a courageous, brave, and loyal warrior who is destined to protect the king’s throne and Wakanda. She will not let anyone harm Wakanda, even the man she loves. Meanwhile, Nakia (Lupita Nyong'o) is a machine behind change and progress. She refuses to be the queen of Wakanda since she wants to devote her time to continue helping other Africans. She is the woman who will protect the things that she loves: Wakanda and King T' Challa. Last but not least, Ramonda (Angela Bassett) is the mother of King T' Challa and queen of Wakanda. She's a powerful woman and a mother that believes in her country's vision and her children's calling. In her, you don't see fears nor tears, you see bravery, comfort, and unconditional love. She is the force behind the victory of her children.

Lupita Nyong'o, Danai Gurira, Letitia Wright, and Angela Bassett

The black women in Black Panther are warriors, agents of history, and independent forces. They don't need men. They follow their own destinies and callings. They are fearless and bold. They do not conform to whiteness nor to the patriarchy. 

The Power of Counter-narrative

The mainstream narrative of Africa is that it's a continent of poverty and disease. According to this narrative, nations in Africa are uncivilized, unstable, dependent, and underdeveloped. In reality, the poverty, disease, and the instability of some nations in Africa are due to European intervention, colonialism, and American imperialism. Indeed, Wakanda provides an image and re-imagination of what a country in Africa or even continent could have been if it was never colonized, never influenced by White power. In reality, the continent of Africa is a continent of wealth, natural resources, a great civilization, and advanced cultural practices. Colonialism, slavery, and imperialism have exploited the continent as well as abducted its people. However, black people across the globe have resisted oppression as well as injustice. They have overcome what colonialism, imperialism, slavery, and colorism imposed on them. 

The nation of Wakanda 

In conclusion, ‘Black Panther’ proves that when Hollywood makes “right” movies about black people, they not only generate a lucrative profit but also respect. Indeed, Black Panther is a movie that promotes social change. Movies about black people should not be only limited to topics such as slavery. Indeed, movies about black people in the past have either promoted White Savior Industrial Complex or black inferiority. In reality, black progression should be determined by black people, and white people, as well as others, should only be there for alliance and intervene when black people directly ask them for aid. ‘Black Panther’ is more than a Marvel movie; it’s an artwork that promotes cultural awareness as well as inspires a generation of young people. For every black child who grew up in the middle of oppression, injustice, and distorted narrative, ‘Black Panther’ give them heroes who share the same skin tones and struggles with them. Making movies about black people is the way to show that they are matter. Especially in the world where injustices persist, ‘Black Panther’  provides people with the hope and the courage to change the word.

 

If you are interested in writing an article for Her Campus Davidson, contact us at davidson@hercampus.com or come to our weekly meeting Tuesday at 8 pm in the Morcott Room.