“Black Panther” is a which is taking the world by storm. It already made 900 million dollars worldwide and it’s not going to be stopped any time soon. Why? Simple answer, we get to see a different kind of story.
As an avid superhero fan, I’ve seen about every film Marvel has put out since “Iron Man”, so going to see “Black Panther” was a very new experience for me. Almost all of the films I have seen show a straight, white male going through an enlightening journey to fulfill their dreams of helping others. Sound familiar? “Black Panther” turns the typical superhero film on its head by putting strong characters at the forefront and giving them their voices. The story is not about starving African children or the African American experience as slaves or how they are often portrayed as drug dealers and gang members. This is due to the fact that Wakanda is an African nation hidden from the world that has learned to develop all on its own without influence from the rest of the world.
Wakanda’s freedom is the reason we get to see women killing it as warriors and being the genius behind the nation’s success. While it may be led by a king, he has a force of strong women that help lead him to be the king that Wakanda needs. Also, the film addresses more than just Wakanda’s issues in the past and present. This is where we get the strong antagonist as well. We can sympathize with Killmonger when he imagines how African Americans can change their experiences if they had the same resources that Wakanda has. In doing so, this film changes the two dimensional image of the hero and villain.
This is why the story feels more realistic than other hero movies. Yes, Marvel relies on CGI for their effects but that is not all they gave their attention to. This is a film that teaches how to do representation right. It has created a movement and given more power to African Americans than any other superhero film and perhaps any other film overall. For example, there have been efforts to make sure children who cannot afford to see this film are able to see it, because it has been established that this is a film they need to see. This is the kind of impact proper representation can do for people.
For some reason there’s this idea that stories which deviate from the “normal” narrative won’t gain any popularity. However, “Black Panther” has come onto the scene and changed everything. This is proof that other narratives need to be put out into our media with proper representation. Perhaps this film can be a stepping stone for other groups to be represented in the best way possible. This film proves that anyone can be a superhero and do great things. Once we change our narratives to match the real world, then perhaps we can give other generations the confidence to do their greatest, because they’ve seen proof that yes, they can do it.