Black Panther Review

This past weekend, myself and some other members of Her Campus Duke went to see the new Marvel movie, Black Panther. Prior to its release, this movie was being hyped up by everyone and people were ready for the first mainstream black superhero movie. I went in super excited, but also slightly worried that it wasn’t going to live up to the hype.

But boy was I wrong. Black Panther, in my opinion, is the best movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, with The Avengers falling at a close second. Not only was it a good superhero movie, Black Panther was just a good movie in general. It was funny, action-packed, but also touched on the more serious themes such as race, prejudice, injustice, and ignorance.

From the soundtrack to the set design to the costume design, the production was completely on point. Together all the visual elements of the film gave us a mix cultures all across the continent of Africa. It didn’t just depict Africa as a homogenous place. Instead, it showed the rich diversity among African nations. The production team and cast themselves are an example of the diversity within Africa, as they all come from different parts of Africa and from different parts of the world. In a way, the whole film comes together to create what a home for the African diaspora might look like.

Related: Curse of Color

The number of powerful black women in this film blew me away. Black Panther gave us dozens of powerful women of Wakanda throughout the film. Lupita Nyong’o as Nakia, Danai Gurira as Okoye, and the all-female special forces of Wakanda, the Dora Milaje are all fierce warriors who don’t let anything or anyone get in the way of them fulfilling their duties to Wakanda. Angela Bassett, as Ramonda, T’Challa’s mother, holds silent power through her wisdom and grace presented throughout the film. And let’s not forget T’Challa’s sister Shuri played by Letitia Wright who showed us just what young, black girls can do in STEM while simultaneously kicking ass.

The women of Wakanda are not only fierce, but they are treated as equals throughout the film. The men in the film seek their counsel, and they are leaders in their own right. In addition to that, the men are not diminished as a result of the women’s power. Black Panther does an excellent job of showing that a powerful woman does not mean that the men around her are made small. The men and the women are powerful together as they build each other up rather than getting in each other’s way.

Related: FWOC as Told by Wonder Woman

Another aspect of the movie that I personally appreciate was the depiction of black natural hair. Every character in the movie had a natural hairstyle, so not one person had straightened or relaxed hair. I've spent most of my life with straightened or relaxed hair, and it was only about a year ago that I stopped and decided to have natural hair. It was empowering in a way that I didn’t expect to see all the beautiful types of natural hair throughout the film. Most of the world is constantly pushing long, straight, silky hair, so it was refreshing to see a movie where every woman had hair like mine.

Overall, Black Panther is yet another example that diversity sells, so now we just have to sit back and wait to see if the rest of Hollywood will finally get the picture.

Also, as a little fun fact, there’s the unexpected but awesome added benefit that Black Panther is boosting the adoption of black cats since people want to have their own mini black panthers named T’Challa.