If you haven’t seen the film ‘Black Panther’ yet, please don’t continue reading until you do. This is a viewer’s review and it includes spoilers to things that took place in the film.
If you have been slowly recovering from watching the film during its opening week, then you may feel the way I did walking out of the cinema. As I put the pieces of mind back together I’m still trying to get a full grasp of what I just experienced. I can definitely state without hesitation that it is certainly not only the best film I’ve ever seen, but I don’t think I’ve ever experienced such a deep and heightened experience watching any film ever. For the Marvel fans and comic superhero fanatics maybe, you’ve experienced this before with past content that Marvel or Justice League has produced. As I reflect on my experience I wonder if it is the same way women felt watching Wonder Woman, or Captain America for the persecuted and bullied.
For the past few days the world has watched black folks in the US, UK, Africa and other places around the world visually document their trip to see Black Panther. I mean, when was the last time you saw black folks everywhere going all out, dressed in their best dashiki and Ankara, arms crossed, #Wakandaforever written on statuses all over. The only other time in a long time that I can compare the momentum was when Barack Obama got elected the first time.
A good friend noted that there are so many layers presented by this film that one can’t just talk about one, I couldn’t agree more. This review will address a few of the layers that I noticed in the film, as setting out to cover all the layers is a near impossible task.
Starting with a quick recap, Black Panther is considered America’s first black superhero in the mainstream comic world. It features T’Challa, who is King of Wakanda, a fictional African village. The superhero was created in 1966 by Writer, Stan Lee and Artist, Jack Kirby and first appeared in the early 1970s in a Fantastic Four feature. In more recent times, the character was reintroduced in the 2016 film Captain America: Civil War as Black Panther joined the team of Marvel Avengers.
Black Panther had its opening release in U.S. theaters on February 16, although it has had previous screenings since January. Its African American Director, Ryan Coogler at 31 had already directed blockbusters such as Fruitvale Station in 2013 and Creed in 2015. In its opening week so far, the film has grossed almost 200 million worldwide and 75.8 million in the US and Canada. It continues to break records for Marvel including having the fourth-highest Fandango pre-sale tickets sold, only following 3 Star Wars movies.
I ordered my ticket about a month before the release date, anticipating the hype. With my Sierra Leonean made bracelet and chain, I headed into the theater on opening night not fully aware of what we were about to experience. Folks, it was the definition of woke! The film managed to hit just about everything about the black experience past, present, and future within an hour and 34 minutes.