Black Panther Send Messages of Unity, African American Culture


Black Panther made waves at the box offices. (Photo courtesy of Black Panther)

From thrilling stunts to breathtaking scenery, Ryan Coogler did a beautiful job of directing his latest movie Black Panther. The newest addition to the Marvel Universe made 242.1 million dollars in the first four days after its release, coming in as the second-biggest 4-day opener of all-time with Star Wars: The Force Awakens in the top spot. Coogler utilizes his cast of skillful actors and actresses to create a moving revenge story filled with wonderfully choreographed fights and deep emotional scenes. The rest of this article will contain spoilers.

The revenge story starts off with a tense opening scene set in Oakland, California. Two men (Sterling K. Brown and Denzel Whitaker) are planning a heist in their apartment when they are visited by the King of Wakanda (Atandwa Kani). What starts off as a friendly reunion soon takes a turn when the audience learns that one of the men betrayed information about Wakanda’s vibranium stockpile. The man is then killed after attacking the king, leaving the man’s son orphaned. The son grows up with a chip on his shoulder, joining the military and then an elite squad specializing in overthrowing governments. He creates a brutal reputation for himself and has the nickname Killmonger.

Michael B. Jordan did a wonderful job of bringing Killmonger to life and striking fear in the hearts of the audience. What made this character such a good villain is that in his heart he thinks he’s doing the right thing by sharing Wakanda’s secrets with the world and starting a revolution. Killmonger is a powerful villain, but for every villain there has to be a hero. Chadwick Boseman’s character, T’Challa, assumes the throne following his father’s death in a terrorist bombing. After beating the challengers for the throne, he becomes the king of Wakanda and drinks the juice of the sacred heart-shaped herb giving him the powers of the black panther. Later in the movie when Killmonger challenges him for the throne he is beaten and thrown off a cliff into a river, allowing Killmonger to take the black panther power for himself. In the end it is found that one of the tribe leaders was secretly working with Killmonger, leading to a climactic fight scene between tribes. While this is happening T’Challa survives his fall and comes back to best Killmonger in combat. The movie ends in an emotional scene where T’Challa and Killmonger share in the beautiful sunset over Wakanda and talk about Killmonger’s past and and the reasons for his actions.

There are many themes throughout the movie such as unity is more powerful than separation, special powers aren’t what make someone a hero, and sometimes the direct approach isn’t the best approach, but the most prevalent theme throughout the movie is that the rich culture brought to the United States by Africans has been widely under appreciated for years and it’s time that it’s been noticed. Overall, this movie marks a large step in the entertainment business for African American culture and I was very impressed with the quality of the acting, special effects, and camera work from beginning to end.