Black Panther transcends genre, race stereotypes

Divina Davidds, Staff reporter

Courtesy Marvel Studio

Mild spoilers ahead

The latest Marvel superhero movie Black Panther proves just how important representation of minorities is and how successful it can become. With a majority black cast, black director, female cinematographers and people of color working on the crew, this film is making strides for minority communities.

Black Panther, directed by Ryan Cooler, focuses on the fictional African country of Wakanda and its newly elected leader T’Challa, played by Chadwick Boseman, who faces trials and tribulations while trying his best to fulfill his father’s role as leader of Wakanda, as well as defending his title as heir to the throne against his nemesis Erik Killmonger, played by Michael B. Jordan. The cast features Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, Daniel Kaluuya, Martin Freeman and many more notable actors.

Black Panther sets itself apart from all other Marvel superhero movies because of its outstanding cast, stunning graphics and a script that truly makes you feel like you’re in Wakanda with the characters. The outstanding cast brings a versatile type of acting and the characters truly benefit from this by being able to bounce off each other’s personalities perfectly. Killmonger and T’Challa are perfect examples of two-dimensional characters. T’Challa, now the Black Panther and king of Wakanda, must protect his nation and people at all costs but is suffering with an internal conflict on how to help and aid the rest of the world as well without jeopardizing his community. On the other end of the spectrum, Killmonger’s number one goal is to help others but in a radical and almost extremist way. They both have good intentions for helping their communities but in completely different manners that you can’t exactly pinpoint one as solely a hero and the other solely a villain.

And then there’s the graphics. With vibrant colors, vivid effects and extensive detail, if you didn’t know Wakanda wasn’t a real place, you would think it was filmed on location. The intense detail of the futuristic city is reminiscent of the worlds created in Star Wars due to the technology and design seen in both films (which makes sense because the film is a project by both Disney and George Lucas).

“One more word and I’ll feed you to my children – just kidding we’re vegetarians.” This quote perfectly summarizes a character who is a personal favorite of mine: M’Baku, leader of the Jabari tribe. His sarcastic but intimidating charisma and ravishing good looks draw the audience in, wanting to pay attention to every little thing he talks about. The most impressive thing about M’Baku is his character development; he goes from someone who only cares about himself and his tribe, to someone who agrees to help T’Challa during a time of need, to someone who willingly wants to help T’Challa and his friends defeat Killmonger and his army. He’s a perfect example of the duality that the film highlights and how evil can overpowered by good.

Overall, the script is what really brings everything together perfectly. There are many mind-pondering and resonating quotes about life, love, family and justice that leave the viewer feeling passionate. 

Black Panther exemplifies everything a film should strive to be. It should strive to be inclusive, to have duality within its characters and unite and blend different genres as one.