Marvel Studios has brought to us many excellent films but, “Black Panther” has touched base on something that marvel hasn’t seemed to do before. Hollywood films have created many movies that often have similar plots and exhausted endings. This hollywood film, directed by Ryan Coogler, offers the viewer something deeper than what’s been seen in a marvel movie. Coogler offers myth. It allows the viewer to learn the traditional story of Wakanda and the early story of its people.
Black Panther starts after the marvel film Captain America: Civil War where the audience was first introduced to T’Challa and his super alter ego Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman). T’challa returns to his home Wakanda to take the place of king after his father’s death. Wakanda is a technologically advanced country run on vibranium. Vibranium can only be found in Wakanda, therefore Wakanda has decided to stay a mystery nation and protect themselves from others with the aid of a force field. Ulysses Klaue ( Andy Serkis) is the only one who knows of Wakanda’s power and its resources. He then puts Black Panther in a treacherous conflict when he must fight with Erik Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan), a former US military operative who knows and understands the Wakandan culture. Within this conflict T’Challa must save Wakanada and ultimately save the world.
This film included many cultural innovations that helped strengthen the African culture which inevitably strengthened the plot of the movie as well. The main cultural innovation can be found in the preparation for the role of T’Challa, the casting, and the release date.
In order for Boseman to really embrace and perfect his character, he went on countless trips and implementations. Boseman first began by working with the same dialect coach that he’d worked with in previous movies to achieve the perfect Wakandan accent. Additionally, Boseman went as far as to visit South Africa twice. He examined multiple speeches and songs in order to become the true motivational speaker that T’Challa is in the movie. He examined speeches specifically from Nelson Mandela and songs specifically written by the Nigerian artist Fela Kuti. Some important leaders that helped shape him into character include Shaka Zulu and Patrice Lumumba. One of the most important steps that Bosemana took was to directly talk to a Yoruba Babalawo, which is a high spiritual title in the Yoruba religion that can be found in Africa. To tie it all together he trained in forms of martial arts which included Dambe, Capoeira Angola, and Zulu stick fighting. and took a DNA test to better understand his African ancestry.
The emotion portrayed in this film was nothing but excellent. T’Challa showed his strength when it was time for him to step up to the plate and reexamine the traditions of Wakanda and see what would need to be altered. Boseman shows awareness that T’Challa an anti-hero who is appreciative of his responsibility as the leader of Wakanda. He is a sentimental and astute leader who isn’t afraid to switch it up when he needs to access Black Panther. He distinctly didn’t just play the part, but he enveloped it.
Boseman wouldn’t have been able to perform as well as he had if it wasn’t for his admirable supporting cast. Lupita Nyong’o as Nakia, plays the part of a war dog and an undercover spy for Wakanda. Most importantly she also plays the role as T’Challa’s past lover and would-be love interest. Okoye was played by Daniel Guirara who took in the role as the head of the Wakandan forces and Letitia Wright, Shuri, is T’Challa’s little sister who has proven to be a tech genius and a comedic individual. Coogler did an amazing job casting these talented actors. They not only have proven to be superb in this film, but also the films in which Coogler discovered them in. They’re all worth taking a look into and following their journey’s as their acting careers enrich.
More African culture can be seen in the release date of the movie. Originally, the movie was intended to be released on November 2017, but got moved to February 2018 to acknowledge black history month. In the movie, there are multiple references to African American culture. The Washington posts helps us understand the most funniest culture reference in the movie. Princess Shuri sarcastically screamed “what are those” to her newly throned brother, T’Challa. It was not just a funny reference to the black social media, but it also was a break from the superhero seriousness and a sign that Black Panther was not afraid to touch on its African American sophistication. When I first went out of my way to watch the film I was amazed by the portrayal of the futuristic land of Wakanda. If you didn’t know it, you’d think that you could buy a one way ticket to Wakanda, but unfortunately this Utopian African nation isn’t real. Travel Noire, a credible website, tells us that a majority of the filming took place in Atlanta, Georgia at Pinewood Studios. Pinewood Studios isn’t a new filming location for the producers considering a large number of Marvel productions have been filmed there. The cast and crew of Black Panther also filmed at Tyler Perry’s Studios. He announced that they were the first to film on his new soundstages.
When we take into account all the things that have been mentioned, such as the casting, the production, the acting and the culture emphasis that has been poured into this movie it soon becomes apparent that this is more than just another Marvel film. It is a motion picture that will be remembered by others for decades. It makes you think why Marvel has waited so long to put out something so in tuned with its people and culture, something that can be among the highest starred movies. Coogler and his collaborators were able to bring in the right ingredients to really spice everything up. The fight scenes including the female Wakandan warriors were hair-raising; the car chase in Seoul, South Korea featuring T’Challa and Shuri were nothing but sweat invoking. And yes, at times Black Panther’s suit looked more animated than realistic and some of the fight scenes seemed to be more anarchic than fascinating, but no movie can be perfect and as a whole Black Panther had its mistakes but still kept the viewers wanting more.
It takes more than two hands to count how many Marvel films have been released. For the last few years we’ve had Guardians of the Galaxy, Ant Man and Thor: Ragnarok. These movies each had a comedic approach and elements that compelled the viewers to laugh. With Black Panther, Coogler drifted away from this approach and tried to make something more rooted, something more superior. It’s clear to see that he gave everything he got in order to achieve his aspiration. Given what a jaw-dropping film this is, it’s easy to see why Marvel waited so long.
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