Black Panther May Be the Best Movie of 2018


By Jordann Sadler ’18, Perspectives Editor

Similar with superhero T.V. shows such as Luke Cage from the Marvel Universe and Black Lightning from the DC universe, Black Panther is setting the pathway for black superheroes and heroines. Not only is Marvel paying homage to Black History Month by having Black Panther’s release date in February, but I was most impressed by the trailers. The wonderful world of Wakanda, where the soon-to-be King T’Challa a.k.a. Black Panther lives, is filled with African-inspired clothing and the set itself is inspired by the many tribes and many countries of Africa. The trailers were filled with beautiful colors and Chadwick Boseman (one of my celebrity crushes) as T’Challa is the perfect fit for the prince-superhero character. At first, I was a little put off when Michael B. Jordan was casted as the evil Erik Killmonger. Jordan, who was also in Creed, seemed “too-nice” to be a villain or at least has played roles which were more hero-like. When I saw Jordan and Boseman face off in a small snippet of Black Panther versus the Golden Jaguar, Michael B. Jordan may prove me wrong.

Another detail that I praise Marvel for is the use of Gil Scott-Heron’s “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised.” What’s a trailer without an awesome remix? The sample of Gil Scott-Heron’s black-power anthem and the futuristic-hip-hop-techno sounds are the perfect combination. Lines such as, “You will not be able to stay home, brother/ You will not be able to plug in, turn on, and cop out” finally ending with “the revolution will be live” encompass what this movie means to the black community. Those of African and African-American descent can go to the big screen and watch a movie specifically made for us.

Not only is Black Panther filled with warrior men, but the female warriors, Dora Milaje, are there to kick butt too. Of course, I am still waiting for a Storm, Bumblebee, or Vixen movie about a strong female heroine, but Black Panther and his strong army of female warriors will have to do for now. For those who may be asking, the 2004 Halle Berry Catwoman movie loosely-based on the DC comics character by the same name is NOT considered the first black-female superhero movie (as Catwoman a.k.a Selina Kyle is not black in the comics) and Catwoman is also NOT considered a superhero movie, nor is it considered an actual movie based on the 9% from Rotten Tomatoes and the 3.3/10 on IMDb.

Black children everywhere can look up to a hero that has the same skin color as they do and show the world that superheroes come from everywhere and anywhere. We’ve seen an increase in minority and underrepresented representation in superhero films. For example, Wonder Woman was the first female superhero film since Elektra in 2005, but we still have a long way to go until we reach more demographics. Hispanic heroes, disabled heroes, gay and transgender heroes, Native American heroes… Although Black Panther wasn’t the very first black hero to make it to the big screen, it is the first where pre-teens can watch. Black Panther is rated PG-13 while the movies Spawn (1997) and Blade (1998), the pioneers of black superheroes to make it to the big-screen, were rated R. Blade’s following movies Blade II and Blade: Trinity were also rated R. Blade: Trinity, the last of the series, was in 2004—it’s been 14 years since a black superhero has been on the big screen. Not a cameo such as Falcon in Captain America or Storm in the X-Men movies, but a main character with a big title.

So, we can all sit back and wait for the February 16th release date. Now, the African/African-American communities can say, “Yes! We’ve done it!” February 16th is officially Black Panther Day.