“I waited my entire life for this”, a thought shared by scores of comic book, Marvel Cinematic Universe fans (MCU) and black people across this world felt. The power of the Black Panther has left an impact in cinemas after Ryan Coogler’s smash hit has stunned audiences with fantastic characters with depth and a world that is out of this world. The fictional nation of Wakanda was actually inspired by the enclave Lesotho and the country of Wakanda is not only rich in Vibranium but wealthy in fantastic characters. The film starts off with an amazing animation of the history of Wakanda, the Black Panther and Vibranium for those who are unaware of the journey they are about to take part-in and give some context for the ensuing story.
The story that we go on is one that satisfies the palate of any faithful comic book fan whilst also appealing as a criticism on a lot about society. Ryan Coogler makes expert use of each and every character with his centerpiece, Chadwick Boseman, delivering a believable performance of a young man thrust into a large responsibility. On the flipside, Michael B. Jordan (All Hail King Killmonger) steals almost every scene he’s in and provides great competition to Marvel’s better
South Africa has a lot to be proud of, whether it was our accent’s, one of our language’s( kind of but hey give them a break) in Xhosa and our local actors and actresses. The true African vibe was felt throughout the film and conversations with those who have watched the film spoke about how homely the movie feels. Brit Andy Serkis contributed a large part to that homely feel as he gave possibly his last portrayal of South African villain Ulysses Klaue complete with his own ‘boet’ accent to seal the deal. However what has brought on rave reviews for the movie was the arrival of a bigger villain in the shape of Erik Killmonger (Jordan). In the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), Killmonger is the cousin of T’Challa and this brings the conflict home to the newly anointed King.
In Killmonger we see a sympathetic-villain who was forced to grow up without a father due to a fateful Oakland, California night in 1992. Killmonger is everything T’Challa isn’t; he’s loud, flashy and most importantly he is vengeful. At the end of Civil War we see T’Challa lose his desire to exact revenge for the death of his father. However in Black Panther we see Killmonger as a highly trained Black Ops agent with hundreds of scars all over his body who utters the words “I found my daddy with Panther claws in his chest, you ain’t the son of a king, you’re a son of a murderer” which highlights the pain Killmonger experienced when his father, Prince N’Jobu (Sterling K. Brown) was murdered by T’Challa’s father, T’Chaka (Atandwa Kani). The contrast and hate is palpable in the fight scene at the final act of the film when T’Challa kills Killmonger.
Throughout the film the audience is given a plethora of easter eggs and even with a typical Stan Lee cameo. Scene stealers in the film range from M’Baku (Winston Duke), the leader of the Jabari Tribe and Okoye (Danai Gurira), the leader of the elite all-female Dora Milaje. The casting for the film is exceptional and each character feels authentic and their motivations seem sincere. Though an American film, the film leaves one feeling undoubtedly proud to be African after watching it and is a nice change of pace to the usual African discourses. The music by Ludwig Goransson is exceptional as the composer traveled to South Africa and Senegal to be guided for the score. The movie is so immersive from the actor’s portrayals to the costume design that the creators of Black Panther, Stan Lee and the late Jack Kirby would be ecstatic at the future of the Black Panther. The MCU is onto something big and the value of T’Challa (highest grossing film is south, west and east Africa plus over a billion at the box office) is even more precious in value than Vibranium. Those longing for T’Challa and Wakanda need not wait too long as they will be in the upcoming Infinity War, so for now buckle up, enjoy the ride and repeat after me, WAKANDA FOREVER!