Better Late Than Never: What I Thought About Black Panther

I debated for a long time whether to write a post on Black Panther or not. I decided not to because there was absolutely nothing I could write that hadn’t already been said. The movie was a movement – people went out to see it, people responded to it and best of all, people WROTE about it. From Facebook posts to Twitter and almost every existing blog and website out there – everyone was talking about the movie.

So yes, there was nothing I could possibly say that hadn’t already been said in one form or another. And considering I travelled for four hours (each way) to a different state and spent a lot of money on that trip just to see Black Panther in cinemas, I was a little bummed that I did not get to have my say, especially because I have a lot of strong opinions on the movie. But then, I just realized, no one was stopping me from speaking about this movie.

So why the hell not?

This is not going to be a typical review because when have I ever done a typical review. But I am going to keep it simple. I am just going to list five of my favourite things about the movie and trying my best not to give away any spoilers (we’ll see).

1. The Plot

I walked into the cinema, somewhat sceptical. I wanted to see Black Panther, I wanted to enjoy it, but considering the hype I was already feeding off, I also somehow expected it to fall a little short to the hype…let’s be clear – it did not.

Granted, I remember thinking within the first thirty minutes or so, “is this what the hype was all about?”; but once Eric Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan) arrived in Wakanda, the story improved exponentially. This is not the saying the first few minutes were boring or anything like that, absolutely not – but it was what you’d expect from a Marvel movie….Until it wasn’t. That’s called ‘pacing” people. They devoted a lot of time to introducing us into this new world which is why the story took a little longer to get off the ground, but when it did, it soared.

Here’s the thing, I’m going to say that anyone who was disappointed in this movie’s plot probably expected it to show them the way to heaven or something like that, and we can see why they were disappointed.

I don’t think anyone should have gone in expecting it to be the Citizen Kane of comic book movies, to be fair – that’s probably the Dark Knight; however, story-wise – it deserves all the credit it’s getting.

2. The Culture

How often are African stories told in a positive light – even if it is about a fictional country? That’s what made the movie resonate very well with black people around the world –  the ‘representation’ of it all. Almost every story told about African countries has them begging for aid or dealing with evil warlords or child soldiers.

Yes, these are actually real issues but that’s not the summary of the African Identity. There’s so much more to us – our culture, our history, our people, our traditions, our people (it had to be said twice) and Black Panther does an excellent job of reminding the world about that.

To say, Black Panther changed the game would be putting it mildly.

3. The Characters

Here’s another thing I loved about this movie – ALL THE CHARACTERS, yes, all, even that bitch-ass – W’Kabi (clearly, I have strong feelings about this character and they are not positive). From Ramonda to Zuri, every single character was necessary and not just a filler person. And with all the characters in the movie, we were still able to get to know them pretty well, we understood their actions and their motivations, yes even W’Kabi, and to be honest – they were all damn near iconic; why, because we haven’t seen characters like these before.

Shuri, the smartest woman in the world. M’Baku (Zaddy) and Okoye (the bad ass soldier); even Killmonger, the movie’s villain – you knew him, you understood him, you even sympathized with him. He made a compelling villain because you knew exactly where he was coming from, his reasoning was not something as simplistic and improbable as ‘wanting to take over the world’.

The simple fact that Black Panther could flesh out all these characters means that black characters in smaller roles in big movies can also be fleshed out too.

4. Representation

It took ten years and eighteen films but the MCU finally gave us a black superhero in a lead role; to be clear, Black Panther is not Marvel’s first movie with a black superhero in a lead role, that title goes to the Blade trilogy. However, the Blade trilogy is not part of the MCU.

Anyway, this film does not only change the narrative or perspective around Africans but black people in general. I was watching a video on youtube where South Koreans reacted to Black Panther, and my gosh, it shows how much this movie was necessary. There was one guy who said he didn’t think black people were beautiful until he saw this movie, and he name-checked Okoye (My Queen) and Shuri in particular. My first instinct was to get upset but then I realized its more of ignorance than anything else. There aren’t a lot of black people in South Korea and the only place these Koreans get to see people of colour is in movies and television shows told by white people who already have skewered perception of black people. So yes, the black people they are familiar with are thieves, drug dealers, crack addicts and what have you, and such, this skewers beauty in their eyes.

We rarely get black character portrayed regally and well-’roundedly’ – where is the humour, the complexity, the grey areas when it comes to characters of colour – of all which this movie masterfully portrayed.

When you see a well-developed and beautiful character like Olivia Pope, for example, they suddenly become the ‘exception’, not the norm. And that shit has got to change.

5. The Technology

Ahhhh, it was tech-porn all up in here. I was just swept away by an African country being the most advanced in the world, I mean… ?????? It could have been possible.

But for real though, the tech in this movie is insane – all of it. Where do I even start – from everything in Shuri’s lab to the Black Panther suit, the cars (all the cars though) and every vibranium enabled weapon or device. It was all too much to handle. Here’s the thing, Africa has a booming and growing tech world so who knows, we might get there sooner than we think; I’d like to think so- I really want my own black Panther suit.

Of Course, Black Panther has its faults (the accents) but I’m just going to it what I do with most of the problems in my life – ignore it.

Anyway…. these are just A FEW of the reasons why I fell in love with this movie, what were yours? I was talking to a few of my friends the other day and I realized that there were still many people that hadn’t seen the movie yet, so if you haven’t yet, I hope this makes you head out to the cinema this weekend to watch the billion-dollar, game-changing movie – it will be worth it. Besides, it will have you better prepared for the upcoming Avengers: Infinity War (in cinemas on the 27th of April) .

We know the Avengers head there at some point…and so does Thanos.

With Avengers, Infinity War premiering in just a few days, I’ve gotta ask: Are you ready?

If you liked that story, you’ll also love: Have You Seen The New Avengers: Infinity War Trailer Yet?