Black Panther movie has taken over the world! It’s been perhaps the greatest pop culture moment in the last ten years, and the most highly anticipated movie in a long while. It’s finally here, and it has lived up to every piece of hype it has gotten. I’ve seen it twice so far, and will see it again.
But I’ve been talking about it nonstop. It was hard to make up my mind about where to begin with this review, because left to my own devices, I’d just drop a big YES!!! gif and walk away. There is a lot to discuss about this film, and a lot to unpack, so let’s do it by sections, starting with the facts, and making my way to the feels. The History-Making Marvel (you see what I did there)
Black Panther has shattered records and made history multiple times over. The film’s been one of Marvel’s most expensive installments to date, and certainly the most expensive first movie in a franchise, and that has a lot to say!
And the numbers are in. It has made $404 million worldwide, with $235 million of that earned in the United States. It’s made more money than any other Marvel movie in its opening weekend. It’s the highest opening EVER for a film released in February. INSANE. But surprising? No. We been tryna tell folks that films starring Black people, written by Black people and about Black people can be profitable. Black Panther film is a big “fuck you” to anyone who thought opposite.
Directed by Ryan Coogler, and featuring an all-star lineup of Black Hollywood, this movie has given us something to look forward to. This Black ass movie even displays diversity within the diaspora. Chadwick Bozeman (T’Challa), Michael B. Jordan (playing Killmonger), Angela Bassett (Queen Mother Ramona) and Forest Whitaker (Zuri) are from the US. Danai Gurira (Okoye) is from Zimbabwe. Lupita Nyong’o (Nakia) is Kenyan, born in Mexico. Letitia Wright (Shuri) is Guyanese. Daniel Kaluuya (W’Kabi) is English and Ugandan. Florence Kasumba (Ayo) is Ugandan-German. Winston Duke (M’Baku) is from Trinidad and Tobago. COME THRU, DIASPORIC REPRESENTATION!!!
We are not a monolith, and even when we’re all from different places, our melanin unites us. We still look and act and talk like kinfolk. Speaking of melanin…
The Beauty of Black Panther Film
I’ve watched a lot of Marvel films, although I am not a deep geek who can cite origin stories. I gotta say that Black Panther, is the most visually beautiful film they’ve had. This isn’t a world that exists in some monochromatic space planet. The world of Wakanda is full of color in every single way and it jumps off the screen and makes your pupils do the wop.
The first sequence at Warrior Falls, where all the tribes are found at the edge of the cliff, singing and swaying, blows me away for a moment.
The colors, the movement, the depth, the vibrancy. I was mesmerized. I got all misty-eyed. My goodness. It was art. It was just a feast for my eyes.
Plus, the way they honor the melanin of the characters. Holy shit. The lighting had me distracted as I lost myself in all the Noir Pixie Dust I was being presented with. You might take it for granted until you watch other films and realize how flat they have us looking sometimes, because cinematographers have only perfected the art of lighting white folks. Black Panther? SHID.
They got the real MVPs. I had to tell myself to focus a couple of times when they did closeups of Lupita. MADAME, WHICH KIN’ VOODOO IS THIS YOU’RE DOING WITH THIS FLAWLESS SKIN OF YOURS!!! Chei! Skin just forever unable to flaw, and her melanin magic was on 10. Daniel Kaluuya was up there shining. Danai looking like her undertones are made of gold. I was like “I need everyone’s regimens post-haste!” And can someone please tell Auntie Angela Bassett to stop killing unicorns and bathing in their tears??? It’s not even fair to be almost 60 and look like that.
This whole cast just FAHNER than split frog hair. Gahtdamb. They showed how gorgeous chocolate is, and a little black girl or a little black boy can just scream “I look like them and it’s perfectly fine and I’m beautiful just like I am.”
A feast for my eyes, salve for my soul, and balm for my spirit to see.
BRUH!!! The costumes in Black Panther film gave me all the life I needed! Well-researched, and showing influences from the entire continent. Ruth Carter and her costume designing team reached across the continent to make these characters’ clothes their own characters.
The blankets worn by W’Kabu’s people are BaSotho blankets from South Africa. The Nigerian in me was GAGGING when I saw Zuri wearing an agbada, which is traditional Yoruba wear. And all those embroidered kaftans that T’Challa had? I was calling my tailor like “sooo I need one in my size.” But the BEST thing he wore? That kente robe towards the end. My Ghanaian folks should be swelling with pride because he did it justice.
The fiercest costume had to be the Dora Milaje ones, though. That red leather with gold shields and armor, tailored to the GAWDS and saying “I am unfuckwitable” even before they spoke was what I needed in my life! I’m pretty sure for Halloween I’m going as a Dora Milaje, shaved head and all. It complemented them, was functional, without sexualizing them. SO GOOD! I wanna go buy tight leather now so I can wear it into meetings. Anywho, that takes me into why I truly loved Black Panther film.