Black Panther: Let’s continue on with my favorite things about this incredible movie!
The Superpower of the Women
The film did its women justice, and that was one of the things I loved most in Black Panther. The reverence for female in this movie brought tears to me eyes. It’s such a difference from how women are typically portrayed. We’re the “Princess” who Mario needs to save typically, but in this film the women are the ones doing the saving, coming to the rescue multiple times. Black Panther wasn’t the only one with superpowers, as the women he surrounded himself with had their own.
The smartest person in the film happens is a woman. Princess Shuri’s superpower is her brain, and witnessing how proud she was in how much she knows her things made my geeky heart well.
The most technologically advanced country in the world has a Chief Tech Officer who is a girl. I WANT TO GO TO THERE. She put spines back together in 24 hours, made shoes that gave off no sound, and created a suit that uses any force that has been sent towards it, as energy to fight. IF THAT AIN’T WHAT BLACK FOLKS BEEN DOING SINCE FOREVER!!! That was poetic in itself. Shuri’s a genius, and never was she told to show receipts because she’s a girl. Her intelligence was not just accepted, it but allowed her the authority to be in that position.
My favorite character in the movie might be Okoye, the general of the Dora Milaje warrior women. She’s such a fierce human, who is principled and strong and full of integrity. She commands respect the moment you see her, and she’s an astute strategist who T’Challa listens to and trusts. Her superpower is her brawn, but she’s still tender and warm.
She has a man she loves (W’Kabi). However, she won’t put it over her duty. THAT in itself, makes her a revolutionary character. Women are usually written to be love crazy and will die for that. Nah, she’d die for her country. That is all. My favorite scene is the one where she stands in front of M’Baku as W’Kabi (riding a rhino) charges him. The rhino stops right in front of her and licks her face. BECAUSE HE KNOWS THAT’S HIS MASTER’S BOO. And when she pulls her spear on her W’Kabi, and he asks if she’d kill him, she says “For Wakanda? Without question.”
And he drops his weapon and gets on his knee. THAT was the sexiest thing in the whole Black Panther film. That moment, when the man who loved this woman dropped his weapon for her. Chile, that scene might have gotten me ovulating. I want it as a poster in my office. FALL ON YOUR KNEES FOR MY LOVE SO I KNOW IT’S REAL.
And of course, there’s Nakia. As a spy, she’s supposed to be a real G who moves in silence, but she was so necessary. She can be easily overlooked, but she was really important to Wakanda turning the corner. From the beginning, she was saving people. The first person was the kid who had been kidnapped to fight with Boko Haram in Nigeria. As Black Panther rolled through killing all the soldiers, she unmasked the boy to show he was only a kid. Her superpower is her heart and love for people.
She ends up saving the Queen and Shuri. Her quick thinking in grabbing a heart-shaped herb before they were burned (on N’Jadaka’s command) ultimately saved T’Challa, bringing him back from the ancestral realm. Her ultimate mission from the start was to get the nation Wakanda to use its resources to help Black people all over the world, and she was a secret agent since she refused to sit down as her country locked its doors. I think Nakia was the conscience of Black Panther film, and funny enough, she and Killmonger wanted the same thing. They just had completely different approaches. As people hail him, she deserves the love too.
Throughout Black Panther film, T’Challa was surrounded by women and he leans on them constantly and trusts them implicitly. His mother, Ramonda, his sister, Shuri, his love, Nakia, and his protector, Okoye. These women matter to him, and they played a part in his decisions. How these women were responded to by the men gave me feels. They were loved and cherished and respected. And the fact that THAT made them revolutionary is actually pretty sad. It was also heartening to see, because I think they are the reason T’Challa’s bravado is not at toxic masculinity levels. Related…
The Tenderness of the Men
I loved how the men in this movie were allowed to be tender when it mattered. T’Challa is unlike any superheroes I’ve watched on screen. He isn’t just surrounded by one woman, who he only cares about because he wants to bone her. The man has as many women around him as men. On his mission to Busan, South Korea, who’d he have? He turned down W’Kabi’s request to come, taking Nakia and Okoye instead. And Shuri was at home giving them instructions.
Black Panther’s reasons for not waging war also felt like he wanted to make sure he wasn’t taking lives needlessly. He had the chance to kill M’Baku. He had the chance to kill Klaue. Like his father told him, “You are a good man, with a good heart. And it’s hard for a good man to be a king.”
More importantly, we got to see him cry and be vulnerable, and we don’t get to see Black men cry often in film and TV. They’re usually shown as these super aggressive, flat, non-complex beings, and Black Panther film had so many complex men. Even Killmonger showed some daint, as he was raging out. At the heart of him is a little boy whose world got taken away and he yearns for what could have been. More on that later. Even he cried, when in the ancestral realm, facing his father.
Even M’Baku, my favorite vagabond. After he did a lot of grunting, he showed some heart when he earnestly promised T’Challa that he will protect his mother and no harm would come to her, as he tried to save the kingdom from Killmonger. I was like “aawwww look at this adorable fool.”