What Does Black Panther Mean To You?

Nick Sanchez
February 7, 2018

The first reviews for Marvel's Black Panther have arrived online and they're overwhelmingly positive. The first critic reviews have been released online this morning and it's safe to say that there is a positive word of mouth surrounding the critics. Black Panther is set largely in Wakanda, with a detour to South Korea.

King got the honor of telling the students Friday in their weekly school-wide meeting after he and fellow teacher Susan Barnes came up with the idea to marry the upcoming Marvel film with the curriculum. Blackness, especially American Blackness is its own unique culture wrapped up music, fashion and in our struggle for Civil Rights.

"Black Panther" certainly moves the story along - in fact, it continues in "Avengers: Infinity War", coming May 4, followed by, surely, a hundred more of these things.

The average rating for Black Panther right now is an 8.6/10, while Thor: Ragnarok's score was 7.5/10 and Spider-Man: Homecoming's score was 7.7/10 in comparison.

As far as landmark superhero movies for underrepresented groups go, I don't think Black Panther has anything as monumental as Wonder Woman's No Man's Land sequence where she defies the patriarchy and introduces herself on the battlefield.

Also in the mix is Martin Freeman as a buffoonish Federal Bureau of Investigation agent Everett Ross while back at Wakandia the cast if filled out by Lupita Nyong'o as top spy / T'Challa's love interest Nakia, Angela Bassett as his mother and Get Out's Daniel Kaluuya as T'Challa's best friend, W'Kabi. Early reactions to the Ryan Coogler-directed film are glowing, opening-weekend projections are through the roof, and one crucial laurel that has eluded the studio since its inception may finally be within reach: a golden Oscar statue.

The director Ryan Coogler (Creed) and a charismatic cast led by Chadwick Boseman (as Black Panther) and Lupita Nyong'o (as secret agent Nakia) turn racial clich├ęs on their head and drag in some heavy Shakespearean conflict to create a vivid yarn that's entirely new, frequently startling and, at every step along the way, all Marvel. "In that context, Panther's nuanced celebration of pride and identity and personal responsibility doesn't just feel like a fresh direction for the genre, it's the movie's own true superpower". Dual-wielding weapons is Letitia Wright (Urban Hymn, Humans) as Shuri, tech genius and T'Challa's 16-year-old sister. The family is unique to Black Panther. Okoye (Danai Gurira, deadly good) is the general of the elite guards known as the Dora Milaje. Andy Serkis lets loose as Ulysses Klaue, being as maniacal as he can get without motion capture - a welcome change for the talented actor who isn't seen too often on camera.

Fragile allegiances fracture and CIA-trained operative Erik "Killmonger" Stevens (Jordan) chooses this moment to stage a bloody coup. I already know that Black Panther's weight in gold at the box office will be in repeat viewings, because we just won't want this cinematic experience to end.

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