Written by King Pynn
It’s still number one at the box office. It made over 100 million dollars in the United States alone. It inspired us. It sparked conversation and it made history. I’m talking about none other than the long awaited movie known as Black Panther.Since the Marvel comics characters made it to the big screen we’ve seen super soldiers, super spies, mutants, radioactive monsters, aliens, gods and everything in between get their time in the spotlight. To say the Marvel Cinematic Universe is a popular franchise would be an understatement. Right know the reigning ruler of the franchise is the reigning ruler of the African utopia known as Wakanda. King T’challa, son of T’Chaka, one of Marvels most famous super heroes and one of the first black super heroes to be created.
“Marvel Studios’ Black Panther bounded to success at the President’s Day box office, notching $242 million domestically over the four-day weekend–the second-highest such opening behind only Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and the biggest ever debut for a black director. In a triumph that could impact onscreen representation, its $184.6 million overseas total disproves a long-held industry myth that films with black casts underperform overseas.”-Natalie Robehmed, 2/20/2018, Forbes.
The Ryan Coogler directed film has already become the top grossing film with a predominantly black cast, taking the crown from Eddie Murphys “Coming to America” another film about an African monarch dealing with the duties of becoming a King. Black Panther destroyed the myth that movies with a black cast won’t perform well overseas. It’s international earnings of $184.6 million puts it on the same level as the Marvel movies that came before it.
Film industry movements like #OscarSoWhite were started because of a lack of representation and recognition on the big screen.
“Audiences deserve to see themselves reflected on the big screen. Beyond being the right thing to do, it makes for richer storytelling” -Disney distribution chief Dave Hollis
The Black Panther film and the people involved did just that. We now have a film with heroes who look like us. We now have characters we can identify with on levels beyond cool CGI and special effects. We now have a film that portrays our roots, our culture, our philosophies, our struggles and our pride.
“Another mighty marvel block-buster”. Prophetic words captioned on the cover of the comic that debuted the character Black Panther. Since then he has not only become a staple of comic history but now film too. T’challa aka Black Panther and his kingdom of Wakanda have been symbols of Black power for comic readers since July 1966. The character made history by being the first black super hero to exist, he had many successful solo comic runs and has been one of Marvels premier characters for decades. So naturally a movie about the great character and symbol of Black power and pride has been one many people were anticipating.
Probably since Spike Lee’s Malcolm X has a movie become this big of an experience in the black community. The pre ticket sales and preparation to go see this movie is just as amazing as the movie itself. I can’t say enough how Black Panther added fuel to the fire for the pride we have in our heritage and culture. This movie was a movement and a milestone in not only black cinema but cinema in general. It has made a huge impact just like the comics it is based off of. It forced conversations about tribalism, ethnicity, African culture and even what we as a community need to do to make Wakanda a reality. Hey If there is one thing that the movie Black Panther has taught us, it is that anything is possible.