Friday, March 2, 2018

Movie Review: Black Panther

Black Panther Poster

Guys! Can we talk about Black Panther? Because Holy Cow! What a movie! We loved it! We loved it a lot! It was different and fresh and as Maggie Stiefvater eloquently put it on Twitter: It's "a superhero movie full of kings with tears in their eyes and women with fire in theirs.


With the movie hitting the $700 million mark by its second weekend, we know you've been hearing about this movie non-stop but here are some of our favorite things about the movie:


I loved all of the strong female characters but Shuri stole the show for me! She was amazing! She's smart, fierce, funny, and she totally has T'Challa's back. But my favorite thing? Shuri, a young black GIRL, is the one who is responsible for a lot of the advances in Wakanda’s modern technology. A BLACK GIRL is the face of STEM in the Marvel Universe and it's just plain beautiful to my scientist heart! We're going to petition to make Shuri an official Disney princess, yes?


You know we love our badass woman warriors, but often those characters sacrifice femininity to get there. Seeing Okoye standing on the hood of that car with her red dress flowing behind her was such an empowering moment. And the fact that she threw off her wig tells us that she's going to do this whole beauty thing her own way.


Seeing Wakanda for the first time felt a lot like seeing Thymiscera in Wonder Woman. There's just a jaw-on-the-floor sense of awe. But it's even more impressive because where Thymiscera is a perfectly preserved Ancient Greek utopia, Wakanda is a futuristic technological marvel that maintains its African identity. I loved seeing the marketplace just as much as the monorail.

And here's the one thing that bugs me:
This action-packed superhero movie manages to comment on so many different issues. Colonialism, isolationism, activism. When T'Challa tells his father, "You were wrong!" he's also condemning a culture that lets children grow up without fathers. The father/son dynamic is such a big part of the narrative - fathers represent history, culture and tradition. And while I'm certainly not opposed to that message, they completely ignore the mothers. The only one in the entire film is the queen whose only real function is to support her son. How can a movie full of so many great female characters disregard mothers? Are they no longer badasses once they have kids? And where was Killmonger's mother? As a single mom, this one flaw feels really big to me.

One of the great things about this movie is how much discussion it's prompted. I think I've seen more written about Black Panther than any other movie. (Yes, even more than The Last Jedi.) Here are some of my favorite articles about Black Panther. Other writers have addressed some of that commentary happening in the film better than I could.

Alex Brown's piece for covers the film's place in African and African-American culture and in the MCU, and addresses some issues like the lack of queer representation.

Carly Lane at SyFy Wire talks about the Women in Black Panther.

Princess Weekes wrote about Killmonger's misogyny for The Mary Sue

Aaron Reese at B&N wrote about Wakanda as a character.

Epic Reads list of books to read if you loved Black Panther includes Black authors, African myth, woman warriors.

What did you think about Black Panther?

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