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Wednesday, January 23, 2019
HomeGeekishBlack Panther: The Most Important Superhero Movie Since Ironman (SPOILER FREE)

Black Panther: The Most Important Superhero Movie Since Ironman (SPOILER FREE)

Black Panther

Black Panther Spoiler Free Review:

Black Panther is the long-awaited stand-alone superhero feature film of the character we were dramatically introduced to in Captian America: Civil War 2016: Black Panther, T’Challa, the King of Wakanda!

The film is snuggly positioned just prior to Infinity War (technically Avenger’s 3) and takes place directly after Captain America Civil War that is beginning to make up Marvel’s Phase 3 of superhero movies.

Black Panther makes a claim in unchartered territory for Marvel and indeed the entire Superhero Movie genre.

Black Panther makes a claim in unchartered territory for Marvel and indeed the entire Superhero Movie genre..

I took my time to write this piece, to be honest, I considered not writing it at all.

Why that thought was even considered may have been due to the guests present in my media screen; whaling in choir at every prejudiced line made by Kill Monger; Michael B. Jordan, or any time Winston Duke; M’Baku aka Man-Ape (the name he’s never referred to as, because, well could you imagine) or Chadwick Boseman; T’Challa aka Black Panther, showed off some very ripped skin.

But, as I forgot about the fools that joined me in the cinema, I realised; Black Panther is something far more special than most moviegoers may even imagine!

Black Panther: A Great Superhero Movie:

Starring Chadwick Boseman as Black Panther,  and supported by a wide selection of star-studded actors from around the world, such as: Forest “bad accent” Witaker, Lupita Nyong’o as Nakia and a few South Africans such as John Kani and Atandwa Kani as King T’chaka. Topped off by my new favourite character and actress: Danai Gurira, who plays the fiercely loyal: General Okoye.

Black Panther, is filled with the beat of one of the best soundtracks in ages (Which I’ve already downloaded), exciting superhero action scenes; which bring a very refreshing physical action, rather than magical or technological, flavour, and easily one of the most developed and well thought out fictional cities ever put on screen: Wakanda, a city you can sense the creators took maticulous detail in crafting and drawing from traditional African arcitecture from around Africa to create.

Almost creating a metaphorical Atlantis in Africa.

Aside from some very poor environmental CGI (Which consistently pulled me out of the movie’s storyline), and honestly, some almost insulting accents from some of the American cast (Somewhere between Cameroonian and Xhosa I think), of which I would have rather preferred the entire movie in Xhosa with subtitles.

Black Panther is a good superhero movie that you need to add to your viewing list this month!

Black Panther release date for South Africa: 16 February 2018

We both know this is a movie that’s going to do great at the box office and you’re going to either hate it or love it, regardless of what I say, so now that the review is out the way, let me tell you why Black Panther is so essential:

Black Panther LogoBlack Panther: Ushering in the Silver Age:

Superhero Movies Mirror Their Comic Books:

But let me tell you why Black Panther was one of the most important movies in the superhero genre and essential to its development since Iron Man and The Dark Knight.

Once upon a time, comic books (The source of all these heroes for those who may have forgotten about the source material you damn scene-kids), like the past two phases of Marvel movies and whatever DC has been doing; dazzled its audiences with gloss and action: BOOM! POW! SMACK! Yes, the perfect thing for boys (mostly) and girls to get their action or adventure fix!

This Golden Age of Comic books as it’s called was where we find the original Superman and Batman, and the early versions of the X-Men, Ironman or The Hulk.

It was a time of simple stories; adventure, saving the day and getting the girl.

Since then, comic books passed through its own phases or “ages” and evolved into the stories that we know and either love or hate, today!

*I’m about to attempt to summarize 30 years of comic books history in a few lines, excuse the generalisations.

History of Comic Books Summarised:

Comic books needed to evolve, the medium needed to speak to the conversations people were having during that day, and they did; everything from Captain America knocking out Hitler, to the first Gay superheroes such as Northstar, to the development of heroes with real problems that we could relate to such as drug addiction, abuse, rape and almost every ill that would befall a normal human.

This was because, at some point, superheroes became; unrelatable to the new readers, so vast their powers and godlike their ability, we as mere mortals could not participate or aspire because we simply couldn’t be that way.

…they were as flawed as us, we could relate to their problems and find way’s out, just like our heroes.

Comic books began adding in real life and reality to their fiction. (I’m generalising immensely for the sake of time)

History, the story of the times, political shifts, wars, all had their place in comic books, superheroes found their space in the real world.

Superheroes began evolving into ideals we could achieve, because they were as flawed as us, we could relate to their problems and find way’s out, just like our heroes.

A comic page that speaks most relevantly to this narrative and one of the most famous scenes in comic books and a personal favourite: Green Lantern, Co-Staring Green Arrow, No:85: “SNOWBIRDS DON’T FLY!” (sourced: comicsvalue.com, I knew of the scene but not the comic book name)

During the early 70s, Hal Jordan shared his comic with co-star Oliver Queen, aka Green Arrow. The two were close friends, but also served as perfect foils: Hal was a staunch conservative while Oliver was a die-hard liberal. For 46 issues the two would travel across America and focus on real-life problems instead of intergalactic criminals. This format allowed for DC to use the book to highlight and examine some of the eras most important and pressing social issues.

The most famous storyline from this period was “Snowbirds Don?y Fly,” a two-part anti-drug story where Green Arrow discovers that his sidekick Speedy was a drug addict. But that story arc was largely centred on Green Arrow. The most important story to focus on Green Lantern from this team-up came from Vol. 2 #76. The issue found Green Arrow escorting Hal throughout city slums observing America?s modern-day problems. In one of comic book history?s most controversial moments, Hal is berated by an old black man who claims that he spends too much time working for the “blue skins” (the Guardians of Oa) and not enough time for the “black skins” (impoverished humans).

Green Lantern Snowbirds don't fly

This issue and story, like many being published at the time, would become the cornerstone for what comic books would be; a narrative for daily life and what we; the readers, have to go through in our daily lives; bringing real world issues down to ground level for all of us to see and understand, in a way that we can relate to.

Superhero Movies are Going Silver and Black Panther Started it:

While other movies like the masterfully executed: Logan (which a colleague quickly pointed out): brought these kinds of personal issues and struggles, such as; selflessness vs greed or the struggle of the different vs the normal, to the screen and told the story of personal pain and overcoming it for the greater good of others to dramatic and tear wrenching success. 

Black Panther, unlike any superhero movie before it, stands alone and spoke about not only its own story; which amounts to a similarly simle narrative to Richard the Third, by Shakespeare, but spoke about the real issues we face as one global tribe, it speaks to the historical horrors and pain of entire ethnic group, it speaks about modern consumerism and the greed of “old white men on Wall Street”, yet more importantly, Black Panther; speaks about how the struggles of today’s people are not being spoken about.

It is a film brave enough to speak about these issues, throw them in your face even! While still being able to create a compelling action-packed story, which fits perfectly into it’s wider Marvel universe without ever mentioning it or relying on it. (Something that has not so easily be done this far down the line in the Marvel universe: Ant-Man.)

Black Panther does what its silver age comic book counterparts had begun doing when the: BOOM!’s and POW!’s had over worn their pages, it has begun to speak to people, bringing the social issues that we need addressing to the foreground, rather than the whispered back room of the local bar. 

This kind of change is necessary for the entire genre, as an audience, the explosions and effects are great, but, it’s getting stale.

The film now stands as a monument in the superhero movie world, as an ideal that all movies in that vain should aspire to be.

The truth is; more than 3 billion people across the world live on less than $2.50 / R29 a day and 1 billion children worldwide are living in poverty. Away from bigotry, the choir of radical fools, from prejudice and racism, that’s the truth, we’re in trouble, and it’s time our global tribe did something about it. 

Black Panther

Written by

Editor of Milled.co.za