In social setting last night I ended up seeing Marvel Studios’ Black Panther movie. Much has been made of the fact that this is the first Marvel film to focus on a superhero of colour. The film has received universal acclaim from film critics with review aggregator Rotten Tomoatoes giving it a 98% rating and Metacritic giving it a score 87 out of 100. It has been labelled by some critics to be the best film set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
For those who have become used to Hollywood making films for the sake of diversity and to push social justice causes the release of Black Panther with the novelty of a black superhero made many of us roll our eyes. Since many of us are accused of passing judgement on a film without seeing it I didn’t mind seeing Black Panther so I could do a proper review of it.
It is safe to say that Black Panther is as bad as you would believe it to be. Rather than just be a superhero film which has black characters it cannot help but preach a black power message and portray that the reason black people are held back is because of the evil white colonizers and oppressors. After all it wouldn’t be a Hollywood film without some anti-white racism.
Despite it being set in an African nation English is the language spoken 90% of the time and most of the cast are either American or British putting on African accents.
The film is set in the fictional African nation Wakanda ruled by an absolute monarch which has managed to become extremely wealthy and technologically advanced due to having the benefit of an alien metal called Vibranium. However to protect Wakanda from the outside world (ie. from being looted by the evil white people and corporations) it poses as third world African nation.
WARNING: SPOILER ALERT
The main character in the film is T’Challa who is crowned the Black Panther after his father is murdered by a white terrorist Ulysses Klaue who has previously taken Vibranium from Wakanda and believes the “savages” do not deserve the metal (he is South African of course). The crowning ceremony is used as an opportunity for the filmmaker to display the richness of African culture and their rituals.
After T’Challa’s crowing his love interest Nakia discusses with him the idea of using Vibranium to help the rest of their African brothers and sisters escape extreme poverty. However the first priority of the new Black Panther is apprehending Klaue who is meeting the CIA in South Korea to sell a stolen Wakanda artifact. He plans to bring him back to Wakanda stand trial.
However Klaue escapes CIA custody who are upset that Wakanda appears to be hiding its Vibranium riches. T’Challa arrives back in Wakanda empty handed but brings CIA agent Everett Ross who they heel from a bullet wound with Vibranium, he is labelled a colonizer by T’Challa sister Shuri, throughout the move there are a heap of lame jokes in the exchanges between T’Challa and Shuri.
Klaue ends up being killed by one of his henchmen Erik Stevens who when he presents the dead body in Wakanda reveals himself to be N’Jadaka the son of the the former Black Panther’s brother N’Jobu. N’Jobu was killed by the previous Black Panther because when on assignment in America in 1992 he wanted to use Vibranium to help underprivileged and oppressed black people in that nation.
N’Jobu challenges T’Challa for the crown and wins and wants to send Vibranium weapons to oppressed black people all around the world to rise up and kill their white oppresses. The conclusion of the film is a final battle between the two cousins about the future of Wakanda. To the film’s credit it does portray the murdering of white people for their supposed oppression of blacks as extreme and hence doesn’t go full black panther to use the term literally.
But the lesson that T’Challa learns at the end of the film is that it was wrong for Wakanda to keep its Vibranium riches a secret and makes a speech to United Nations outlining the new humanitarian program the nation will run. His first action is establishes an outreach center for black youth in Oakland, California.
Being a superhero movie it is eager to use as many action special effects as possible which don’t add much to the plot but are just there to wow the audience. It is also similar to other Marvel films is that in tries not to just be an action film but engage in deep philosophical matters.
But overall Black Panther is a cringeworthy appeal to black solidarity that implies that they are held back not because of the failings of their governments but because of their lack access to technologically and of course because the white man doesn’t value them as their equal.
Although the film was enough to keep be engaged in the plot (albeit for the wrong reasons) it is more of the same social justice globalist propaganda we have come to expect from Hollywood.
My rating: two stars.