Illuminating the News for the Students by the Students

Black Panther: A Hit or A Miss?

March 12, 2018

Marvel’s Black Panther was released in February as the newest addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The film breaks ground as a minority finally assumes the role of a superhero. However, students had opposing opinions on the film’s execution.

The Unconditional Rise of Wakanda

“Wakanda Forever.”

These two words were screamed by millions as they arrived to watch Marvel’s Black Panther. From the early stages of its production to the release, the public and press have praised the king of the African nation of Wakanda. One of the most prominent points of fan interest is the plot. However, the story is not revolutionary, or even great. It repeats the classic Hamlet ‘fight for the throne’ storyline and presents ordinary characters.

King T’Challa is nothing but the action-powered male figure with a rival cousin wanting to expose his secrets, a storyline template used for many family dramas. His main conflict with what The Root called the “best Marvel villain of all time” can be explained with much simplicity. In addition, every upcoming sequence was predictable with the method Marvel uses to make their characters appear as legends without giving much substance to them as individuals.

One of the superhero’s genres most anticipated films to date is blinded from the real reason for its success. The true reason for Black Panther‘s success is its timely release; we are living in a time for change. Regardless of its quality, the film was destined to be a success. Marvel only had one job, make the story decent. 

Overall, the film lived up to the hype through stunning visual effects, music and stunts. However, these factors were underscored by the lack of depth that differentiates a good film from an amazing one.

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When it comes to ethnicity, “Black Panther” left other superhero movies in the dust, starring Angela Bassett, Lupita Nyong’o, Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan and Letitia Wright, among others.

The film’s ethnic cast provided it with another backbone in a society where audiences hunt for changing atmospheres. In the wake of the positive reception of Wonder Woman, where the superhero mantle was handed to a woman, the passing of it to a minority instantly made Black Panther a topic of discussion. Almost any negative views towards the movie could be skewed as racial discrimination.

This film integrated another pillar of pop culture: rap. When it was announced that Kendrick Lamar would be heading the movie’s album, lovers of the emerging genre quickly joined the fandom. The album was an amazing culmination of the various African and African-American artists featured. With songs like “Pray For Me”, “Paramedic!” and “All The Stars”, Lamar portrayed another spectacular representation of his artistry while effectively recreating Wakanda through the album’s sounds and melodies. Although impressive, the album was an unnecessary addition to the overall production that served as yet another backbone.

Black Panther may have been the biggest cultural revolution through cinema, but the core of its development was never the story in hand.  

Dynamic Cast and Album Advance Black Panther

The new Marvel Studios movie Black Panther, which sold $40 million in worldwide ticket sales in its opening weekend, is an undeniable topic of discussion right now. The technologically advanced African nation of Wakanda is protected by its king who also assumes the role of the Black Panther after taking the throne. King T’Challa is played by Chadwick Boseman.

Boseman plays an extraordinarily dynamic character as the leader of his nation, an ambassador and its most powerful weapon. The internal struggle that he deals with is the desire to protect his nation and the desire to create a greater good in the world.

Letitia Wright, who plays T’Challa’s sister and the tech expert, Shuri, was the biggest surprise of the film. Her performance is incredible and her attitude towards every line of dialogue adds humor and emotion to her scenes. The cast is packed with familiar faces, but Wright stands out.

The main villains, Killmonger and Ulysses Klaue, portrayed by Michael B. Jordan and Andy Serkis, set high standards with their performances. Serkis is not your generic villain; he is sinister and funny and adds to the list of things the film did right. Jordan touches on some complicated themes with an incredible amount of depth. It’s easy to sympathize with Killmonger, but that quickly changes within a minute. There’s calmness and purpose in the way he enters situations, making Jordan a perfect fit for the role.

There are veterans and familiar faces among the outstanding supporting cast. Forest Whitaker and Angela Bassett play members of Wakanda royalty. Lupita Nyong’o and Daniel Kaluuya remain a part of the inner circle. All of the actors are certainly worthy of the film, and they’re being praised for their performance. The film is a testament to both their skills and Coogler’s.

Rebecca Chapman
Kendrick Lamar’s “Black Panther: The Album” was created for and inspired by the latest Marvel movie.

Black Panther album is Kendrick Lamar’s fifth album to top the Billboard Top 200 Album Chart and still holds that position, three weeks after its release. The film’s narrative is important to the design of the album and the music is both from the film and inspired by it. With an ensemble of Pan-African artists, Lamar keeps the album on track with the film. He speaks from the opposing perspectives of super-powered T’Challa and his antagonist Killmonger. The album was a perfect promotional tool. It succeeds as a body of music because of the execution and artists who part.

Even when he doesn’t receive credit for the song, Lamar’s voice resonates in the background, representing the consciousness of T’Challa and Killmonger. Lamar was an excellent choice to guide the album as he recruited big names such as the Weeknd, Future, 2 Chainz, SZA, and ScHoolboy Q, along with a handful of South African artists such as singers Sjava and Babes Wodumo and rappers Yugen Blakrok and Saudi.