BY ASHIMA SINGH
Hollywood actor Chadwick Boseman, fondly remembered as the ‘Black Panther’ passed away on August 28, 2020 after a long battle with colon cancer. But today, I will celebrate his character King T’Challa and not only review, but also highly recommend the movie Black Panther. Soon after a brief appearance in Captain America: Civil War, the superhero Black Panther landed his own movie.
The 18th film of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), “Black Panther” was indeed historic. It was the first Black mainstream comic book hero created by Stan Lee. Unlike other superhero movies, this one also had a predominantly black cast, which was unheard for such a big budget film. The movie, directed by Ryan Coogler, who co-wrote the screenplay with Joe Robert Cole, starred Chadwick Boseman as Black Panther alongside Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, Martin Freeman, Daniel Kaluuya, Letitia Wright, Winston Duke, Angela Bassett, Forest Whitaker, and Andy Serkis. Coogler manages to hit all the right spots, the complexity of the characters, even the villain manages to touch our hearts.
The story follows the life of T’Challa who returns home in the wake of his father’s cruel death. He is enthroned king of Wakanda, a fictional African nation that poses as any other typical sub-Saharan country, but is actually the most advanced. And this is due to the vibranium technology that was present, thus over the centuries Wakandians use vibranium to develop technology. Wakanda and the Wakandians are woven in the richest, sharpest coloured clothes owing to Rachel Morrison’s amazing cinematography and Ruth Cater’s stunning costumes.
Chadwick Boseman played the character of T’Challa with vulnerability, awkwardness and low self confidence, shows that the hero’s royal upbringing has kept him sheltered from the reality. However, the responsibility with the sudden ascension to the throne on the young king’s shoulder, does not deter him. The character has an easy boyish charm, which makes it hard not to like. It was recently revealed that the actor shot the movie while fighting cancer, and this makes him a superhero, an inspiration not only in reel life, but also in real life.
While in Wakanda, T’Challa faces many threats to the throne, specifically from his cousin Killmonger (Michael B Jordan). He is the true bad guy of the movie, who highlights racism in the form of thorny questions and statements. The movie manages to highlight every character making them memorable. It isn’t a male dominated movie. There are women who play an important role in our superhero’s life. With special mentions to his sister Shuri (played by Letitia Wright) who designs the new technology including the weapon and the black panther suit, his former lover Nakia (played by Lupita Nyong’o) who fights for the enslaved women, and the fierce Okoye (played by Danai Gurira) who is the head of Wakanda’s all-female team of warriors.
Black Panther not only broke numerous box office records, it also became the first superhero film to receive a Best Picture nomination and the first MCU( Marvel Cinematic Universe ) film to win an Academy Award. Even before its release, the movie became a cultural phenomenon, it tackled issues like racism, slavery and identity, while being entertaining and having the humour factor. This movie inspired a global movement in almost every field since its release on February 16, 2018. It broke through barriers and inspired millions. The war cry of the Wakandian army, “Wakanda Forever” became a popular catchphrase.
This movie is about celebrating the black culture. It is a symbol of black empowerment. The movie embodies the collective rawness and beauty of this culture. It celebrates black aesthetics with keeping the hairstyles and costumes as authentic as possible. With the recent passing of our superhero, this movie symbolizes his strength of not only filming this movie but several others while undergoing his cancer treatment. It is an inspiration for everyone. This movie is definitely a must watch, along with the other Marvel Movies. But be sure to watch them in the definite order.
I would like to conclude by saying, “Wakanda Forever”, “Chadwick Boseman Forever.”