Black Panther

  • 03 Mar - 09 Mar, 2018
  • Mohammad Kamran Jawaid
  • Reviews

In today’s world there are only two types of movie-going audiences left: ones who follow comic book movies (whether by habit or by coercion), and those who cringe at the mere mention of the words ‘superhero’ or ‘comic’ – and die a thousand deaths when these are used in the same sentence as the word ‘movies’.

Black Panther, after its second trailer, doesn’t cater to the first group. The film targets the second group – the ones who cringe. The film’s mission is simple: to exploit a lesser known superhero as a somber spectacle, and turn non-believers into true believers.

Black Panther, however, gives Marvel Studios some added benefits which writers Ryan Coogler and Joe Robert Cole expertly employ to give the film some emotional depth. The story is set after Captain America: Civil War, and lays out the history and political stance of a country called Wakanda – a fictitious land perceived by the world as one of the poorest, backward nations in Africa. The real Wakanda is a future utopia of advance science hidden by an invisible dome. Their source of power is an indestructible material called vibranium, which crash landed thousands of years ago, and whose capability was employed by a brave warrior who united five warring tribes into one.

T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman), the current king-to-be (see Civil War for details) has to bend traditions in a world changed by technology and superheroes.

Essentially, Black Panther handles a lot of subtle issues within the guise of a superhero film. The questions T’Challa must face involves the continued existence of Wakanda as a clandestine nation, and later of usurping the film’s villain, Killmonger (Michael B. Jordon) after he’s taken over the country.

Coogler (who also directs), keeps the film a family-only affair. Wakanda, and Black Panther as a film, doesn’t involve Avengers or any other superhero. It’s strictly dark skinned cast (with exception to Martin Freeman and Andy Serkis) gives a clear message: the problem is Wakanda’s – and it will be taken care of by Wakandan’s. Sanity and clear-headedness prevails as the story and action unfolds.

It’s the subtlety of the film’s intelligence that gets you, even as Black Panther unflinchingly sticks to blockbuster storytelling conventions and the obligatory big-brawl climax.