Jo Wright
Life & Style Reporter

The release of Black Panther over President’s Day weekend spurred plenty of excitement, evidenced by its immense success in the box office. The original estimate of $165 million was eclipsed by the $242 million made domestically. The film, directed by Ryan Coogler, features a nearly all-black cast and qualitative female-empowering roles.   

Many of the action-packed scenes were supported by a plot that gave prominence to Michael B. Jordan’s role as the lead villain, Killmonger, a guise that was new to him as an actor. The narrative follows his attempt to disrupt the peace of the fictional country of Wakanda, ruled by the infamous King T’Challa personalized as Black Panther, played by Chadwick Boseman.  

“Being an advocate for diversity and cultural appreciation, I loved seeing all of that combined into a single movie,” said Ashlyn Murrell, a sophomore in public health and communications. “I loved the social justice elements that were incorporated into the film, especially the overwhelming emphasis on the dichotomy between isolationism and humanitarian aid. However, I am glad that Marvel spent more time and money on an accurate representation of African culture rather than developing plot twists and juicy screenplay. To me, that is much more important than a twist ending.”   

The fictitious vibranium ore powers a bright Wakandan city, which is home to several tribes. Each has its own customs, attire and formalities. These customs, paired with opposing views held by each of the leaders, gives cause for apprehension between the differing groups.  

“No matter how different they were, they would still come together to pick one leader,” said Whitney Zeigler, a sophomore in social work. “They all unified against the one bad source. Sometimes the violence can be combated by the community. In a way, it promotes nonviolence and peaceful organizations instead of anger.”   

The film featured resolute and determined women. In fact, King T’Challa is protected by a group of female warriors led by Okoye, played by Danai Gurira.  

“They weren’t afraid to stand up for what they believed in,” said James Aguirre, a sophomore in finance. “They were with their country and knew when the leader was wrong. They did what was right for their country and the prosperity of their nation. That was impeccable.”   

Letitia Wright plays as Shuri, the younger sister of Black Panther. She portrays an intelligent yet humorous scientist and inventor. Many of her lines were punctuated by the audience’s laughter and beguilement.  

The film featured swooping shots of CGI-created Wakandan landscape. However, these were not the only locations featured. Other dynamic settings included the luminous populated city of Busan, South Korea. Many of the aerial shots featured were taken in Uganda, South Africa and Zambia. 

The film’s main set incorporated plenty of interesting technological advancements, all inspired directly by the original Black Panther comic books.  

“I feel as it should have been a little more visually informative,” said Laith Mekdad, a freshman in mechanical engineering. “I wished it was more realistic when it came to the spaceships and other sci-fi aspects. I would have liked if they stuck to the same theme of realism. The film was like a movement, though. It’s different than how other movies have portrayed the African-American community.”   

 The soundtrack was an anticipated element of the film, indicated by the popular official playlist released in early February. However, there was some disappointment surrounding the method of application.  

“Kendrick Lamar’s entire album was dedicated to Black Panther, so they could have implemented more of the soundtrack than just some of the instrumentals,” said Michaia Gardner, a sophomore in biomedical sciences. “It was inspired by the movie, so they should have included more of the actual lyrics.”   

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