By Allison Turner
Marvel Comics’ “Black Panther” is a fantastical portrayal of a near-utopian society existing in a secret and secluded country in Africa: Wakanda – a country with numerous connections to the real world.
“Black Panther” was first released in United States theaters on Feb. 16, 2018 and the DVD release date is scheduled for May 8.
This film is much more than just another superhero movie: It’s a positive way to bring awareness to those who may otherwise not see a film comprised of an all black cast.
This gives us, a campus and town of lower diversity, exposure to themes we may never experience. Black Panther highlights the struggles and achievements of black Americans in a way that makes these concepts easier for a broad range of audiences to notice.
Though San Luis Obispo is generally very accepting and an inclusive town compared to many places, we still have a limited view of the world.
With diversity in the film industry very much a highly debated topic, director Ryan Coogler introduced a phenomenal cast to people as a way to bring exposure to those who may not otherwise see a movie with an all black cast.
Coogler’s all-star cast features Chadwick Boseman, Michael B Jordan, and Lupita Nyong’o to name a few in lead roles portraying black solidarity and empowerment.
“Black Panther” focuses on the isolated yet highly advanced nation of Wakanda, a nation run by a central king and representatives from four other groups that were the original founders.
Following the events of “Captain America: Civil War,” prince T’Challa, played by Chadwick Boseman, prepares to assume leadership of Wakanda after returning from Vienna in the wake of his father’s death.
After being back in Wakanda for only a brief amount of time, T’Challa is notified of what will be his next big battle against one of the films central villains played by Andy Serkis and his secret accomplis Erik “Killmonger” Stevens, played by Michael B Jordan.
T’Challa sets off to protect not only the safety of his own nation, but makes a controversial decision to also reach out beyond Wakanda to protect the world from Killmonger’s tactfully planned uprising.
The superhero known as Black Panther was created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby in 1966, and first appeared in the comic “Fantastic Four #52.” Black Panther was the first black superhero in well-known american comics, according to Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Many speculate, and with good reason, that Marvel’s Black Panther was heavily influenced and inspired by the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense. Both the superhero and the party originated in 1966.
The film also has crucial scenes set on Oakland California depicting black struggles, the birthplace and main active area of the Black Panther Party.
Both the film and The Black Panther party have a strong emphasis on black nationalism and to a smaller extent for the film represented by Killmonger, the idea of black citizens rising up to gain control.
Many of these founding ideas still resonate within communities today, making the debut of Marvel Comic’s “Black Panther” during Black History Month incredibly impactful.
As one of Black Panther’s many white viewers, I found this movie to be so much more than just entertaining. It was a way for me to better grasp even the surface issues surrounding racial inequality in our country.
This film has given me, someone who will never be able to understand the struggles of black Americans, a way to interpret and research the history the film portrays.
“Black Panther” is set to have a DVD release in May which will make the powerful message of this movie even more accessible to a wide audience.