Black Panther, the one film everyone talks about these days. But is it just another superhero movie or is it really more than that? And is it gonna make the world a better place or far worse?
Those are the questions that in the end made me sit down and watch the film, despite refusing to see it in the first place. Why? Well, first because I’m not a fan of superhero movies, and second for deeply personal reasons. No – not because I’m a racist and can’t withstand an all black cast in a film or anything like that 😉 Quite the opposite in fact – which you know if you read my blog about the powerful documentary I Am Not Your Negro. But as my ‘Mr. Big’ has been involved with the film and it was just at the time of the film being made that we broke up, the two words ‘Black Panther’ simply didn’t make me feel all that good nor particularly excited.
But before I knew it, I was actually eagerly awaiting its release as I was intrigued whether it’s gonna be any good after all. I knew there was this huge anticipation around it, but I was pretty sure it’s nothing else than just the fact that it’s the first film of its kind EVER made. Which alone is a pretty big thing, I know, and in that sense I was a huge fan. I was happy for the black population to finally have a film like that! I mean – it was about time, right?! I can’t even imagine how hard it must be to live in a society that pretends to be all white and making it a norm..
But still, I wasn’t too bothered to see it. I just didn’t believe it’s gonna be anything more than yet another superhero movie. And from what I’ve seen in the trailers, I was proven right. So, it was only when all these discussions started about it being ‘political’, and ‘a new beginning’, and ‘something you’ve not seen before’, that I began to wonder, what if, just what if I’m wrong all this time and perhaps it might pleasantly surprise me just like Wonder Woman did…?
And so it was decided. I had to see it. I couldn’t let myself to be missing out on something that big yet again.
And the result…? Did I like it? Not very much.
Did I enjoy it? Strangely – I did.
You say those two answers don’t really go together? Well… then let me explain in more detail..
To be completely honest, I felt like for the most part, not much was happening. The storyline surely wasn’t anything special or too complicated and certainly anything we’ve not seen before. And unfortunately, the characters were a bit too shallow for my tastes, despite the evident potential of making them otherwise.
And the one thing that felt completely wrong to me, was when Shuri (Letitia Wright), Black Panther/T’Challa’s sister, appeared on scene and made one of her jokes. All of a sudden I felt like I was in some really badly written sitcom and not a Marvel movie. Sure, they were trying to lighten things up as all the superhero movies do… but somehow those transitions never felt so awkward and uncomfortable as they did here, making the film’s storytelling a bit too schizophrenic.
But with that said, I actually immensely enjoyed watching the world on-screen and the fact there are only 2 white actors there – and those two were Gollum (Andy Serkis) and Bilbo (Martin Freeman)! I mean… What a better representation of the white race, right? 😀
I simply love the fact that black people finally got a chance to tell their story, and show their heroes, who totally rock by the way, and share them with us – as we’ve been doing for years and years. It’s more of a question why the hell did it take so long!
I loved seeing all those African cultures represented in the movie, this completely new world, unlike anything we’ve seen on-screen before. So original, so imaginative. So fresh! I’ve always been fascinated by it, so this was a huge pleasure for me to watch as I always welcome any opportunity to learn more about it.
However, with that being said, I couldn’t help but feel like this time I’m most likely missing out on a whole lot not being black, which is perhaps why I’m failing to see some of the film’s qualities as I’m pretty sure it speaks differently to the black audience. Perhaps similarly as Wonder Woman did speak to me. And if this film gives you all the feels Wonder Woman gave to me, well then… it deserves to be celebrated and it deserves all that hype. I’m just not the target audience, I guess, despite being genuinely interested in the African culture.
As in terms of the month of celebrating women here at the MOMO talk, do not think this film is a misfit, either. Because if Black Panther delivers one truly powerful message, then it is that it’s wise for men to listen to women and let them lead the way.
I mean honestly, if this is how women are treated and respected in the black society, taken for completely equal… well then my dears, we have a lot to learn and I hope Wakanda and its people will have enough patience with us. (and if not, let we just all take an example from this film!).
Those girls also don’t let themselves to be blinded by their feelings when deciding what is right. As opposed to T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) freezing the moment he sees his crush (Lupita Nyong’o). I loved that bit and that little comparison. Go girls, go! 😀
But there’s one thing that worries me about Black Panther. As much as the film is celebrating black people and pointing out the injustice and oppression that’s been going on in this world, I fear some people might actually translate the message of the film not as a call for equality but as a proof that they are actually something MORE. I fear some might take Michael B. Jordan’s character as a hero and as a role model. And that could lead to a disaster.
I fear, too little people stayed till the end of the credits to actually receive the most important message of them all:
Wakanda will no longer watch from the shadows. We can not. We must not. We will work to be an example of how we, as brothers and sisters on this earth, should treat each other. Now, more than ever, the illusions of division threaten our very existence. We all know the truth: more connects us than separates us. But in times of crisis the wise build bridges, while the foolish build barriers. We must find a way to look after one another, as if we were one single tribe.
This call for uniting the world, and not being ignorant towards what’s happening around only because it’s not happening to you, this call for tearing down the walls and not building them… this is what we all should be talking about and this is where the film wins on a huge scale.
One powerful speech that sums up all that’s been going on in our world today.
And it was there, at the very end, I felt like ‘Oh! Now it’s finally getting interesting!’ So yeah… I guess I’ll be watching the Black Panther sequel then. Cause I have a feeling, this was just a start. At least, I wholeheartedly hope so.
As much as I have no trouble to be under the black rule if people of Wakanda would actually appear, since they seem to be much more knowledgeable than us – I mean, why not listen to the smarter ones, right? God knows, there’s a lot wrong with this world, so if they have a different recipe, I’m all for it! – I also hope people will not take it too seriously. Cause it COULD go wrong, terribly wrong, if misinterpreted.
I really hope, what people will take out of this film is rather that none of us is superior to the other, and even if there were wrongs done to your race, it does not authorize you to take on revenge and violence. I honestly hope, no one will translate the film the other way!
We’re all humans. We deserve to have our own cultures, traditions and values and none of it should be called more or less important. Diversity. That’s where the beauty lies. That’s the beauty of this world. If we were all the same, where would we look for inspiration? Where could we learn from?
I wish Wakanda was real. And I wish their people would show us the way. Because hell, we need it.
Even if Black Panther’s never gonna make it into my top 10 list, and most likely not even to the 100 list, and despite not enjoying it all that much, I could not stop thinking about it ever since. And that’s what I call a mission accomplished. So yes, certainly not a waste of time!