CommunityReview

The Pigmented family all went to see Black panther over the weekend. We’ve processed it, loved it, discussed it, and now, we have our reviews. 

This post will be dynamic and updated as our reviews come in  

 

Teymi 

don’t scare me like that colonizer.

Two years of anticipation. Strategic dodging of spoilers. Photo after photo on my Instagram and Facebook feeds of my friends and acquaintances dressing up in the flyest of outfits and going to see one of the most anticipated films of the year. Three days after the premiere in US theaters, I got my life, I got my passport stamped, and was finally on my way to Wakanda.

Like many others, I grew up with a very basic knowledge of the Black Panther. My dad, a comic book expert, used to talk on and on about Marvel’s first black superhero but I never sought out an issue for myself until after the movie was announced. However, it’s not a requirement that you know much because within the first five minutes of the movie, viewers are made privy to the history of Wakanda and it’s inhabitants.

Black Panther is a black movie. Not one-hundo percent FUBU, but still a black movie. It represents the broad spectrum of the African diaspora. From the jokes directed at black American culture (Shuri’s exclamation of “What’re those” in response to T’Challa’s sandals), to the dancing at Warrior Falls and the lip plate of the River Tribe’s elder that felt recognizedly African. This movie shows black folks in a light not seen before in popular culture and in a way that is both natural and refreshing.

There are so many boundary pushing elements in this movie but the closest to my heart is the portrayal of the female characters. It’s sooooo rare for superhero movies to portray the female characters as something other than a damsel in distress, or as fake strong but ultimately needing a male character’s help to overcome an obstacle. This is not so with Black Panther. It portrays it’s female characters as strong, intelligent, beautiful, fierce, funny, and so much more, and passes the Bechdel test with flying colors. There is a sense of sisterhood that I can’t really explain that just made me happy. Shuri, my favorite character, is the embodiment of what I was missing when I was growing up. She’s an insanely smart, funny black girl. Her intelligence doesn’t come off as something that makes her better than any of the other women or characters in general, but as celebrated and cool and encouraged. That’s dope.

A week before the movie came out, a YouTuber I follow went to a preview screening and posted a spoiler free review calling Michael B. Jordan’s Erik Killmonger the bet superhero movie villain since Heath Ledger’s Joker. He definitely the most compelling antagonist that has been seen in a Marvel movie to date, but I would say that in comparison to The Dark Knight’s Joker, Killmonger is less textbook villain. I almost struggle with calling him a villain. Killmonger is not your ordinary obvious villain that everyone can automatically root against, no questions asked. His motivation causes some to find themselves empathizing with him. His vision of revenge stems from years upon years of oppression of those of African descent. Real quick, while on the topic of Killmonger, can were just take a moment to appreciate the incredible character development and how the background stories were used as plot devices to move the story along? They weren’t just given to you all at once. They were revealed when they needed to be in the exact right context. Killmonger’s vision and motivation behind wanting the throne is especially compelling because when viewed from the right angle, it bears resemblance to the definition of justice held by a group of black Americans. He’s more Malcom X than Dr. King. However wrong or right you think Killmonger is, Michael Bae Jordan’s character delivers the most scathing and poignant line in the movie and maybe of any Marvel movie when faced with death or possible captivity: “Bury me in the ocean with my ancestors who jumped from ships, because they knew death was better than bondage.”

There are two white dudes in Black Panther. They’re cool or whatever.

So long has the black community needed and waited for a movie like this. Representation is so important and this movie delivers positive images in terms of both gender and race. It’s definitely one of the best superhero movies I’ve ever seen. Like Top 3 for sure. I enjoyed the cinematography, the Kendrick Lamar driven soundtrack, the score, and the humor. I only had two main problems with it. I thought the final battle scene between Killmonger and T’Challa was extremely anticlimactic and the relationship between Okoye and W’Kabi seemed a little irrelevant and almost unnecessary so I can’t give it a full 10, but Black Panther was a very dope, important, and relevant movie. I give it a strong solid 9.5/10. Wakanda forever.

 

O’Brian

Walt Disney’s Marvel phenomenon, “Black Panther” is an absolute classic. A cinematic masterpiece. One of its kind. An absolute gem. Super hero and action critics rate it low, but super human and moral critics rate it high. What rating is more important? 🐸☕️


The creators of this movie seemed to have taken a huge risk by not making it a super hero movie aligned with the rest of the Marvel movies, but instead making it a super-human movie. What do I mean? You leave the theater feeling empowered, inspired, and compelled to be the best you can be without any superpowers to rely on. Instead of leaving feeling like a hero, you leave feeling like an empowered human-being knowing the difference between what needs to be saved and what needs to be preserved. What’s more important? Black Panther leaves it up to you to decide. 🤷🏾‍♂️


Whether anyone wants to agree or not, this movie is not about black culture or black power. Yes, the beauty and intelligence of black ancestry and kindred flourishes throughout the movie seamlessly. But that is not what this movie is about. The script itself even blatantly encourages the viewer to not look at any race or culture as superior, but instead encourages the audience to look at self and to be empowered to do what is good and what is right no matter who you are or where you come from. Black Panther hit theaters reaching close to half of a billion dollars in revenue worldwide. It’s obvious that these great numbers are due to the movie’s impact. When I watched on the third day of it’s release, I understood why.


The great “shielded” world of Wakanda within African territory seemed to represent what “privileged” countries have been blinded by. Just because you cannot see the greatness that a nation has to offer, does not mean  there is no greatness. The people of Wakanda were rich, brilliant, strong, and steadfast in their morals and values. Seeing as how some of the world’s “most powerful nations” were struggling to maintain peace and respect for others, Wakanda had no choice but to maintain its shield in order to preserve itself from the intoxication of poor influence. The overall hidden nature and richness of Wakanda seems to therefore represent an empowerment of protection and resilience to foreign mediocrity.


Nobody wants to say it, so I will. The villain of this movie represents ALL of us. We often search for justice, power, and belonging for all of the wrong reasons. The villain sought power to overthrow what he thought was his own adversity. Black Panther challenges the hardened heart of the villain to seek for the adversities from within one’s own self, never blaming others for one’s own fate. Using the strength and power of a “super-hero” along with its technological advancements can never win over adversity when one’s heart is in the wrong place.


Yes, there has been an historical horror of bondage, inequality, bigotry, and division throughout the world towards minorities and people of color at large. Black Panther challenges the viewer to look beyond even just that. The mindset of Wakanda seems to conclude that you cannot fight fire with fire. It is instead more impactful to fight with authentic knowledge, wisdom, and natural resources that ultimately influence adversity with the empowerment to do what is good and what is right.


As we speak, people around the world continue to “dress the part” of Wakanda in effort to preserve and share a message that has been hidden for far too long. Whether or not adversity compels to the spirit of change, the shielded world of WAKANDA will remain the prime example what it means to humbly pursue what is good and what is right, FOREVER.