Black Panther Slashes through the Box Office

Shradha Krishnamurthy, Staff Writer

Marvel’s Black Panther, released last Friday to favorable critical reception, proved to be an action-packed blockbuster full of twists and turns. The movie broke records for the biggest February opening at the box office, pulling in $361 million worldwide from opening day alone. It was also Marvel’s first movie to have an African-American director and star a mostly black cast.

The movie picks up shortly after the events of Captain America: Civil War, in the small African nation of Wakanda. The country is in mourning due to the death of their king, T’Chaka, and is preparing to crown their next king, Black Panther T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman). We discover that Wakanda is in fact an extremely developed powerhouse posing as a third world nation because they do not want to be swept up in the rest of the world’s problems and lose their way of life, a beautiful blend between futuristic technology and tribal culture. This viewpoint, however, is met with a completely opposing one: that Wakanda should send weapons to the oppressed people of African ancestry around the world, so that they may take control of the world and make Wakanda the biggest superpower nation. In contrast, some people, like the T’Chaka’s brother and the primary antagonist, believe that Wakanda should bring aid to the rest of the world without shunning them or conquering them.

This conflict represents a moral predicament that sets apart T’Challa from his royal predecessors. Will he choose to open up Wakandan borders and share their wealth of knowledge with the world? Or will he choose to keep his country isolated and operate under a facade? 

The film itself starts a dialogue about slavery and discrimination, as it is the focal point of the story and a vital part of the conflict. T’Challa’s viewpoint on this, and the Wakandan viewpoint in general, brings a unique perspective to this age-old issue. 

This movie brings remarkable dramatic performances for Chadwick Boseman, Lupita Nyong’o (Nakia) and the rest of the cast. Unlike most Marvel films, Black Panther takes a more serious tone, with the comedy taking a far more subtle role than usual. It also acknowledges certain popular culture trends, like the “what are those??” shoe trend. 

The costume itself is visually very similar to its comic counterpart, with the inclusion of the iconic collar being the only large deviation. While the movie wasn’t completely faithful to the source material, the story itself was wonderful, full of plot twists, human expression, and the idea that everything is grey; there is no clearly defined right or wrong.

The direction, special effects, and cinematography are amazing, with stunning landscapes and sunsets blending perfectly with futuristic technology and seamless narration. The plot was remarkably easy to follow, presenting an overall enjoyable experience. Honestly, the approximately 2 ¼ hours go by in a blur as the movie captivates all your senses. It’s a beautiful film that tackles political matters such as racial issues while demanding all your attention. Overall, Black Panther is a cinematic jewel in the crown of Marvel movies; beautiful, riveting, and diverse.