**Warning: Spoilers ahead!!**
I’m writing this review while listening to the film’s amazing score and I’m this.close to heading back to the theater to see it again. The film was THAT good. If you follow my social media channels you’ve probably picked up on the fact that I’ve already seen the movie three times since Thursday, and it’s one I plan on seeing many more times in theaters before it leaves. Thanks to my Movie Pass I only had to pay for one screening, and every other time I’ve just shown up to the theater and used that card to pay for it. I’m definitely taking advantage of the “all the movies you can see for $10/month” aspect this month.
Anywho! Back to Wakanda! There’s been so much hype and excitement around this movie honestly since it was announced. We saw the Black Panther introduced in ‘Captain America: Civil War’ and it wasn’t long after that that Marvel announced that T’Challa would be getting his own stand-alone film. We knew that Chadwick Boseman would be reprising his role as the leader and warrior of Wakanda, and as the other cast member names started being released the excitement grew. Angela Bassett as Queen Mother Ramonda, Forrest Whitaker as Zuri, Lupita Nyong’o as Nakia, and Michael B (Bae) Jordan as the villain Erik Killmonger. My soul screamed yes! Ryan Coogler (‘Fruitvale Station’ and ‘Creed’) was announced as the director and the Black millennial in me screamed YES!! Coogler is a really talented director and he’s young! His movies so far have been really good, and I knew he’d be perfect to bring Black Panther and Wakanda to life.
Fast forward to mid-2017 when it was announced that they’d finished filming and that the film was about 4 hours long before major cuts. Honestly, at that point, I would’ve watched a 4-hour movie. ‘Titanic’ was just over 3 hours and so was ‘Avatar’, so it’s not like we’d too far off from that. But of course, cuts were made the runtime was just shy of 2.5 hours. Long enough to get the story told and short enough to get us to come back night after night. Which is exactly what I did.
I saw the movie on Thursday night with HAAB, Friday night with HAULYP and Saturday I took my nephew. Each time I thoroughly enjoyed myself and each time I picked up on something new. I know I’ve said this a million and one times on Snapchat, Facebook, and Instagram, but the movie truly was amazing. The production team did their research and it showed! The costumes were on point, the scenery was phenomenal, everything was just top notch. I have a separate post about the soundtrack and score coming tomorrow, but just know that Kendrick curated a soundtrack that deserves all kinds of awards and Ludwig deserves some too for that score!
I think one of the things that I loved most about the movie was that the characters were relatable. The women of Wakanda were allowed to flourish and show their strengths not just in their households but in their careers. There was Shuri, the princess and T’Challa’s younger sister who was not only a genius but was single-handedly responsible for the strides in technology the country had made recently. The Dora Milaje who were not only warriors but the throne’s protection and some bad ass women! There was also Nakia, who knew and showed that it was possible to not only be there and take care of her lover but to give back to her community and the world as well. One of my favorite lines in the movie was an exchange between her and T’Challa when they were walking through a market and he told her that if she wasn’t so stubborn she’d make a great queen, and she fired back with it’s because of her stubbornness that she’d make a great queen…if she so chose. That was HUGE! There were female tribe leaders, and according to the vision in the ancestral plane that T’Challa had, there were female Wakandan leaders and Black Panthers in the past. There was also Queen Mother herself, Ramonda. She was the quintessential Black mother and I loved her for that.
And don’t get me started on the men of this film. There were guys I knew about going in like T’Challa, Erik, W’Kabi, N’Jobu (Sterling K Brown’s character), and the guys I who pleasantly surprised me like M’Baku. I thought I was ready to risk it all after I saw Killmonger on the screen, but M’Baku and the Jabari men are something else. Looks aside, the men also made a strong contribution to the film. I don’t know what it is about Sterling K Brown, but he always delivers the best monologues in his projects. The man was on screen less than 20 minutes in the whole film, but delivered one of those gut-punching speeches that he’s known for on ‘This is Us’. I feel like he could read the phone book to me and I’d be in tears with his delivery. He’s just an extremely powerful actor. And Erik Killmonger is the villain we hate to hate. I totally understood where he was coming from, and apparently so did Nakia since she recommended Wakanda step their foreign aid policy up too, but the way he went about it was wrong. I couldn’t be mad at him for why he was doing what he did because I understood that he just wanted to help the impoverished and disenfranchised folks around the world who looked like him. He wanted to make sure that no one else had to suffer like he had. I cried during his visit to the ancestral plane where he only saw his father, and I cried when he died at the end, especially when he said that he didn’t want to saved because he’d rather and be buried at sea like his ancestors who jumped off slave ships than locked up in bondage for the rest of his life. Whew! That was a message!
(this picture was actually snapped at a brewery event I went to after the movie theater, I just wanted to show y’all my outfit)
This film was full of messages. It spoke to community, giving back once you’ve become successful so that others like you can be successful as well. It sparked the conversation of the differences between Africans and African-Americans and the differences and similarities between us. It got people talking about women in STEM fields, and even women in power. It spoke about pride in your heritage, family, and community and I feel like that struck a chord with movie-goers. I saw a TON of people (and not just on social media platforms) dressed up to see this film. I even dressed up a bit myself for the screenings I went to the screenings, and I couldn’t help but beam with joy when I would see people come in wearing not only their traditional clothing but when I saw kids dressed at the Dora Milaje or as the Black Panther themselves. This movie gave kids a chance to see someone who looked like them in various positions of power and achievements of academia. Shoot, even the villain of the movie was a decorated CIA agent who finished from MIT!
This is going to be a filmed that’s discussed for years to come and I’m already looking forward to the next one. Have you guys seen it yet? If so, what were your thoughts? Feel free to comment below and let me know!
Oh!!! I had a few people reach out to me about the shirts that I wore to the screenings and I wanted to let y’all know that not only did I shop small for them, but I shopped Black! I’m all about supporting small businesses and all 4 of the shirts are from Confetti Lifestyle Company! I’ve had the ‘melanin’ and ‘reclaiming my time’ shirts since last summer and they’ve held up extremely well. I placed the order the for ‘Black Panther’ ones a week before the show and they were able to print and deliver them fairly quickly. Check them out and tell them I sent you!