Marvel’s latest film Black Panther roared out loud this weekend in every movie theater in America rocking the box office with $360 million just in opening weekend alone. The film follows up with T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) right where we left off the last time we saw him on screen on Captain America: Civil War, mourning the death of his father king T’Chaka. We are invited to Wakanda, a hidden African city that holds more than tons of Vibranium but holds as well T’Challa’s people, family, culture, and kingdom as he has to step up and fill in his father’s position on the throne. As King of Wakanda, T’Challa faces challenges all the way from huge family secrets, a reunion with Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o), and the threat of Erik Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan) to the birth of a newer and improved Black Panther.
Black Panther has become a major milestone for the film industry in many different ways. The film not only broke box office records, but it has also broken many old Hollywood fears and myths about films with a majorly black cast failing in the U.S and/or overseas. It had major moments of female empowerment, showcases the huge role that women have in society, and how they are always saving the men in the film one way or another. Black Panther even managed to brake records in the music industry with its soundtrack which includes the participation of artists like The Weeknd and Kendrick Lamar. The film’s storyline has sparked much controversy over social media; the plot centers around a man battling to keep his culture in a country where his culture is often dismissed or not accepted—which is obviously a subject that hits close to home, specially for immigrants living in the U.S during the Trump era.
Black Panther’s director, Ryan Coogler, who was also the director of films Creed and Fruitvale Station stated: “The concept of an African story, with actors of African descent at the forefront, combined with the scale of modern franchise filmmaking, is something that hasn’t really been seen before…You feel like you’re getting the opportunity of seeing something fresh, being a part of something new, which I think all audiences want to experience regardless of whether they are of African descent or not.” Although a film about “an African story, with actors of African descent at the forefront” should not be fresh and new in 2018, we can say we are happy that some progress is being made in the film industry, even if it has taken this long to do so.
This film is so much more than just a movie. Black Panther is the beginning of a movement that will probably, most likely, and hopefully never stop: minorities not being underrepresented and being included on the big screen just as much as any other race and/or culture. People were so excited to watch and support the film and what it represents; they even showed up to the movie theaters in outfits inspired by the film and by African culture as well. Black Panther’s record-breaking opening weekend is just another way to prove that people enjoy more diverse films and that they also like being able to identify themselves with a character onscreen; children (and everyone for that matter) need superheroes and role models they can identify with and look up to…superheroes that look like them.