The “Black Panther,” which debuted Feb. 16, is the latest Marvel superhero solo movie. Ever since the last Avengers (Civil War) movie where the superhero Black Panther made his first appearance, his solo cameo has been highly anticipated. Although the movie did satisfy many people who went in with high expectations, for others it did not quite meet those same expectations.
Wesleyan senior Mateo Rengifo said, “It had the kind of hero plot as every other Marvel movie. It wasn’t very special.” Almost everyone who watched the movie agreed that it was definitely a good movie worth going to, but whether it measured up to the high standard set for the movie is a whole different question. In response to a confusing plot line, senior Willem Conley said, “I didn’t really understand why T’Challa’s father couldn’t take his brother’s son back to Wakanda. How would that have been any more suspicious than killing his brother?”
The Black Panther gains his power by drinking a heart-shaped herb that enhances his abilities, such as giving him increased strength and agility. Additionally, every Black Panther is the king of Wakanda, and thus uses the wealth and advanced technology of Wakanda to combat his enemies.
The Black Panther’s birthplace is Wakanda, an African country that outwardly appears to be a poor third-world country but is actually many years ahead of all of the countries around the world due to the huge mines of vibranium (an extremely valuable mineral that augments technology) Wakanda sits on. Wakanda has remained hidden throughout these years for fear of repercussions should they reveal to the world their vast wealth and advanced technology.
This is a major issue throughout the movie where T’Challa (the Black Panther) has to decide where he stands on it. Historically, the past kings of Wakanda have all tried their best to keep the true Wakanda unknown from the world, but recently many Wakandans had been advocating exposing their technology to the world and actively trying to make it a better place, rather than just keeping everything for themselves.
The problem Wakanda faced is an extremely relative and important topic in the world right now, as many of the powerful and influential countries are having to make decisions about how much to help the refugees and people in need in the world without making themselves more liable to danger. During the movie, T’Challa struggles with the right thing to do in this situation, and whether to keep with tradition or do what he feels like is right. Wesleyan junior Michael Steenekamp said, “There were definitely a lot of political undertones in this movie.”
The inclusion of important political topics into the Marvel movies might be an emerging theme in more Marvel movies to come, and one can only predict on how this might affect the huge company and popularity of the movies.