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Tuesday, March 20

Haiku Revieu | Black Panther

Tuesday, March 20
Black Panther

Wakanda forever
Shuri is the best

T'Challa, the King of Wakanda, rises to the throne in the isolated, technologically advanced African nation, but his claim is challenged by a vengeful outsider who was a childhood victim of T'Challa's father's mistake.

It's been a little more than a month since I saw Black Panther, but it's impact remains fresh in my mind. The hype is definitely real with this one; it's one of the best Marvel movies to date—and stands on its own as an excellent film, not "excellent for a superhero movie." (Side note: I hate that descriptor. Just because movies have superheroes in them, or space battles or faeries or whatever, doesn't mean they can't be just as impactful as all those "serious" ones.)

Although we were introduced to T'Challa and Wakanda in Captain America: Civil War, we really get to know the character, his family and friends, and the amazing place that is Wakanda in Black Panther. It expands the MCU, in a figurative sense, immensely; the culture and the colors and the music and the people are all so different than what's come before, and it's so, so welcome. Yes, I'm a privileged white American woman, but I understand how deeply representation matters, and the portrayal of Wakandan culture made me tear up with happiness. As much as I love the MCU, it's about damn time that someone other than a white man gets to be front and center.

That said, it's not just T'Challa who shines bright in this movie—though Chadwick Bosman does a fantastic job—his support system is made up of amazing women who steal the show; particularly Leticia Wright as Shuri and Danai Gurira as Okoye. As the canon smartest person in the MCU, Shuri is an amazing role model for young women everywhere, and Wright played her perfectly as the "kind of annoying, but totally awesome" little sister. Okoye belongs in the Badass Ladies Hall of Fame alongside Diana of Themyscira, and Gurira has such presence onscreen. I'd be remiss not to mention Lupita Nyong'o and Angela Bassett, too, whose characters show that Wakanda is an advanced civilization in more ways than just technology.

Another standout was Winston Duke's M'Baku, who shows a range of character growth in a short period of time. And Michael B. Jordan was killer (heh) as Erik Kilmonger; charismatic and intelligent, he's the kind of villain who makes it easy to see why some people root for the bad guys.

The characters aren't the only thing I liked about Black Panther, mind you. I was also super impressed with the variety of African cultures the filmmakers incorporated into the movie. The settings and costumes were absolutely stunning, and helped Wakanda skyrocket up my list of fictional places I'd love to visit. In a visual sense, Black Panther is more akin to the Guardian of the Galaxy movies and Thor: Ragnarok than the other main Avengers films. It's a delight for the senses.

I couldn't be happier than Black Panther is doing so well, and I really hope Hollywood takes note. (They'd be stupid not to, but ... you know.) Have you seen it yet? If not, what are you waiting for?!

Check it out:

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