When I told my mom I’d seen an advanced screening of Black Panther, she was thrilled that I had the experience and then she hit me with exactly one question.
Did it live up to the hype?
To which I gave her the only suitable reply.
Not even kidding mom- NONE of the hype does it justice.
What Ryan Coogler and his star studded cast have accomplished with this film is nothing short of legendary and will undoubtedly be marked as a cinematic turn in history for it’s accomplishments. The movie achieves that sweet spot oft sought after, yet rarely attained, of being focused but balanced. Of having a strong lean in a particular direction (it’s SO black!), yet having universal appeal. That type of mastery in writing and execution doesn’t just happen and not everybody can do it.It takes someone special.
Need I remind you that Ryan Coogler has exactly three movies to his name?
THREE! And Black Panther is one of them! Yet, here he is demonstrating once more his deft ability to weave magic out of misplaced, forgotten strands.
Black Panther’s afro sensibilities span the diaspora, which I personally appreciated, because anybody who’s been black in America for longer than five minutes knows that blackness comes in so many uncharted dimensions. We got advanced technology African vibes, we got American, we got hood American, we got tribal, we got rural, we got royal, we got culture. In a world that seeks to divide black people based on lineage, geography, and upbringing, Black Panther stepped in to tie all the loose ends together. To show us that we all are all of those things and together, we form this thing called afro-centricity. This thing called blackness.
We are Black Panther.
The action was not wanting in any capacity, matching the adrenaline pumping fury of any spy film ever made. I was also delighted at the seamless integration of the female characters, because they weren’t caricatures. They didn’t put “strong black women” into this movie.
Black women were there because duh, and their strength was an assumed factor. A matter of course. Them not being strong was not even an option and I believe that showcasing Queendom in this organic way will send a reverberating message far and wide to women and men everywhere. A message to just rest in your strength and do what strength does; and if anybody has a problem with it, move them out of your way.
I was excitedly telling my sister about the film (sans spoilers of course) and I said- “You remember how you felt when the lightsaber whipped through the air and thudded into Rey’s palm?” She says yes. That moment was one of untold triumph for her; I’ll never forget the look on her face, the energy in her fist pump, the purity of her joy. “Yeah, well… there’s about 50 of those moments in this movie.”
And I’m not even exaggerating. In that same vein of sisters, Letitia darn near stole the show. Her rendering of genius, little sister as “Shuri” was hilariously enchanting and mind bogglingly accurate Does Ryan have sisters? He has to, right? I don’t know how he nailed it so well. Every time she was onscreen, it just felt right. There was no dissonance. She was the quintessential little sister and the whole crowd was here for it.Ryan have sisters? He has to right? I don’t know how he nailed it so well. Every time she was onscreen, it just felt right. There was no dissonance. She was the quintessential little sister and the whole crowd was here for it.
Michael B. Jordan brought unexpected charm and swagger to his villainous character, Killmonger, and the juxtaposition of him and Chadwick’s majestically carved T’Challa was an absolute delight. It felt… classic. Timeless.Killmonger, and the juxtaposition of him and Chadwick’s majestically carved T’Challa was an absolute delight. It felt… classic. Timeless.
Black Panther is arguably the best work Marvel has ever done.
Let me also just pause here to soak in the sheer BEAUTY saturating the film.So many good looking women and men in all manner of chocolate, and dazzling hairstyles, that it could have easily been a red carpet runway show set to Kendrick’s hypnotizing score. Lol They were STUNNERS! Each and every one.
As a writer, I tip my hat to Ryan again, for not shying away from any parts of the film. He went in and he went deep, hitting hard and fast with poignant moments, and soul cutting dialogue. The mythology is rich, the scenery is enchanting, and- though unabashedly black in the best of ways (seriously- my melanin felt melanated, lol)- it was by no means a movie only black people are supposed to see and enjoy.
And yet, despite its irrevocably, universal appeal, its unchecked blackness will speak to generations.
10 out of 10.
A true masterpiece and I can’t wait for the world to see.
Long live the king.