Groundbreaking sales, sold out theaters, and historic moments in cinematic history. These are just some of the things Marvel’s Black Panther manage to accomplish this past opening weekend, making the superhero movie one of the most praised and talked about of the year. Black Panther came out nationwide on Friday, Feb. 16, to ecstatic fans dressed in African garb, and suits resembling King Jaffe Joffer from the 1980s classic Coming to America. According to Forbes.com the film earned a record breaking $235m over the three-to-four day weekend, making it the the fifth biggest opening in movie history. It also blew away the record for the largest opening for an African-American director, Ryan Coogler.
The film served as a great representation for black people from all ethnicities and cultures, with a predominantly black cast including acting heavyweights Michael B. Jordan (Creed, Fantastic Four, Fruitvale Station etc.) Chadwick Boseman (42, Get on up, Captain America: Civil war), Oscar winning actress Lupita Nyong’o (12 Years a Slave, Queen of Katwe, and Star Wars: The Force Awakens). It also manages to highlight black people in a positive, non stereotypical light. Portraying us as scientists, superheros, and powerful world leaders. Alyssa Dudley a junior here at Timber Creek, who saw the Marvel movie over the weekend, with her family said that the movie “shows that [Black culture] is making a breakthrough and gradually beating the race barrier” with its strong representation. Black Panther also showcased women, particularly Black women in a very favorable way as well.
All the women from the Queen (played by Angela Bassett) to the general Okoye (played by Danai Gurira ) are portrayed as smart, strong, powerful, and independent women who don’t have to rely on the men, for help. The movie was filled with astonishing fight sequences, that were entirely led by women. The person in charge of the weapons and technology was T’challa’s (Black Panther) sister Shuri, who also can kick major butt. “ I really liked that there was no sexism in the movie.” Alyssa says. “The women never relied on the men and…I really enjoyed how a woman was able to comprehend and develop [technology] that her population relied on.”
Black panther also has an album released, called Black Panther: The Album. The album was produced by Grammy winning rapper Kendrick Lamar and features the likes of artists, such as SZA, Jorja Smith, Schoolboy Q, The Weeknd, and more. Black Panther: The Album has proven to be a hit too, hitting No.1 on the album charts.
Recently we have seen successful movies and shows like CoCo, Grown-ish, and upcoming fantasy film, A Wrinkle in Time, feature people of color and their cultures in ways typically not shown throughout the media. Hollywood is trying change the negative stereotypes that have surrounded people of different races for centuries, and showcasing them not as a criminal, drug dealer, and/or rapist.
As for the future Alyssa hopes that the movie served as a gateway to movies and will appease to different races and populations and so do I.