Movie Review: Black Panther: Another Marvel Civil War
There has been a lot of noise and brouhaha about Black Panther and one might wonder if it is worth it but I think it is kind of worth it. Yes, it is worthy of noise and hype. Black Panther is the first black Marvel hero black movie and is largely dominated by black people. The science fiction/fantasy/action movie is one of it kind, it is somewhat different from every superhero movie that has hit the mainstream. It isn’t just black but African. Coming out of Nollywood, one would expect that it will be another African-American making which will represent an African superhero because it is black. However, this goes beyond the colour of skin, it delves into African cultural dimension. From language, fashion and even accent. That was a major astonishment from me. I didn’t expect that this powerful character doesn’t speak like an African American but his cousin did as he ushers us into an African American lifestyle.
We had a clue of the black panther in Captain America; Civil War when T’Challa lost his father to an explosion in a world leader summit. This particular event unleashes the Black Panther who was in search of the winter soldier. Then we realised that the Black Panther is a worthy match for Captain American. It is surprising to know that Black Panther was created in the 1960’s but actually came into pre-eminence this year though the anticipation of the movie began about late 2016. Black Panther borrows one of African’s most disturbing news, which is the Chibok Girls Kidnap in Maiduguri, Nigeria. Lupita N’yong was a spy among the kidnapped girls and unveiled her identity to save a child soldier recruited in the militia.
The movie centres on the challenges the right heir to the throne of Wakanda has to face coupled with righting the wrong of the father. T’Challa was about to be inaugurated as king and wanted Nakia, an espionage agent to be there during his inauguration. He had to intercept her filed operation where he encounters some group of militia kidnappers that led to a mind-blowing action scene. He informed her of his inauguration as king and the death of his father. Kenyan Lupita Nyong’o played the role of Nakia.
However, before the inauguration, there is a ritual that permits an open contest of a one-on-one fight among the royal bloodline to battle the throne with the rightful heir. Surprisingly, the Jabari Tribe’s leader, M’Baku contested and lost at the mercy of T’Challa who spare his life at an accepted defeat.
Wakanda intel had it that a piece of vibranium had been stolen from a British museum by Klaue who plans to sell it to CIA agent Everett K. Ross in South Korea. A meeting was summoned among the royals and security chiefs of Wakanda to capture Klaue, dead or alive. T’Challa, Okoye and Nakia embarked on the operation in South Korea where the meeting place turned violent and led to the pursuit of Klaue. After taking out his men in a stunning action-filled sequel, Klaue was captured and released to Agent Ross.
During the interrogation, Klaue’s men alongside the arch-rival, Killmonger broke through with an explosion from the wall to rescue Klaue which was successful and led to the death of many agents and Ross took a hit with a broken spinal cord, for Nakia. A masked man shot T’Challa during an attempt to halt the rescue mission. He was shocked that the masked man hung on his neck a Wakanda royal ring held by a neck chain.
On their way back to Wakanda, Okoye had a disagreement with T’Challa and Nakia over bringing Ross to Wakanda, as it breaks their isolationist ideology. Ross was made whole the next day by Shuri, T’Challa younger sister who was the head of technology in Wakanda. Ross was amazed and doubted how fast he was healed in just a day after he was shocked. He was awed at the magnificent technology and wonder of vibranium he saw.
Prior to the capture operation, T’Challa and Shuri were in the lab testing the Blank Panther outfit. Shuri which was played by Letitia Wright had a wonderful connection with T’Challa. The brother-sister chemistry was on point, the viewers can feel the relations.
Back at Wakanda, T’Challa confronted Zuri that he encountered a man with a Wakanda ring to know what really happened to his uncle, N’Jobu who was said to have disappeared. Zuri with compassion and regret broke an oath of secrecy to T’Challa father, T’Chaka. He revealed they had a disagreement when N’jobu wanted to use vibranium to liberate people of colour which was against Wakanda’s law. The former king took his life when he attempted to kill Zuri and abandoned his son, Erik. Erik became a U.S. black ops soldier, adopting the name “Killmonger”. Meanwhile, Killmonger killed Klaue and took his body to Wakanda. He is brought before the tribal elders, revealing his identity and claim to the throne.
T’Challa tried to pacify Erik but he refused which led to the ritual combat. During the fight, it was obvious that Erik had exhausted T’Challa which prompted Zuri intervention, revealing he was the cause of his father’s death. This bittered Erik who stabbed Zuri and hurl T’Challa off the waterfall for dead.
After the fight, Nakia, Angela Bassett as Ramonda, T’Challa mother, Ross and Shuri took to flight fearing for what may become of them as Killmonger is king. Okoye refused to join the camp, which she refused saying, due to her absolute allegiance to the throne. After the initiation as king, Erik ordered that blue luminous herbs be burnt, a plant for the initiation. During the burning, Nakia sneaked into the garden and stole one of the herbs. The trio headed to the Jabari’s to plead with M’Baku to contest in a royal combat with Erik. M’Baku, however, took the four to T’Challa who was saved by the tribal fishermen who found him at the riverside. They were stunned to see that he survived and was feed the herb that was prepared by his mum.
This led to his trance with his father welcoming him to the afterlife. He refused the welcome, stating he needs to go back to correct his father’s wrong. Back to reality, he pleaded for an alliance with M’Baku and his kinsmen, starting afresh new relations under his reign. Moreover, what will become of the Jabari people with a people as Erik as king.
Erik had begun the deployment of military vibranium to African descent which met it opposition when an aircraft was taken down. Then, Wakanda began a war against itself. Okoye was forced to fight against Erik, Killmonger. Thus, it was the Black Panther, the four, Okoye and her Amazon warriors against Killmonger and W’Kabi and his men. W’kabi later surrenders at the will of his lover, Okoye who was ready to take him out at the expense of Wakanda. Ross had successfully flown a plane that took out the aircrafts that were on course to deliver the weapons.
Meanwhile, the Blank Panther and Killmonger who bore a prototype of the Black Panther armour were engaged in a fierce fight at the vibranium mine. Black Panther successful stabbed Killmonger who refused healing, to die free than be incarcerated. T’Challa establishes an outreach centre at the building where N’Jobu died to be run by Nakia and Shuri.
Africa is somewhat perceived to be patriarchal in nature which isn’t in many of her societies, Black Panther changes the perspective courtesy of the most powerful warrior in Wakanda. I hope this will erase the present leadership system and usher in one full of youth, vibrancy and statesmanship that bores the responsibility of correcting the past, healing the wounds and leading to the future. It also emphasises the relevance of the guide and consultation of elders and the need to strengthen relations, starting afresh for the good of tomorrow.
The African fashion statement is rare, unique and new to the world; it is a wonder and one to marvel at. The makers of the movies made a pan-Africanist approach to African multi-cultural display, showing forth how compatible Africa’s diversity can work together. While South Africa’s isiXhosa is the second language spoken in the film besides English, Nsibidi — an ancient Nigerian system of symbols – is one of Wakanda’s two written languages. “It was a process of trying to pay homage to lost languages, but also infusing the idea of Afrofuturism of reclaiming languages lost.”
Chadwick Boseman as T’Challa was spot on, Michael B Jordan as Killmonger was indeed arrogant and ‘lacked loved’, Lupita Nyong’o as Nakia was amazing, Winston Duke as M’Baku spiced it up with a perfect measure of humour, Angela Bassett as the Queen mother brought in some class, Letitia Wright as Shuri though new, was appealing and had that aura. Danai Gurira as Okoye reminded me of her fierceness in ‘The Walking Dead’ and she fitted in as the leader of the army. I think she should feature in more action movies. The cast was good enough for me.
The Black Panther is a unifying ground for black people around the world irrespective of the diaspora factor. There is a need for coloured people around the world to unify, protect themselves and earn respect; to earn respect, not as a competitor or for revenge but as equals with other races. Notwithstanding, it will be meaningful if we can assuage into the lives of the revolutionary and get in line with their standpoint. Killmonger isn’t a villain as such and black panther was caught in the line of ancestral mistake. It would be lovely if we can talk as a people amongst ourselves and forge ahead.
The anticipation, hype and buzz was worth it. Now that we have a feel of Afrofuturism, the time is now. Let’s make it a reality