Anti-Black Panther Campaign Is About Racism, Not Harmless Fanboys

07 February, 2018, 01:19 | Author: Miranda Cannon
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As the embargo lifted at noon Tuesday for reviews of "Black Panther", the first wave of criticism brought a torrent of superlatives for Ryan Coogler's cultural event of a Marvel movie, which opens February 16. Someone had to approve it. Hundreds of thousands of dollars had to be spent to render something that, in any other movie, would just be "space blue". The costume work in this movie is some of the bravest, most artful choices in any film of recent memory.

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Becoming king, however, brings its share of challenges - top among them determining Wakanda's proper role in the wider world, and facing a threat in the form of Erik Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan, who starred in Coogler's "Rocky" sequel, "Creed"), a villain with an intricate back story of his own. A film like "Black Panther" - a dynamic action film with a focused, timely message - is what keeps this ever-growing franchise fresh. Credible, fun and rewarding, Black Panther chapter 18 in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, is a must-see film. Oh yes, if you're going to do the first black superhero movie of the modern era, this is how you do it. Cinematographer Rachel Morrison became the first woman to be nominated in that category this year for her work on Mudbound, and while she shoots Black Panther with aplomb, it's likely lit too much like most other Marvel movies to stand out.

Around 30 black characters have donned the lycra for the big screen since the early 1990s, including Marvel's Falcon (Anthony Mackie since 2014), Wesley Snipes's titular vampire hunter in Blade (1998) and Halle Berry's Kenyan princess Storm in four X-men movies.

Seated in the row behind prolific author Tananarive Due and Entertainment Weekly columnist Anthony Brenzican, I was excited to share my thoughts about what we were about to experience. Lupita Nyong'o's Nakia, Letitia Wright's Shuri, and Danai Gurira's Okoye support the film in their own ways. Boseman, who plays T'Challa in the film, says, "The idea that T'Challa is the leader of a nation that is most technologically advanced on the continent of Africa, is an intriguing notion to a lot of people. I'd eat six times a day". I shamefully started crying during the Dora Milaje fight scenes because it felt so good to see black women, of all shapes, be warriors, and be loved.

Daniel Kaluuya, who was recently nominated for Best Actor at the Oscars for the groundbreaking horror "Get Out" believes that "Black Panther" has the same elements to break the boundaries of cinema. But now we have a director who knows how to handle a budget and actors who know how to step up to the occasion and we have an audience that wants to see themselves and an audience that wants to see us.

Also in the mix is Martin Freeman as a buffoonish Federal Bureau of Investigation agent Everett Ross while back at Wakandia the cast if filled out by Lupita Nyong'o as top spy / T'Challa's love interest Nakia, Angela Bassett as his mother and Get Out's Daniel Kaluuya as T'Challa's best friend, W'Kabi.



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