Black Panther surpasses all expectations in opening weekend in theaters

By Isabel Paris || Contributing Writer

Photo courtesy of www.hdqwalls.com.

Black Panther directed by Ryan Coogler has smashed any expectation of how the public was going to react. The film has obliterated records, becoming the fifth-highest opening film ever, third-highest gross for a four-day opening weekend (Box Office Mojo) and has earned more than the rival set of DC films such as Justice League. This film has not only made new records but has also begun a new conversation about the film and its incredible cast and story.

Over the past few years, people have been feeling bored by these superhero movies, with the same origin story and similar plot events that no longer spark excitement amongst the viewers. However, Black Panther removes this stigma and brings an originality to the film that has not been seen for some time. The film no longer has just light comedy with heavy action but includes real drama and fantastical chords that have not yet been seen in the other Marvel movies. While many films of the Marvel cinematic universe continue with the same idea of a hero being able to stop a threat from occurring and what they can do to prevent change whether positive or negative to happen in the world. Coogler manages to create contrasts of good and evil between the main characters T’Challa, played by Chadwick Boseman, and the villain Killmonger, played by Michael B. Jordan. Killmonger feeling like a lost son of Wakanda wants revenge for feeling disconnected from his heritage while T’Challa is wanting cooperation with the rest of the world instead of the secrecy that has been kept for decades. Unlike other Marvel films, Coogler intentionally never allows for the audience to find any easy solution. This allows the movie to point into the world and the political atmosphere that surrounds the public.

The movie also brings a change of pace with a largely black cast with many women being portrayed as heroes instead of sidekicks. The mythical metal vibranium that is from Wakanda metaphorically brings back heritage to black culture. This movie allows the idea that, however, Africa as a nation had been stripped of all its precious metals because of slavery. The theme of vibranium being a precious metal that is in a country that was seen as having little left brings back the sense of power and strength to the country. The president of Marvel Studios, Kevin Feige, said in an interview with USA that they wanted to “stay true to the original comic book.” When Black Panther was first written in the 1960s it was very controversial because it created a black man who was smarter, richer, from a country more technologically advanced than the USA, and was a stronger hero than what America had first considered as a typical hero. Coogler and Feige both agreed that the film would remain loyal to the comic book and also bringing in stronger female characters such as Nakia, played by Lupita Nyong’o, and Okoye, played by Danai Gurira. These two characters especially are seen as fierce and loyal fighters to T’Challa and are not sidekicks but are allowed their own story’s to be told.

Black Panther has become a global phenomenon with its interweaving of comedy, drama, politics, and of course action! The film finally brings something new to the Marvel movies that has been lacking over the past few years and as the movies continue, we can only hope as viewers that the other franchises take this as a hint for later ideas.

First-year Isabel Paris is a Contributing Writer. Her email is iparis@fandm.edu.

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