‘Black Panther’ dominates silver screen

By Mackenzi Butson

Director Ryan Coogler depicts modern influence in the classic Marvel style with 2018’s blockbuster “Black Panther.” With any movie in the Marvel universe, there is a massive following of people of all ages. Fans have high expectations for each Marvel movie, but Coogler went above those expectations with stunning ambition. It’s safe to say he delivered “Black Panther” to the silver screen with a gold-earning reception.

The day after its Feb. 16 debut, “Black Panther” grossed over $122 million worldwide while utilizing a budget of $200 million, according to Box Office Mojo. With such a steep budget, it’s reasonable to assume a film would take time to return profits, but I speculate “Black Panther” may skyrocket in earnings before the month is over.

“Black Panther” is full of visually stunning science-fiction cinematography, great choreography, vibrant costumes and top-of-the-shelf special effects. The film is a visual masterpiece, but it’s important to note the underlying themes within the narrative.

The plot roars of social consciousness, as it depicts reclusive Wakandan society to be highly advanced, while staying rooted in tradition. A major conflict in the intricately woven plot is the tension that comes with balancing progressiveness and tradition. T’Challa, played by Chadwick Boseman, becomes the king of Wakanda and subsequently the Black Panther, after the death of his father. 

Because of his important role in preserving and protecting his people, T’Challa is heavily guarded by strong female warriors: Okoye, played by Danai Gurira, Ramonda, played by Angela Bassett and Shuri, played by Letitia Wright. These female warriors are presented as being highly regarded and fierce leaders. Having such strong female characters blasts the “damsel in distress” archetype right out of Wakanda.

Not only is “Black Panther” empowering women, but it touches on political and racial issues. Coogler plants brilliant depictions of the refugee crisis, inequality and racial empowerment within the superhero smash-box aesthetic. The film represents a strengthening in today’s pop culture through exemplary revolutionary themes and implores its audience to “stay woke.”

I would highly recommend this film to any Marvel enthusiast, action or science-fiction lover and viewer in search of a visually stimulating and socially relevant film. If you are gearing up for Marvel’s “Infinity War,” “Black Panther” is a must-see.