Does Black Panther live up to the hype which has been building for months? In a word – yes! There are no noticeable missteps from the acting, the story, the action to the costumes and cinematography. Of course, Chadwick Boseman does fine as the Black Panther (T’Challa), but a little of his thunder is stolen by Michael B. Jordan as his nemesis Erik Killmonger.
The list goes on of the men, including the director and co-writer, Ryan Coogler who add to the brilliance of Black Panther, but the real stars of the story for me were the women.
I can not recall a movie which has celebrated the intelligence, loyalty, and strength of African American women in the way seen in this film. In other movies, they have spotlighted our resilience, kindness, empathy and how smart we are. But in Black Panther, to be portrayed as the Dora Milaje, warriors dedicated to protecting the king, takes it to another level. For a change, we are not merely the kindhearted, wise friend or housekeeper. But having the women in this position of power reflects a different worldview of how women, in general, are seen, and undoubtedly for African American women.
Only time will tell how seeing powerful women such as Okoye (Danai Gurira) leading an elite military team or a tech genius such as the young princess Shuri (Letitia Wright) will shape how the way little Black girls see themselves and what they can become.
Another winning formula in this movie is the celebration of Africa and African culture. Wakanda, the fictional African country, is a place you want to visit and experience. How many times have you seen a movie showcases anywhere in Africa portrayed as a potential travel destination? Go ahead and name one, I will wait?
Finally, the deliberate process Ruth E. Carter used in designing the costumes in Black Panther adds to the richness of the film. Carter in earlier interviews has shared that ancient African tribes inspired the outfits of the different tribes. Carter said she drew inspiration from the leatherwork of South Africa, the reds and golds used by the Maasai tribe and much more. But Carter also did not want to make these women female versions of male warriors; their beauty is never diminished.
Bottomline, there are so many reasons to see this movie – it is a film and cultural experience not to miss.