Category Archives: Movie Review

Black Panther Movie Themes Review Series

BLACK PANTHER MOVIE – THEMES REVIEW SERIES

BlackPantherMoviePoster

Over the past two weeks, I have written 10 blog posts which review a number of themes from the Disney-Marvel Studios movie, Black Panther, which just released on February 16, 2018.

This 10-part review collection is called, Wakanda Forever! Below are the links to each post so you can easily access them all in one place.

Feel free to share your thoughts and insights on the film and how they relate to these posts.

Wakanda Forever: Part 1: What Our Generation Needs

Wakanda Forever: Part 2: Black is Beautiful

Wakanda Forever: Part 3: The Tragedy of Disconnection

Wakanda Forever: Part 4: What Could Have Been…

Wakanda Forever: Part 5: Strong Women

Wakanda Forever: Part 6: Ancestor Worship and the Bible

Wakanda Forever: Part 7: Systemic Oppression in America

Wakanda Forever: Part 10

Wakanda Forever: Part 10 – Yes We Can!

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So, here we are at the end of this 10-part movie review. My original intent was to write 1-3 posts on various issues Black Panther raises, but compulsion overtook me!

Why do I love this movie so much? What’s this sense of euphoria, this sense of excitement, possibility, hope and pride?  I had felt this before a few years back, but couldn’t nail down when exactly that was. It took a few days to mull it over and then it hit me while talking with my wife:

 

“The last time I felt like this was when Barack Obama ran for president the first time!”

That sense of ‘Yes We Can!’ was almost tangible. Before then, the political system seemed defunct. But when Obama ran, I felt like I was a part of a movement that was much bigger than me. My vote mattered. Change was possible.

Wakanda Forever: Part 9

Wakanda Forever: Part 9 – Mastering Your Craft

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I think the core of Black Panther is about mastery: the mastery of self, one’s community and the world at large. By mastery, I am not talking about having the freedom to independently run one’s life in isolation. Erik had that freedom and we see how that ended for him. But I mean to learn to build one’s life within the supportive confines of community. Mastery is defined as, “a comprehensive knowledge of a skill or subject matter.”

We see this definition wonderfully represented, visually, in the Kingdom of Wakanda itself. The nation of Wakanda is an example of what can happen when a group of people learn how to humble themselves before each other. They do so in order to serve the greater good of the whole, while propelling each person to be the best they can be.

Wakanda Forever: Part 8

Wakanda Forever: Part 8 – We Are One Tribe

TChalla_UnitedNationsSpeech If you left as soon as the credits started rolling at the end of #BlackPanther, then you missed two additional scenes which help to set up Avengers: Infinity War, which releases in May. The first additional scene, which will be talked about in this post is of the Wakandan delegation visiting the United Nations.

King T’Challa, Nakia, Okoye and Ayo, take the stage in front of a packed auditorium of eager participants. T’Challa speaks about opening Wakanda up to the world. Here is part of what he says:

“Wakanda will no longer watch from the shadows. We can not. We must not. We will work to be an example of how we, as brothers and sisters on this earth, should treat each other. Now, more than ever, the illusions of division threaten our very existence. We all know the truth: more connects us than separates us. But in times of crisis the wise build bridges, while the foolish build barriers. We must find a way to look after one another, as if we were one single tribe.”

Wakanda Forever: Part 7

Wakanda Forever: Part 7: – Systemic Oppression in America

BlackPantherMoviePoster EYES WIDE OPENED…

After the opening sequence, the Black Panther movie picks up in 1992 with Prince N’Jobu stationed in Oakland, California as a War Dog Spy. We don’t know how long he has been there, but his son (whom he had from an American woman he fell in love with) seems to be about 8 years old. So, N’Jobu has most likely been in America for around 10 years or so.

He arrived in the U.S. from Wakanda with his eyes “wide open.” He knew who he was: a prince of royal blood with a deep connection to his country, tradition and spirituality. His mission, was to observe and report back to his brother, King T’Chaka, and the council, what he discovered about how blacks were treated in America.

Wakanda Forever: Part 6

Wakanda Forever: Part 6 – Ancestor Worship and the Bible

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The #BlackPanther movie showcased the spirituality of the people of Wakanda. I believe this aspect of the story shows how important it is to remember that we stand on the shoulders of those who came before us. No one is a “self-made” person. We all have a past which stretches back to our ancestors and we should honor their legacy. However, honoring those who came before us and worshipping them are two different things altogether.

A DIFFERENT LENS

As a Christian watching Black Panther, ancestor worship was a point of contention for me. As a follower of Jesus Christ, I rely on the Bible as the final authority about the nature of physical and spiritual reality. It is the “lens” through which I try to view the world. The teachings of Jesus Christ (who-as an aside- is not white) is of the utmost importance to me. So, I hold to be true what the Scriptures say about life (how we are to live) and death (what happens after our earthly life is over).

Wakanda Forever: Part 5

Wakanda Forever: Part 5 – Strong Women

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I’ll be honest, after seeing #BlackPanther with my wife, I was ready to buy her a spear and the Dora Milaje warrior outfit! Shaving her hair is optional, but the elite warriors surely made an impression.

SOMEBODY HELP ME!

There are no “damsels in distress” in this movie. It was refreshing to see women acting from a position of strength rather than weakness. Many of these female characters did what we would stereotypically reserve for men. This movie demonstrated what many of us already know, but rarely see celebrated on the big screen: a woman can be emotionally, intellectually, physically and spiritually strong! A woman can have honor and loyalty to self, family, nation and world.  And not just any woman… but a Black woman. And not only were they strong in the film, but the men in their lives had no major problems deferring to their counsel!