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Black Panther Is Black Panther really African?

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The movie has been dressed as African and black but

T'challa(Chadwick Boseman) and Killmonger(Michael B Jordan) fighting for the throne. play T'challa(Chadwick Boseman) and Killmonger(Michael B Jordan) fighting for the throne. (ABC News)

Review of Black Panther

Black Panther is a Marvel blockbuster that has been praised as having smashed the box office record with a $218 million haul. So far the Marvel Super-hero movie has earned more than $235 million dollars, a figure that is expected to keep growing with time.

The movie is about crown prince T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) who ascends to power. He inherits the throne after his father King T’Chaka (John Kani) died in a terrorist attack in Captain America: Civil War.

King T’Challa comes home to an economically vibrant yet hidden Wakanda Kingdom, a fictional African country. Wakanda has thrived for many centuries due to the deposit of Vibranium which is the strongest metal in the world.

T’Chala is protected by an elite royal honor guard called Dora Milaje which is headed by the King’s own fierce personal bodyguard Okoye (Danai Gurira). The King is also re-unites with his ex-girlfriend Nakia (Lupita Nyongo) who is also a spy of the Dora Milaje while she is on a mission to expose human traffickers.

As a new King, T’Challa has to prioritise protecting his people through the powers of the Black Panther that is passed down to him from his ancestors. His tech-genius sister Shuri (Letitia Wright) makes him a fully armored suit that is bullet proof.

However the King’s young reign is challenged by an ambitious enemy Erik Killmonger (Michael B Jordan). Killmonger is a highly trained Black ops assassin who specializes in assassinations and regime destabilization. T’Challa has to defend his people and preserve the legacy of the Wakanda Kingdom.

The budget

The budget is said to be $200 million and was put to good use. The movie has amazing graphics, creative apparels designed by Ruth Carter. Hannah Beachler’s designs which encompass tattoos, scarifications and hairstyles further emancipate the African feel.

play Wakanda represents a hidden Kingdom located in Africa. (Syfy)

 

Its storyline is no doubt interesting and hooking and comedy lightens the mood. The fight scenes are well-choreographed though in some places the lighting is wanting.

The technological fiction is no doubt top-notch representing afro-futurism.

Black Panther has also had a successful streak of breaking various records.  For instance Forbes has ranked it as the best solo superhero launch of all time. According to Forbes, Black Panther also has the biggest opening weekend for any movie not directed by a black person. In fact it is said to have had a $404 million launch.

Not yet African

My only major problem with the movie is the fact that it did not tell an African story despite being dressed as African. The whole story represents a future Africa in the eyes of the West.

This is why. As an African, so many things make us African that do not necessarily lean to technology and a western-like art-of –war just to mention a few reasons.

The apparels partly reflect African origin. Yes I agree the music is also African-themed. A huge majority of the cast is black and some like Lupita Nyongo are African-born. I also cannot forget the African accents that the actors and actresses adopt.

A major part of Africa is superstitious and pays homage to their ancestors. Director Ryan Coogler perfectly incorporate this into the movie.

However despite that a few factors could not sway me to overlook the fact that it was a western story clothed in African apparels. A perfect description of a wolf dressed in sheep’s clothing (not the metaphoric meaning).

First and foremost it is rare for any part of Africa to experience winter the way the other continents do. In fact it so not like Africa to be characterized by a stone-cold climate that can be likened to Antarctica. When Nakia decides to go seek help from M’Baku(Winston Duke) to overthrow Killmonger, they have to crisscross heavily through snow and cold.

The reason I think this way is that the film was shot in 14 filming sites across three countries; Argentina, Georgia, Atlanta and Busan, South Korea.

Secondly I am of the opinion that a future Africa is miles away from what is represented in Wakanda. A future Africa will have African-born innovations with African bred developments. When you carefully examine Wakanda you will know that this is a western location full of western ideas.

play Letitia Wright plays Shuri in Black Panther who is a tech-genius (New York Times)

 

In terms of warrior apparels, they should have borrowed a leaf from Nollywood or Shaka Zulu movies.

Lastly the movie is quite has predictable storyline. If you strip off the blackness from it, you lack originality and uniqueness. I am talking about the Asgard kind of uniqueness in the Thor sequels or the Chinese apparels in Chinese movies.

In terms of warrior apparels, they should have borrowed a leaf from Nollywood or Shaka Zulu movies.

Review Rating

I rate Black Panther 3 out of 5

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