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Black Panther Movie: Its Effect in Hollywood

Serena Tran and Parker Casey, Freshmen Writers

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As many continue to fight for representation in the media, Black Panther takes the lead in representing the indigenous youth of Africa. This movie not only portrays strength and courage, it portrays diversity. The 2018 film, Black Panther, focuses on superhero T’Challa, also known as Black Panther, who returns home to the fictional city of Wakanda in Central Africa, residence to the most versatile metal—Vibranium. After the death of his father, he must take his place as king; however, when he returns, a powerful enemy appears, and his title as king and Black Panther are tested. The Black Panther was first introduced by Marvel in theaters during Captain America: Civil War. During the movie, we got to know a small portion of Black Panther, played by Chadwick Boseman, and where he is from. This movie is not only loved for its action-packed plot but for the representation it displays.

 

This film made sure to give many opportunities for African-American celebrities. The cast is mainly made up of black actors and actresses, the director is African-American, and the songs included in the film were written by African-American singers. According to the director Ryan Coogler, as a kid, he hung out at a comic book shop near his school; he read about many superheroes who looked nothing like him. As stated by Coogler, “as I got older, I wanted to find a comic book character that looked like me and not just one that was on the sidelines. And I walk in and ask the guy at the desk that day, and say, ‘Hey man, you got any comic books here about black people, you know, like with a black superhero?’ And he was like, ‘Oh, yeah, as a matter of fact, we got this one.’” Coogler was handed a copy of Black Panther, and today, he is the director of the Marvel adaption of the comic book character, Black Panther.

 

Black Panther has broken many records even before the movie even came out. They had sold more pre-purchased movie tickets than any other superhero movie. Black Panther has topped all other Marvel films with a score of 97% on Rotten Tomatoes and received Marvel’s second A+ CinemaScore. The film earned $75.8 million on Friday, February 16, 2018, and was expected to make history by being on track to earn $205-210 million during President’s Day weekend, 2018. Through Sunday, February 18, 2018, Black Panther made $192 million in North America plus $169 million internationally. This is also the first ever superhero movie starring a black actor, which shows a big step in the growing film industry. This movie has gotten much recognition from celebrities all around as well:

Actress Christine Adams posted, “Step aside. This week we make #blackhistory. This film is already a success. Proud of these beautiful brown actors. Their passion, focus, craft, and pride is an inspiration. I remember when there could only be ‘one black actor’. This weekend could not come fast enough for me!”

Kenyan leader and politician, Raila Odinga, tweeted, “Let us all celebrate the achievements of African actors and actresses and thank them for putting us on the global map. #BlackPanther  #KingdomOfWakanda”.

Black Lives Matters Cofounder, Patrisse Cullors, wrote about the cultural shift in Hollywood—and in America, that Black Panther has created. In an essay, Cullors wrote, “I can’t describe the feeling one gets when they see themselves represented… Whether it’s on TV or on social media, young black girls have historically been represented by the white gaze. But this time Wakanda doesn’t just highlight black cis men; it also gives room and space for black women, presented as complicated, brilliant, flawed people—and most important, presented as superheroes.”

Former first lady, Michelle Obama, tweeted, “Congrats to the entire #blackpanther team! Because of you, young people will finally see superheroes that look like them on the big screen. I loved this movie and I know it will inspire people of all backgrounds to dig deep and find the courage to be heroes of their own stories.”

This movie has not only gotten attention from the media but from DePaul Prep students as well. When asked about their opinion of the movie, students responded:

“I CAN’T WAIT TO SEE IT!! My parents are even taking me to see it because it’s an almost all black cast for the first time (me being black) so it’s supposed to be a very empowering movie altogether. I’m personally just excited because I love superheroes but the fact that it’s a black cast (Black Panther – black cast) makes it that much better! :)” – Kennedy Hummons (9)

“Ok so, I like the cast, there’s no problem with the cast they have, but it’s more like a movement to the black power to me. I also see the movie somewhat inspirational to certain groups or individual people and it has a lot of history that we can learn from because I’ve looked more into the movie and if you pay attention they say a lot of quotes that’s been said in the past. Most of all, I feel like people should watch this movie to learn about some historical facts.” – Anonymous

“The movie is great, it makes me feel great. I love that there are black people, it’s a great and inspiring movie.” – Aaron Holton (9)

After seeing the actual film, we have to say it was phenomenal. The scenery in most shots was gorgeous, and they really brought the movie together. The actors and actresses portray their characters with such passion and strength. The main attention grabber to us was the portrayal of women and the African culture. The women in this movie were absolutely stunning, and they weren’t just female characters who needed saving; the women were strong, empowering characters who brought energy to the table. The women were well respected as the men would kneel to them. They were also powerful warriors who defended the king. There was so much portrayal of culture as well; the setting, customs, costumes, and accessories brought the focus of the people and their lifestyle. The scenes had the perfect timing for either comedic or serious sequence. There were so many intense scenes that had you on the edge of your seat, but also hilarious comments (especially from T’Challa’s sister, Shuri, played by Letitia Wright) and actions that made the audience erupt in laughter. All in all, we definitely recommend this movie, 10/10.

 

The message behind Black Panther is inspiring new movements for future generations. This film, as well as the 2017 film, Wonder Woman, are creating new bold, beautiful, and fierce characters who are changing the movie industry as we speak. We have seen the impact through how much hype the movie has gotten, even before the movie had come out and the revenue that the movie brought in. We now have large superhero movies featuring a female and black lead role, but it is only the start of future films starring more people of color and women.

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Black Panther Movie: Its Effect in Hollywood