REVIEW: ‘Black Panther’ an extraordinary superhero story

There is a place that thrives off its most prominent resource, an elemental ore called Vibranium, which is valued at $10,000 a gram– that’s right, a paper clip’s worth of this stuff is enough to get you big bucks. That place is the sovereign state of Wakanda, the humble abode of the Black Panther.

This place obviously is not real, along with vibranium and the Black Panther, a work of fiction recently turned into a blockbuster film by the Marvel Comics Studio, premiering the weekend following Valentine’s Day.

The movie, directed by director Ryan Coogler, made a record-breaking $200 million that opening weekend, and counting. The movie features an all-star cast, with Chadwick Boseman, Lupita Nyong’o, Michael B. Jordan and Danai Gurira, just to list a few names.

The narrative is centered around T’challa, played by Boseman, the successor of the throne of Wakanda following the death of his father, T’chaka. Along with the title of King comes the role as the Black Panther. As the Black Panther, it is imperative for T’challa to protect and serve Wakanda, by any means necessary.

The situation becomes dire when T’challa apprehends a longtime adversary, Ulysses Klaue, but it turns out that Klaue isn’t the actual threat to Wakanda. Erik Killmonger, son of a Wakandan betrayed by T’chaka, is out for T’challa’s blood and his crown. Killmonger resents Wakanda for abandoning him and his father, and on a larger scale, leaving black people impoverished around the world while Wakandans thrived and prospered. With this in mind, Killmonger sets out to usurp the throne from T’challa and rule by his own means.

Killmonger is no ordinary supervillain. In fact, I would go on to say he fits the archetype of the corrupted hero. His role in the movie speaks volumes on the complexities of the hero vs. villain dichotomy that is central to the superhero movie. He demonstrates virtue and morality not usually displayed by other Marvel villains, depicted by his desire to avenge his father’s death and unite all ethnicities of blacks around the world against the colonizers, otherwise known as white people. Despite colonialism being an outdated reality, Killmonger seeks poetic justice against the descendants of those colonizers that enslaved his fellow man, albeit a warped kind of justice. In other words, he’s gangster AF.

All in all, the movie gets five out of five from me, as it features a superstar cast, superb writing and a beautifully constructed score. I mean, c’mon. When was the last time you heard a trap beat underscore a supervillain in a Marvel movie? Before the movie even premiered, the album “Black Panther The Album Music From And Inspired By,” exclusively produced by Kendrick Lamar, and SZA, and the Weeknd came as a strategic masterpiece of a musical marketing production for the movie itself.