From the very first announcement that Marvel Studios would be producing a solo movie for the much-loved superhero Black Panther, who first featured in Captain America: Civil War, there has been considerable anticipation for this movie. What had me especially hyped was the predominately black cast, front and centre both in the film and on the poster.
Not only is this the first film in the MCU to feature a predominately black cast, but it is one of the very first to feature a man of colour as a superhero; something which has previously been reserved for those of Caucasian race. Not only are black audiences getting long overdue representation, but the power and influence that a superhero can have on the next generation of kids, inspiring them to feel proud about their skin colour and heritage, is phenomenal.
With hashtags on Twitter and Facebook expressing how this cast has made people feel and with children recreating the Black Panther character posters, the impact of this film will only continue to grow.
Black Panther is a film that is not only empowering children and adults all over the world, but it is a film that shows that superheroes don’t have to be white. A black superhero is just as valid as any other superhero. This film will open people’s minds up to something that shouldn’t be classified as different anymore, something that should be the norm. And for this to be shown throughout cinemas all over the world, it truly gives white supremacists the middle finger.
Alongside its black cast, Black Panther is also extraordinary in that it is the first Marvel movie to explore Afrofuturism, bringing to life a beautiful and stunning culture. Set in the advanced but secretive country of Wakanda, Black Panther realises the cultural aesthetic of this movement, subverting and challenging the prototypical sci-fi conventions and stereotypes.
Equal to the representation of the cast, the Afrofuturist aesthetic portrayed in the film also brings to life a completely different representation of Africa. No longer will people be thinking of the continent with their normative judgements, it will be reimaged as a region of power, of vast development and technology. It will give audiences a novel portrayal of Africa and, most importantly, it will influence further films to perhaps come away from standard conventions and depictions to create something spectacular. Something that doesn’t stop at mediocre in clothing, setting, culture, casting but something that goes above and beyond. Something stunning, exceptional, a work of art; something like Black Panther.