Students react to the message behind Marvel’s new movie

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Students react to the message behind Marvel’s new movie

Lina Al Taii, Entertainment Editor

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High expectations were set for Director Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther. The movie reached great success and continues to astound students.
“I went to watch Black Panther with my friends on opening day,” senior Meron Samuel said. “It was a great experience for me because the movie embraced African roots and it’s very rare to find such a big picture movie, nowadays, that actually portrays African culture in the right way. I liked how the movie portrayed black women as powerful.”
Black Panther revolves around a fictional country in Africa named Wakanda. The nation was struck by a meteorite that contained a powerful substance called Vibranium, which ultimately created the Black Panther.
Chadwick Boseman does a jaw-dropping job of playing this role. From accents to facial expressions throughout the movie, his character T’Challa was played remarkably well.
“The most influential part of the movie to me was when we see Erik Killmonger and his motives for why he wanted to be king,” senior Danielle Barrett said. “I also liked when T’Challa was almost killed and everyone thought he was going to die, but he turned out to be alive in the end.”
There was some controversy over the use of Michael B. Jordan as Erik Killmonger.
Erik, the antagonist, is of Wakandan descent, but he grew up in America. Many people said that Jordan was not “African enough” for the role.
However, this was not the first time Coogler has worked with Michael B. Jordan. They previously worked together on another award-winning movie, Fruitvale Station, where Michael B. Jordan played the role of Oscar Grant in the remake of his death.
Daniel Kaluuya, who previously acted in Get Out, was also in this movie, but he had a minor role. His involvement helped bring recognition to the movie.
Why is it better than any other Marvel movie? A combination of good acting alongside popular actors, and a realistic portrayal of black people in film.
Marvel movies have consistently featured all white casts and lead roles. However, Coogler has taken this film as an opportunity to showcase minority cultures, and the success of this film is unprecedented. To date, the lifetime gross of Black Panther has exceeded expectations, reaching a whopping $920 million worldwide.
For the film to be breaking records like this, it definitely has made an impact on people and how they view the film industry.
“I thought it was a really important movie for black people to see,” Barrett said. “Black Panther showcases that we can be superheroes in our own right and it was a great way to celebrate black culture.”
Black Panther, unlike other movies on black culture, steers clear of stereotypes and prejudice.
Many movies made in the Western Hemisphere about Africa like to portray a poor and struggling continent. Black Panther, however, didn’t even glance to wards that plot line.
“I loved how it showed the independence of African culture and how many other cultures actually steal parts of African culture,” Samuel said.
This film not only tackles black struggles, but it emphasizes the power of black women.
“The most influential part of the movie to me was the portrayal of the women warriors,” Samuel said. “Because they really had their own ideas and their own processes to go by, they weren’t told by anyone how to act.”
Black Panther has reached levels of success similar to other superhero movies such as Dark Knight ($1b in 2008), The Dark Knight Rises ($1.1b in 2012), Captain America: Civil War ($1.1b in 2016), Iron Man 3 ($1.2b in 2013), Avengers: Age of Ultron ($1.4b in 2015) and The Avengers ($1.5b in 2012).
This success is setting a great example for movies in the future which focus on different minorities.
“The whole movie was really influential and it really made its mark because there aren’t a lot of black superhero movies,” junior Maisha Maliha said. “The fact that it was so successful kind of set the precedent for more movies including minorities in general.”
Even more, minority students are looking to Black Panther as a message that movies can include anyone, even someone who looks like them.
The message of inclusion is important in film, because many movies feature all white actors and actresses.
“I’d like to see more Bengali people, because I’m Bengali. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a Bengali actress in Hollywood,” Maliha said.
Black Panther has made a strong impact on the ideas behind representation of minorities in film. For students who have grown up their whole life watching all-white films and/or blaxploitation films, Black Panther has opened doors and opportunities for more minority inclusion in film.
“The film industry until now has always depicted Africa as poor and dirty,” Barrett said. “But this movie celebrated Africa and showed a vibrant and amazing Africa. It created a completely different depiction from the troubled Africa that movies usually show.”
The movie has broken numerous records already and will continue breaking more as theatres across the country and the world are still selling out this movie’s show time.