‘Black Panther’: Superheroes and Social Commentary

Our Ryan Doyle analyzes the hottest movie out right now.



Ryan Doyle, Editor-in-chief

Marvel Studios’ “Black Panther” changes the superhero genre. Although it features over-the-top action scenes and extravagant characters, the African-centric film brings much-needed diversity to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

After a short appearance in “Captain America: Civil War,” the mysterious Black Panther had Marvel fans wondering about his background. As the hype continued to grow for the movie, the African-American community latched onto the film and has led the movie to flirt with record-breaking numbers.

The largely black cast is a major change for what has mostly been white superheroes since Iron Man released in 2008. The diverse cast has made headlines and seeing African actors be pushed to the forefront is something the superhero genre has needed.

Director Ryan Coogler (Creed, Fruitvale Station) solidified his status as a top director in Hollywood. His largely black cast were masterful in what many will consider to be a top MCU film.

As the lead, Chadwick Boseman fits his role of T’Challa, the king of Wakanda to perfection. He is not like the typical superhero with an over the top personality and cheesy lines. In contrast, he is a soft-spoken leader who has his fellow protagonists do that for him.

On the other hand, Erik Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan) is an American in the midst of a revenge plot to bring Wakanda’s unique secrets to the rest of the world. Killmonger was a tremendous villain. It’s clear that he will go down in the pantheon of antagonists in the MCU. His strong military background and his rare intellect separates him from the pack.

Another acting performance to note was that of Andy Serkis. Typically, Serkis is doing voiceover acting and wearing motion capture gear for his roles as Golem and Caesar. However, in “Black Panther,” he was tremendous. It was a welcomed sight to see Serkis’ face on the big screen.

As a superhero movie buff, “Black Panther” felt different. Now 18 movies in, I know what to expect when I walk into the theatre, but I was pleasantly surprised with this film. It had extremely strong character development and the due to the movie taking place in Africa, it took the MCU where it has never been before.

The shots of the savanna and the beauty of Wakanda are going to live with me for a long time. Coogler created so many unique peoples and it felt like the viewer was ingesting a ton of information about African culture.

The mythology and secrets regarding Wakanda were very alluring. The made-up country isn’t something you expect to see in Africa. With advanced technology and many different tribes, it is a hidden masterpiece. Hopefully, it gets even more attention in the next “Avengers” film.

“Black Panther” also did a phenomenal job stressing social issues. The movie begins during the height of the L.A. riots and ends with Killmonger mentioning the slave trade. It displays the black struggle in not only America, but the world. At times, the movie draws to racial problems in a subtle way. However, some lines are so powerful that you really need a moment to digest their power.

With “Avengers: Infinity War” around the corner, “Black Panther” is the perfect way to get fans hyped.