This image released by Disney shows Michael B. Jordan, left, and Chadwick Boseman in a scene from Marvel Studios' "Black Panther." (Matt Kennedy/Marvel Studios-Disney via AP)
Marvel Studios' "Black Panther" follows T'Challa (Chadwick Boseman) who, after the death of his father, the King of Wakanda, returns home to the isolated, technologically advanced African nation to succeed to the throne and take his rightful place as king. But when a powerful old enemy reappears, T'Challa's mettle as king—and Black Panther—is tested when he is drawn into a formidable conflict that puts the fate of Wakanda and the entire world at risk. Faced with treachery and danger, the young king must rally his allies and release the full power of Black Panther to defeat his foes and secure the safety of his people and their way of life. 


There is something very special about Black Panther. 

It's easy to dismiss it as yet another superhero movie, but once seeing it on the big screen, you soon realise that you aren't just watching another movie. 

Rather, you are watching a movie that highlights all the best parts of being African, and even gives you hope for an Africa that doesn't exist today, but could in the future.  The movie is an enigma, because not only do you get a variety of complex characters with an enthralling villain, you also have a movie where a majority of the cast and actors on screen are undeniably black.

This image released by Disney shows a scene from Marvel Studios' "Black Panther." (Matt Kennedy/Marvel Studios-Disney via AP)
Director Ryan Coogler ( Fruitvale Station, Creed) could have easily presented an Africa on screen that was of his imagination, but what the director and his Oscar nominated cinematographer Rachel Morrison did, was give viewers a visual feast of a futuristic Africa that still embraced cultures and heritage.

The African tribes and cultures presented on screen is done so with the utmost attention to detail. 

There was concern among some that Black Panther would do a "generic" African accent:

However, the accent for the movie has been a topic of discussion, and Chadwick Boseman went on to explain that the accent used in Black Panther was intentional, and carries more symbolism behind it.

Another standout of Black Panther was the amazing chemistry between all the actors, and their performances. What was surprising was how each character has an arc and motivation. There were complex female characters who had their own autonomy. 

Lupita Nyong'o plays Nakia, who is the love interest for T'Challa, has her own plan and character arc that focuses on her character. She is not relegated to the part of solely the "love interest" functioning only to further the story of the protagonist, but rather have her own independence.

Black Panther, goes beyond merely giving her character independence, but represents a variety of female characters who each have a special skill or interest. There is no single portrayal of a black female character, but multiple.

This image released by Disney shows Lupita Nyong'o, left, and Letitia Wright in a scene from Marvel Studios' "Black Panther." (Matt Kennedy/Marvel Studios-Disney via AP)
The film also has exciting villains in Erik Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan) and Ulysses Klaue (Andy Serkis) who have their own agendas. Killmonger is villain that captivates the audience's attention, and helps create a story with real emotional stakes.

Chadwick Boseman, owns the role of Black Panther, and compared to every other character around him, appears to be more restrained, but it's because of his stoic personality that adds gravitas to the story, and allows him to shine with an understated performances. 

It would also be remiss, not to discuss how important the movies is especially for black representation. We live in an age where people of colour and minorities are starving to be represented on screen and in the media they consume. It is why there has been a lot of buzz around the movie, and why many in America have been buying out cinemas so that people who might not have had access to the movie, can now watch it.

Black Panther stands out as it's one of the first big budget movies with a predominantly black cast. The film also takes this a step further, and leans into it's Africanness.

South Africans, especially will have a fond attachment to the movie as it stars three local actors - John Kani, his son Atandwa Kani, along with former Rhythm City actress Connie Chume. Seeing these local actors on screen, is like an exciting jolt to the system, and is aided by the fact that the official language of Wakanda is IsiXhosa.

It's impossible not to smile when you hear one of the official languages of SA, be recognized on screen in a superhero movie. Black Panther includes numerous scenes where conversations take place in IsiXhosa and it brings a surprising pride with it.

A scene from Black Panther. Picture: Supplied
There are colloquialisms that South Africans would easily spot and add to the overall enjoyment of the movie.

It's those moments, that make Wakanda feel like a futuristic version of what South Africa could look like. You soon realise that it's just a fantasy movie, but you can't deny the imagination for such a city, that it brings.

One criticism of the movie, might be the sparse action sequences, which are fewer than the average superhero movie, but Black Panther is definitely not an average superhero movie.

Ryan Coogler does a wonderful job and giving audience a movie they haven't seen before, and the Marvel Cinematic Universe will only benefit from this.

"Black Panther" stars Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong'o, Danai Gurira, Martin Freeman, Daniel Kaluuya, Letitia Wright, Winston Duke, with Angela Bassett, with Forest Whitaker, and Andy Serkis.

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