Wakanda Forever! Black Panther/MCU Review

Here at Black and Yellow Otaku Gamers, we’re a fairly diverse group of individuals with an equally diverse range of tastes and preferences in anime, games, and movies. When something is complete and utter garbage *COUGH*Big Order*COUGH* we can usually get behind it together, and shove it off a cliff into a tire fire at the bottom. Very rarely, however, do we all agree unilaterally on something being rather good, and Black Panther is one of those instances. Beyond the opinions of a half dozen Otaku Gamers, Black Panther has had a much more prominent effect in the world. I’ll discuss this more in an article about Gatekeeping in Anime, but the world has grown considerably more accepting of comic book culture even in the past decade. As the world has moved on, we see significantly more instances of mainstream acceptance of being a comic book nerd, anime otaku, or professional E-sportsman. One demographic that would typically be unfairly removed from these cultures is your every day black Otaku Gamer, as it didn’t conform with normal stereotypes. Beyond our own co-founder Blackatron, other individuals such as Childish Gambino or even Kanye West are huge fans of things one normally wouldn’t assume such individuals are into. The reason I bring this up is because Black Panther is more than just a comic book movie in the MCU about a superhero. It represents an amazing entry point for acceptance of even more fans in this great subculture. Many look at the opportunity for black kids to play pretend with kick ass and interesting characters as well as bring in more and more people into this fandom. You likely have seen a number of the below comics/memes that have as of late permeated the internet.

Culture representation aside, the movie itself was amazing on every level. The plot took off running after a bit of a prologue in the Oakland projects with then Black Panther T’Chanka meeting his brother who planned to stage uprisings to assist slave descendants who are oppressed in the modern (1992) era. We then jump to T’Challa, the current Black Panther, after the Sokovia Accords and the events of Captain America Civil War returning to Wakanda to assume the mantle of King. After a rather kick ass aerial deployment and rather one sided fight scene, he extracts his former lover and Wakandan spy Nakia. Returning to Wakanda, we find the extent to which the country and its true state has been hidden from the world. I’ll expand on this later but the movie manages to maintain an amazing balance between the futuristic feel and keeping with an aesthetic faithful to the African culture. After a great ceremonial combat on a waterfall, T’Challa moves to pursue the war criminal and vibranium thief, Klaue (Andy Serkis) after he appears in the UK with movie antagonist, Erik “Killmonger” played by the amazing Michael B Jordan. After obtaining some vibranium from the aforementioned museum, Klaue moves to sell the artifact in Korea to the movie’s other Tolkien white guy, Martin Freeman, reprising his role as Everett K. Ross of the CIA. A series of events come through with Killmonger rescuing, then killing Klaue and arriving in Wakanda as a prodigal son/actual son of N’Jobu, brother to T’Chanka.

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The rest of the movie serves as T’Challa being de-throned after single combat and Killmonger seeking to wage war on behalf of all the oppressed descendants of Africa. To this end he orders all of the hidden Wakandan spies known as War Dogs to prepare to arm the downtrodden and abused to rebel against their oppressors. T’Challa is recovered nearly dead and re-imbued with the power of the Black Panther once more to combat his cousin, eventually defeating him among an all out battle of the Wakandan tribes. The final scenes are of T’Challa finally preparing to admit to the world the power and knowledge of Wakanda and of Bucky Barnes being cared for by T’Challa’s hilarious sister, Shuri in preparation for INFINITY WAR!

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Anyway, I wanted to keep more of the plot for discovery but the manner in which things were demonstrated and shown were so well executed. The music was done predominantly by Kendrick Lamar, and he did a fantastic job of giving a unique and great musical vibe and theme to the movie from start to finish. I honestly can’t help but listen to Killmonger’s theme and get pumped up and ready to start some shit. The casting beyond T’Challa and Killmonger are great with the entire cast being rather well put together including some of the minor characters like Shuri or Okoye, or even having Forrest Whitaker as the wizened shaman of Wakanda were just great and had me fully immersed. Representing a culture so diverse as Africa and its subsequent integration into the world on such a legitimate level without devolving to caricatures or cliches is no small feat. Many would assume on paper that the “Wakanda Forever” battle cry would get old or stale but it’s still a pretty common greeting among black friends of mine that I was shocked to discover wasn’t entirely satirical or ironic. Even Killmonger as a super villain who basically could be summed up as a walking, talking “We Wuz Kangs” meme came across as meaningful. Did he come across as campy or over the top? Absolutely not. Somehow even his last lines in the movie which were about the plight of slaves who jumped off ships to choose death over bondage was so well delivered that I couldn’t help but respect it. Overall there were many jokes and while designed for widespread acceptance had a bias to a particular demographic. I’ve compared the experience of watching the movie with a more ethnically diverse crowd versus one of old white people in South Florida. One group was rather quiet by comparison and the other laughed at small jab jokes like “Colonizer.” I leave it to you to guess which was which. All in all, this was a fresh take on the MCU that made me really want to watch it again and again opposed to Thor which shifted from a serious tone to Thor and Hulk re-create Guardians of the Galaxy. Let me know what you thought of the movie, if you agree, and if you too are hyped for Infinity War next month, and most of all: Wakanda Forever!

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