I love movies. I specifically love Marvel movies and seeing what the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) has become. As a writer, I geek out at the breadth and scope of the MCU, as well as the challenges that come with trying to maintain continuity from movie to movie. The MCU started with the first Iron Man movie in 2008, and I can only assume the writers involved did not foresee the explosive success Marvel would have in cinema over the next ten years.
I also did not read many comic books as a kid. For me, the MCU ties back to warm memories of my childhood (given I would watch Spidey and Friends on Saturday mornings) but also allows me to discover these characters and storylines through the eyes of an adult.
Watching Black Panther tonight, I left the theater with an enthusiastic sense of “well done.” Without regurgitating much of what’s already been written about the movie, I have to applaud the creative team of the film for producing an entertaining story that is also timely and poignant. I think there is truth in the critical feedback of this movie as being groundbreaking, and I will borrow from my friend Enaye, an educator and African-American woman when she says:
“Seeing a major mainstream movie with a predominately black cast that was not the stereotypical story of slavery and/or struggle for freedom, or Tyler Perry style comedy (no offense to Perry) was refreshing. Seeing fierce black women warriors with depth of character and not hyper-sexualized was amazing!”
I really can’t state it better than she did, and I, too, noticed how the women in the movie were not garbed in gratuitous, tight outfits which I feel are a misogynistic throwback to a male target audience. With Black Panther, there was none of that, a fact that should be applauded in and of itself.
I am glad Black Panther is breaking records at the box office. I am thrilled to think of a young generation of African-American kids growing up with characters like Nakia, Okoye, Shuri, and T’Challa as their role-models. And I am glad to see a movie that challenges the status quo as well as the still-antiquated perception we see in our country towards people of color. To quote the title character, “In times of trouble, the wise build bridges while the foolish build barriers.”