Marvel Studios ’ Black Panther | My Review

FTC Disclosure
Marvel Studios’ Black Panther comes into theaters this week and the movie is already set to break records.  The combination of this ensemble cast, beautiful sets and scenery, and inclusion of an Africa that many of us dream about just made it work for me.

As a long time comic book fan, the Black Panther movie was one that I have waited a long time for and I think Marvel has done a fantastic job being true to the characters and the mythos of Wakanda.  So without giving away too much of the plot, here is what I loved about Marvel’s Black Panther.

The women of  Black Panther’s Wakanda

The women of Black Panther's Wakanda. Source Disney
The women of Black Panther’s Wakanda. Source Disney

These women are fierce!!! They are strong, intelligent, loyal and did I mention FIERCE! From the women on the Tribal Council to the Dora Milaje, the all female elite fighting force,  the women of Wakanda are role models for all girls.

Letitia Wright as Shuri in Black Panther. Source Disney
Letitia Wright as Shuri in Black Panther

Imagine a place where a woman’s role is defined as ‘being all that you can be’ without question or apology.

Wakanda Forever

To me, Wakanda symbolizes Africa as I wish it could be. Too often we hear of Africa as a “third world country”, but not enough about of the beauty and the history of the civilizations of Africa.  Wakanda is the most technologically advanced country on the planet.

Wakanda - technology the most advanced country on Earth. Source Disney
Wakanda – technology the most advanced country on Earth

How beautiful is the Africa of Wakanda? Click on this link to view the Oribi Gorge Nature Reserve,  the inspiration for Warrior Falls. Want to know more about Africa’s history and empires?  Check out Africa’s Great Civilizations by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. [Amazon link]

The Wardrobe and Costumes of Black Panther

Forest Whitaker as Zuri in Black Panther
Forest Whitaker as Zuri in Black Panther

Personally I want the kente cloth worn by T’Challa.  According to my notes there were over 700 costumes created for Black Panther by veteran costume designer Ruth Carter. Each tribe had its own color  palette, such as the blue used by the Border tribe and the green of the River tribe.  It wasn’t just the colors either.  You will love the intricate and subtle patterns in the costumes.  I found myself entranced by the way the colors and shapes changed with the movement of the actors.

Black Panther - the Border tribe vs the Dora Milaje
Black Panther – the Border tribe vs the Dora Milaje

And the attention to details of traditional African clothing and body art are all through the movie.

For example, the buckle in the front of the armor for each member of the Dora Milaje was transformed into a custom-designed metal panther head. The harness is deemed to be a prized heirloom to  be passed from mother to daughter to survive and use over generations.

Family

The theme of the bonds of family run throughout the movie. But family is not just defined as those of mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers but the family of  the Wakadan people and people of African descent throughout the world.

I can’t close without including the homage Black Panther pays to the struggles of Africa and African Americans. Just so you don’t miss it, listen for how Martin Freeman’s character is called (colonist) and Killmonger’s final words about the Middle Passage.

Black Panther hits theaters on Friday, Feb 16, 2018. Select theaters (AMC Theaters, Cinemark/Century and Regal in the Bay area) will be hosting special Black Panther Opening Night Fan Event showings with souvenir coins, and other goodies at 6 pm showings on Thursday, February 15th.

Let’s Explore More of Black Panther’s World

Get excited about Black Panther, but don’t stop there. Here are links to books, videos and websites about African traditions, history and civilizations. And to some of the traditions and peoples that influenced Ryan Coogler (Director/Screenplay), Ruth Carter (Costume Design), Joel Harlow (Special Effects Makeup Designer) and Camille Friend (Hair Department Head) in the making of Marvel’s Black Panther.

The Amazing Lives of Africa’s Royal Women [Amazon link]
Africa’s Great Civilizations by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. [Amazon link]

Africa's Great Civilizations by Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
Africa’s Great Civilizations by Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

Black Panther books – get your kids excited about reading [Amazon link]

The Dogon,  inspiration for the costumes of the Jabari tribe. [link]
The Ndebele,  inspiration for the neck rings worn by Danai Gurira as Okoye. [link]
The Zulu,  inspiration for the stunning headpiece and a mantle worn by Angela Basset as Ramonda, the Queen Mother. [link]
Xhosa, one of the official languages of South Africa and Wakanda. [link]

Shop the Black Panther Store on ShopDisney.com: t-shirts, costumes, jewelry and accessories. [link]

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