South Dakota State University's Student-Run Independent Newspaper Since 1885

The Collegian

South Dakota State University's Student-Run Independent Newspaper Since 1885

The Collegian

South Dakota State University's Student-Run Independent Newspaper Since 1885

The Collegian

‘Black Panther’: groundbreaking superhero tale of black power, leadership

DISNEY “Black Panther” opened with a $201 million opening over the weekend, making it the fifth highest opening of all time and the highest opening in the month of February. Here, Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o), King T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) and Princess Shuri (Letitia Wright) are seen planning their next move in the film.

Editor’s Note: The grading system used here is similar to the 10-point scale used in SDSU courses.


Well, after the success of “Wonder Woman” and now “Black Panther,” Hollywood is finally starting to pick up on something we’ve known all along: people will pay to see women and people of color at the box office.

Yes, much like “Wonder Woman,” “Black Panther” has soared at the box office in its first week of release, earning more than $200 million. It’s the fifth-highest opening for a film and the biggest opening in the month of February.

But this movie isn’t just great because of what it’s able to prove moneywise. It stands as one of the best superhero flicks of all time, offering an exciting new character to the Marvel lineup and a story that transcends what it means to be a leader.

“Black Panther” tells the story of T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman), the new king of Wakanda, a fictional country, hidden in east Africa, with advanced technology beyond anything imaginable. With every monarch, the throne passes to the next in line, but so too does the title of the Black Panther.

This title means they are the nation’s guardian to protect against any threat. To fulfill this duty, the Black Panther is bestowed with an herb that gives impossible strength and a suit made of a fictional metal called vibranium that can withstand even bullet fire.

T’Challa finds hardship in his new role as king and struggles to act as both the country’s king and greatest soldier. He also wrestles with a duality that shows up throughout the story: traditionalism versus modernism.

Should T’Challa allow his country and its technologies to be known to the rest of the world? Should he make his country more globally-oriented? All of this is fascinating to explore in a character as complex as T’Challa.

But the main plotline presents itself in Erik Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan), an appropriately named outsider to the country. Killmonger presents a new path for the country, one that could leave the rest of the world in ruins.

Beyond that, I can’t say anything else about the plot, which has been so perfectly veiled by the movie’s stellar ad campaign. What I can say is that it does get very political, addressing centuries of slavery and modern race relations. But director Ryan Coogler weaves in these political issues elegantly and without detracting from the overall entertainment.

There are so many reasons to see the film, but one its most impressive is its showcasing of African culture. From the costume design to the score, all the film’s elements point to Afrofuturism, an art style that blends black culture with science fiction themes.

In all, I could not have had higher expectations for “Black Panther.” It was number one on my top ten list of most anticipated films of 2018 and the early reviews have been stellar, rocking a 97 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.

Any hesitations that you had in seeing this film, abandon them now or miss out on seeing the best movie of the year so far. Yes, “Black Panther” is that good.

Ian Lack is a reporter at The Collegian and can be reached at [email protected].

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