Even though it’s the 18th movie from the Marvel Universe, Black Panther is the first one to feature a black superhero with a primarily black cast.
The film tells the story of the Black Panther, a superhero who takes his father’s place as king of the fictional African country Wakanda. The film came out in Chinese mainland cinemas on March 9, passing the $1 billion (about 6 billion yuan) mark at the global box office and becoming the No 2 superhero release of all time on March 10.
The wild success of Black Panther lies in the fact that it gives voices to minorities who are rarely given room in popular culture. “It carries a weight that neither Thor nor Captain America could lift: serving a black audience that has long gone under-represented,” Time noted.
The superhero Black Panther is inspiring, but the movie also highlights brilliant black women. For example, Black Panther’s teenage sister is a tech genius. She designs gadgets for her brother and develops resources that make the isolated Wakanda wealthy and scientifically and technologically advanced.
“What I love about the way this film represents women is that each and every one of us is an individual, unique,” Kenyan-Mexican actress Lupita Nyong’o, who plays a spy in the movie, told the Los Angeles Times. “I think that’s a very powerful message to send to children – both male and female.”
Powerful characters aside, the movie has social implications. While the Black Panther tries to keep his country and people away from the outside world, others want to make use of Wakanda’s advanced technology to fight injustice. “But neither option is truly tenable,” The Verge noted. “It suggests that these destructive cycles may only be broken through guidance, education, and global leadership.”
Instead of hiding away from current issues of race and economic differences, the movie explores what it means to be black in the US, in Africa and in the world. It deals “head-on with the issues affecting modern-day black life”, Time concluded.