My Black Panther Review (Spoiler ahead…)
When lost and calling out from the wilderness one longs for a voice to call back. Black Panther was, at long last, that comforting echo through the treetops, loving saying back, “I hear you.”
To start, you must show yourself approved, for anyone to truly hear a word you say. Therefore, Ryan Coogler, and the entire cast and crew had to each put their heart and soul into this work. From the storytelling and cinematography to the layered and textured performances of each member of the cast, Black Panther was well done. From all appearances everyone involved was fully committed to bring their very best to the work, and it showed.
Ryan Coogler, leveraging story lines from the Black Panther comics, wove an epic moral tale, that will surely stand the test of time. And while some will dismiss this as just a story, it is, as with all great works of fiction, based in undeniable truths. Truths worthy of discussion.
Three Lessons Learned.
First the premise that the choice, between isolationism and neo-colonialism, is a binary one, is false. In truth, this philosophical battle was not truly between Killmonger and T’Challa, but rather Killmonger and T’Chaka, T’Challa’s father. T’Chaka viewed protecting Wakanda and its way of life, as the moral imperative above all else, even to the point of killing his own brother and abandoning his nephew. Modern politicians often use this ploy when attempting to sway the masses in their oh so polished talking points. In fact, one could even say, that should the whole world fall into the depths of hell, T’Chaka, and the other Black Panthers before him, would be hard pressed to intervene. But T’Challa, when faced with the truth, rejected the notion that there were only two options. T’Challa has chosen to follow his own path, instead. T’Challa, has chosen the path of love over doctrine or dogma.
Secondly, even though Killmonger may have been correct in his political analysis, he was no hero. The charges against the “colonizers” ring true to anyone with any knowledge of geopolitical history, and I’m sure that during the five to ten thousand years, in which the most advance civilizations in the world resided in Africa, atrocities were inflicted upon Africans and Non-African. But no African nation which sat atop the societal pyramid then, ever orchestrated anything on the level of the Transatlantic slave trade. To his point, Killmonger was correct, that black and brown folks all around the world did and do suffer disproportionally.
And yet, though Killmonger believed himself to be a revolutionary, in truth he was an anarchist. Consider how he took a torch to the garden of the Heart Shaped Herb (no concern for the future), his lack of respect for the elders (no regard for social norms) and his treatment of women (he killed several women, and was a fraction of a second away from killing Shuri). The matter of anarchists is something to which I’ve given a good bit of thought, as I have one prominently featured in my latest book, Heretics. There I found the same truth.
Anarchist aren’t born, but rather forged in the hell of an unyielding truth abandoned in the depths of a hopeless soul
Killmonger had indeed lost all hope, like so many others in his community. When you’re hopeless, nothing matters.
Thirdly, the real heroes of the film were the women who supported T’Challa. Nakia was his better angel inspiring him to be more. Okoye, pushed him to be a great king. And Shuri served to keep him grounded and humble. Each of these women would clearly give her life for T-Challa, and it was very evident that he would gladly do the same for each of them. In a sense they, are his holy trinity guiding T’Challa towards his destiny to be perhaps the greatest Black Panther all time.