Black Panther; a story about "Us"

Image result for black panther

Marvel nails everything in it's latest emotional origin story starring King T'Challa. The outrage about this movie would be perceived by many to think it was just a superhero movie that doesn't really stand for anything. Many would go on to say stop using this a flagpole for the going racial problems in the world, but what people don't understand is that it never is one way with story lines. And instead of just scoffing about how a movie like this would change certain mindsets of people, actually realize how monumental a moment like this could be. This is not the first black superhero movie nor is it the first black empowerment movie, but that does not take away from the key talking points that were discussed in the film.

Not only does King T'Challa battle his own wars within himself, he is given other challenges as well such as different angles on how Wakanda is perceived and how much it has affected its neighboring countries in Africa and the world. T'Challa finds out that his uncle was killed by his father, King T'Chaka, in America and was left on a cold apartment floor only to be found by his little boy. Instead of taking the little boy with him, King T'Chaka leaves the boy, his nephew, and returns to Wakanda leaving the notion "he is not one of us". "Us" is repeated throughout the film as a term of endearment but as we eventually find out it is more of a divisive term than anything else.

The boy from before is Killmonger, T'Challa's cousin, but they could not be any more different. Learning about his past and present shows not only does Killmonger think he is an outsider from his own land, but that even his father strayed away after falling in love with an American. When Killmonger defeats T'Challa in a battle to the death for the throne, He is takes the sacred herb and transcends to an auroral afterlife where he meets his father in the apartment where he previously found him dead. Here Killmonger learns that his father had hopes of returning to Wakanda with his son. This interaction with his father brings him to tears of confirmation and realization that Wakanda's improvements and technological advances, which he has a right to, should be shared around the world for people like him. Oppressed African Americans and Africans. During this golden age of Wakanda the oppressed are being conquered and controlled which from seeing this first hand not only reaffirms Killmonger's thought process, it actually provides him with valid questions: Why does such a powerful nation hide in the shadows while other nations fall to invaders and capturers? What about us?

Hearing these words from Killmonger was not the first time T'Challa was poised with this conundrum. Does he follow the traditions of his past kings or does he forge his own path as the new leader of Wakanda? From my own experience being an African born in America and having African born parents the term "Us" has always had hidden meanings. Being able to see from both sides it was apparent at a young age that Africans and African Americans have long been divided in that both feel each side don't relate to each other culturally, yet we are ALL form Africa. We just live on different continents due to colonization and other means. The concept of "Us" is seen again as Killmonger stands over the dead Klaue and announces his right to fight for the crown. The council laughed at his claim and even when it was revealed with proof that he was the son of N'Jobu, Killmonger was still told he is not one of "Us", that he is an outsider, and they even went as far as calling him by his American name. T'Challa knew that the information Killmonger gave "his" people was indeed true and accepted the challenge that would almost end his life. A member of The Jabari tribe, a tribe known as outcasts by everyone due to their lack of agreement with the former kings, finds T'Challa unconscious and brings him to his leader M'Baku. M'Baku previously challenged T'Challa in a battle for the throne and though starting out strong, he loses to T'Challa by submission. Choosing to spare his life unknowingly ends up benefiting T'Challa as M'Baku chooses to save him, returning the favor. As he is being revived as the Black Panther by Nakia, his mother, and his sister T'Challa sees his father in the afterlife for a second time where he reveals his knowledge of the truth about his uncle and cousin. Here he realizes he must suffer the same fate as his father in killing one of his own due to the mistakes of his father and previous kings.

T'Challa asks M'Baku to join him in overthrowing Killmonger, but M'Baku says "not one king has stepped foot in my village, but you want me to believe it is 'us'?" T'Challa realizes in this moment that not only have his people been hiding technology from the world, but they have been keeping it from their own people separating them for having different views. He acknowledges the toll that not sharing technology has had on everyone including himself as King and tells M'Baku that he cannot speak for previous kings and will forge his own path and become his own king.

After a fierce battle Killmonger tells T'Challa that his father lied about Wakanda being a beautiful place. Being only kept alive by a blade, Killmonger is carried by T'Challa to a cliff where they gaze upon the most beautiful sunset and Killmonger recognizes this. T'Challa tells his cousin that he can be saved if taken back to the laboratory, but killmonger chooses death. T'Challa felt this was inevitable from the moment he received the answer from his father on why he didn't bring his nephew to Wakanda. "It was the truth I chose to omit". T'Challa keeps his promise to become his own king and returns to Oakland, Killmonger's birthplace and where it all began to open up Wakandan health, science, and arts facilities and to carry out the will of his late uncle and cousin. Killmonger's ideal world came from hatred and anger but that did not mean he was not coming from the right place. For T'Challa to become aware of this and to not ignore, but actually improve and take action shows that sometimes issues among people we consider to be others or "not one of us" can affect us. "Us" meaning, to T'Challa, everyone.

Let me know what you think by leaving a comment below or tweet me @TheFlysh
Black Panther; a story about "Us" Black Panther; a story about "Us" Reviewed by Casey A. on Tuesday, February 20, 2018 Rating: 5

No comments:

Powered by Blogger.