A big story that deserves a recognition of its own, Black Panther presents a nearly all-black cast in a major superhero franchise.
While Marvel has taken some hits when it comes to on screen diversity, namely the whitewashing controversy in Doctor Strange, lately Marvel has been on the right track in representation.
In the past four movies, Marvel has put strong woman of colour to the forefront, which includes Guardians of the Galaxy’s Zoe Saldana, Spider-Man: Homecoming’s Zendaya, Tessa Thompson of Thor: Ragnarok, and Black Panther’s Lupita Nyong’o.
Black Panther is set in the sub-saharan African nation of Wakanda where the country runs on out-of-this-world technology, putting Tony Stark’s playroom to shame.
There are mass transit networks that appear to defy gravity, and cloaking technologies that allow an entire nation to be concealed from the outside world thanks to massive sources of Vibranium.
Imagining a place where an African nation dwarfs its western counterparts is probably the most radical part.
It’s a film attuned to current talk about race and power, where characters roll their eyes when referring to Americans, and the word ‘colonizer’ crop up a few times.
Black characters take centre stage while white characters are in the minority.
Some of the most memorable characters are women, fiercely willed and independent minded like Lupita Nyong’o as T’Challa’s would-be girlfriend, and Letitia Wright as the sister and gadget genius who designs the Black Panther suit.
A band of spear-wielding female warriors light up the screen too, punctuating scenes with the trademark thumping of their weapons.
Can we say that Black Panther is revolutionary? Probably. It’s more than a superhero trying to do good, it’s a movie that subtly touches on current issues while celebrating diversity and culture. It’s a movie about representation.
Now we’re just waiting for the Asian superhero.