When it comes to superhero movies, the good ones are action-packed. The great ones are action-packed and socially impactful. Films like Iron Man and Wonder Woman fit the latter. Behind super powers lie deeper discussions, such as the responsibility of developing protection and the horrors of war. The fact that these films feature a white businessman and a woman don’t detract from these messages. They enhance them. With the coming of Marvel’s Black Panther, it looks like we will be receiving another entry into the great superhero films.
In the trailer, we are thrown into racial tension right out of the gate because there are only two white guys on the screen with British accents. They didn’t even need a “South Africa” caption at the bottom of the screen to infer the symbolism that Black Panther will probably take. But again, this sort of tension is just an added layer to what this film will probably be as Ulysses Klau, played by Andy Serkis, expounds on what Martin Freeman thinks about when discussing the fictional country of Wakanda. It’s not a Third World nation. It seems to have surpassed the first World nations over a century ago at least, if we’re following the canon set forth by the comics. It’s not lost on me that one of the single origin hypotheses of evolution has the first homo sapien developing in Africa.
But it’s not all social commentary because, let’s face it, this isn’t Jordan Peele’s Get Out. This is a superhero movie. We’ve got fight scenes, warriors with a mix of heritage and technology that would make Asgard hold their breath, and a Run the Jewels trailer track that couldn’t have been netter selected.
Black Panther is set to hit theaters February 16, 2018. This wait is going to be a slow, agonizing burn.