Black Panther: The Change That Movies Need

Jason O’Toole

Credit: Marvel Studios

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Marvel and Disney’s upcoming film, Black Panther, looks like it will not only be the biggest opening for an MCU movie to date, but shatter a record previously held by Deadpool. The hype generated by Black Panther has led to early projections saying the film could make more than $160 million in it’s four day opening weekend. This would make it the biggest February opening weekend in history. That record was previously held by Deadpool, which raked in $152 million in its four day opening weekend.

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This undoubtedly stems from the buzz generated by Black Panther, the first superhero film since Blade back in 1998 that will have an African American lead. Early reviews are saying that while the representation of black culture is stellar, it is the films women who get even greater representation. The personal guard to the Black Panther, the Dora Milaje, are a cadre of the finest warriors in the land, and they are all women. In the comics they were recruited from every tribe in Wakanda, assembled as potential queens for an unmarried king. This maintained peace in Wakanda, ensuring that every tribe had the opportunity to put forward one of their daughters for the crown. It is said that they play a major role in the film. It’s sad that it took the success of Wonder Woman to show Marvel Studios that it was well past time for women to get the spotlight.

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The representation of different cultures and genders is a huge step forward in film. As a white man I often take for granted the fact that the heroes I see on screen look like me, but what about the rest of the cultures in this world. The comic world caught on to this notion long ago. Comics showed me that not every hero has to look the same. It taught me that it didn’t matter what color you were, Dr. Doom was going to destroy the world, so the world had to come together to stop him. Every one of us has the capacity to be a hero, it’s high time the movies reflected this notion. If we are going to watch movies about the heroes of the world, we need to include everyone. If the hype surrounding Black Panther has taught us anything, it’s that the movie going public wants to see movies that better represent the world stage. Here’s hoping that Hollywood takes this lesson and continues to expand on this idea. Leave a comment and let us know what you think.

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