“Black Panther” Is Wakanda-ful

Black Panther is the most envisioned Marvel film ever. Wakanda is a completely Afro-centric creation with the high sheen tech vibe of a video game backdrop. This blend of tribal and modern gives Black Panther an emotional power that elevates its stereotypical depictions of what Africans are.

Only in a completely Afro-centric movie can Ryan Coogler get away with portraying a competing tribe that worships and model itself on gorillas or an American villain that can justify reconstituting colonialism as payback for slavery, without being called out for racist context. The plot is constantly redefining the stereotype not trying to elevate it.

The Chadwick Boseman and Michael B. Jordan face off elevates Black Panther to best MCU origin story. Jordan’s amiable screen persona has one secretly routing for him even during moments of extreme villainy. Even Boseman, who has been coasting on a clever performance caught between James Earl Jones Lion King regal and James Bond swagger, concedes the better death to Jordan, who has the entire burden of American slavery as part of his tragic back story.

The Black Community has been waiting a long time for something as fully representative as Black Panther. So has the MCU.

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