Black Panther is the first black superhero to ever grace American mainstream comics, having been created in 1966 by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. The iconic character has yet to have his own feature length live action film till now, and with that comes the weight of a nation.
When a film like this goes into production nobody knows what to truly expect. Complaints of Marvel sticking to a certain formula or holding back directors is not a new rumor. Marvel picking Ryan Coogler, the director of Creed and Fruitvale Station, as the director of this film and having the current writer of the Black Panther comic, Ta-Nehisi Coates, back him helped ease worried minds. What truly got the audience on board was the announcement of the star-powered cast, including last February’s break out star Daniel Kaluuya. Add on a $200 million budget, with an almost entirely black cast, and you suddenly start to build hype.
With that hype comes the pressure of being a successful film, not only financially but critically as well. Rotten Tomatoes has been a deciding factor for quite a few films, and not getting the fresh mark would mean bad news. When you look at a film like Black Panther, you have to realize how it must not only please newcomers but longtime fans as well.
Fortunately, Black Panther has so far managed to exceed every expectation, even breaking a few records along the way. It is the highest rated superhero film since The Dark Knight (2010) and is on track to be the highest grossing film of February, beating out Deadpool (2016). The film has garnered a huge backing by black celebrities, including music artist Kendrick Lamar, who produced the feature-length album for the film. All that stands before Black Panther’s triumphant roar is the mainstream audience once it releases nationwide on February 15th.
Black Panther is not only the first big budget superhero film to feature black actors, but also one of the biggest releases to put black actors in a positive light. No more slaves, no more drug dealers, and no more white saviors; this is something worth seeing for everyone. Releasing Black Panther in the middle of Black History month was a great move because it not only gives the black community something to bond over but something to be proud of as well. Step into the spotlight and see the cultural phenomenon that is sweeping the nation.
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