Columnists, Columns, Opinion

No Sugar, No Cream: My ‘Black Panther’ review

For the past two Halloweens, I’ve dressed as Batman. And I’m not talking about the tiny, ugly, horrifyingly constructed “Batgirl” costume Party City markets toward women in a way that suggests that it isn’t seven degrees outside every Halloween. (Apparently being warm outside is a privilege that only boys should enjoy.) I wore a boy’s Batman costume, complete with a cape and muscles, and embodied the character of Bruce Wayne.

He’s been my favorite “superhero” since I was lucky enough to view Christopher Nolan’s “Batman” trilogy, even though his greatest power is his ability to get away with destroying Gotham without any real repercussions — a likely side effect of his white privilege. Should he be in therapy unpacking how he deals with his childhood trauma (taking to the streets and creating havoc in a bat costume)? Oh, absolutely. Should the police force be reformed since it hasn’t worked in years? Absolutely. But he doesn’t go to therapy, and no one can make him. The police won’t be abolished because people believe in it, even when the entire system continually fails its people, and there’s nothing more relatable than that to me.

But this year, I’ve preemptively changed my favorite superhero to Black Panther. There are many reasons for this. The most obvious reason for me doing so is that Black Panther is Black, but I actually have other reasons for liking him. Michael B. Jordan is gorgeous, and a remarkably versatile actor. I would love anything he’s in simply because he’s in it. I make a point to stand for villains, and he plays Erik Killmonger in this movie. Chad Boseman is also gorgeous and a remarkably versatile actor. He’s played several Black figures in history — Jackie Robinson, James Brown, Thurgood Marshall and now Black Panther. Black Panther is arguably the most historically important of all the people he’s played. I hope in a special place in my heart that if I achieve enough in my lifetime, Chad Boseman may one day play me in a movie.

Even though “Black Panther” hasn’t been released for the general public yet, I already know how I’ll feel about it. Thus, I preemptively decided to write a review for it before I see it:

“Black Panther” was an action-packed and phenomenal film — easily the best movie of 2018. It will likely go down in time as the best Marvel movie to ever be made. Michael B. Jordan is brilliant as Killmonger. At one point, I actually began to believe that was his actual character, and he’s been fooling us with the idea that he’s a regular human from earth. I’ve already planned my summer trip to Wakanda, which will probably be a crowded tourist destination after this film. Chad Boseman gives a radiant performance, shaming all other Marvel superheroes before even saying his first line. No one should ever produce any more movies. This is the peak of the industry.

In all seriousness, this movie could not be more important to all the young Black kids who didn’t otherwise have a big-budget superhero to hold onto and love. It’s a privilege that should really be a regular occurance. This movie already has a place in my heart for the cast alone. There are not many more ways for me to express that Black representation is important.

This Halloween, I’ll be embracing the duality of man by being both happy and sad. Sad that I won’t be able to hand out candy to all the Black Panthers and parents of Black Panthers that drive to my neighborhood to trick-or-treat. But I’ll also be happy that so many more children will have the opportunity to love and dress like a hero that looks like them. I’ll be even more happy if no one sees me burst into tears while handing out candy.

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