Entertainment 20.2.2018 11:53 am

‘Black Panther’: the fight to serve or save

Erik Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan) and T'Challa/Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman). Photo: Matt Kennedy/Marvel Studios

Erik Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan) and T'Challa/Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman). Photo: Matt Kennedy/Marvel Studios

The film has the right amount of woke pop-cultured elements tied in perfectly with great humour and brilliant cinematography.

Depicting the ideologies of many struggle heroes who believed in an Africa which is free from oppression and enjoys the wealth of its land, Black Panther is a victorious narration of Marvel’s comic strip.

Based in the mythical Metropolis land of Wakanda, it picks up from the 2016 Captain America-civil war film, which saw the sudden and tragic death of King T’Chaka, played by Tony Award recipient John Kani, together with his biological son, Atandwa Kani, who plays the younger version of the king. Stepping in to succeed his father, viewers get reintroduced to the reigning king and owner of the heroic panther suit, T’Challa, played by Chadwick Boseman.

The new T’Challa returns home to his queen mother and techno-crazed sister, played by internationally accredited Angela Bassett and Guyanese-born British actress Letitia Wright.

They are both mortified by the news of their king dying but are hopeful the new T’Challa will continue the legacy left by his ancestors, which is to protect the people and wealth of Wakanda.

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T’Challa/Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) Photo: Matt Kennedy/Marvel Studios

Determined to avenge his father’s death, the young king seeks out the truth about who his father’s killer are from his chief advisor, played by Academy Award winner Forest Whitaker.

Feeling the need to settle the score, the Panther embarks on a hunt to finally avenge his father’s death. However, life has taken its course and he is left with the ripple effects.

Playing the role of the love interest and chief Wakandan spy is another Academy Award winner, Lupita Nyong’o, who plays the character of Nakia; a rebel who needs no cause greater than the one of equality and freedom for all Africans across the globe.

Spearheading the king’s security force is a female warrior squad led by the bravest of them all, Ayo. She is played by German-born Ugandan actress Florence Kasumbe, who stands by the throne to serve and protect, no matter the cost.

Behind every successful African man is a wise and strong woman – and in the case of the Panther, there are two women. Both Nakia and Ayo voyage out with their king in the quest to bring Klaw back to stand trial. Klaw, a long-time enemy of the land, is played by British actor and director Andy Serkis.

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Okoye (Danai Gurira), Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o) and Ayo (Florence Kasumba) in Black Panther. Photo: Matt Kennedy/Marvel Studios

History repeats itself as they return home having failed in their mission, leaving it to an exiled close member of the kingdom to bring to account the notorious Klaw.

Black Panther is a pleasant film, directed by Ryan Coogler, who managed to capture the essence of Africa; from its rich minerals to its diverse languages, and multicoloured and textured fashion used to differentiate the tribes which are hubbed by the continent.

With just about the right amount of woke pop-cultured elements tied in perfectly with great humour and brilliant cinematography, Black Panther is the popular superhero genre’s version of what Sarafina!, Cry the Beloved Country, Long Walk to Freedom and The Colour Purple were: a generational celebration of the beauty of being African.

‘Black Panther’ makes African box office history

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