Black Panther: The MCU´s Biggest Success

Stuart Schaenen

More stories from Stuart Schaenen

Odell Beckham Trade
April 23, 2019

(Black Panther Tickets)

After its opening release in late January, Marvel’s Black Panther has sat at the #1 spot in the world for the past few months. Black Panther has already taken in over 570 million dollars domestically and over 1 billion dollars globally, and is on track to surpass the Avengers as the highest grossing Marvel film of all time. Black Panther compiled a star-studded cast featuring Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, and many others. With this cast being nearly entirely black, along with the fact that Black Panther is one of the few recognizable black superheroes in comics, the hype generated for Black Panther was massive. Black Panther was glorified as not only a great superhero movie, but a progressive movie that would break down the racial boundaries of the film industry. And despite the undeniable success of Black Panther, the fact that it has engulfed fans and critics in so much hype may have caused people to overlook flaws in the movie.


Black Panther was set in the fictional African city of Wakanda. After a meteor consisting of a priceless material known as vibranium (most people know this as the material Captain America’s shield was made of) crashes into the continent of Africa, the people of Wakanda build a massive advanced civilization thousands of years ahead of any other on the planet. Vibranium was the Wakandans source of power, wealth, weaponry, defenses, and nearly anything and everything they used in daily life. The directors and cinematographers did an outstanding job portraying the legendary city.



As the ruler of Wakanda following his father’s death, T´Challa played by Chadwick Boseman must fend off other warriors challenging him for his position at the throne. Once T´Challa manages to solidify his position he is then faced with the political challenges that the role of the king entails. He must decide what rules and ideals his kingdom will follow and to what extent they will interact with the outside world. As T´Challa pursues foreign affairs outside his kingdom, the antagonist Erik Killmonger appears. Killmonger played by Michael B. Jordan, is the cousin of T’Challa who lived the entirety of his life in the real world unbeknownst to anyone from Wakanda. Killmongers father was the brother of T’Challa’s father (T´Chaka) and was killed after he was caught selling vibranium to outsiders. Killmonger comes to Wakanda to challenge T’Challa for the position of king and for revenge of his father’s death. As a black man living in the outside world, Killmonger faced a hard life and never got to enjoy the privileges offered by the city of Wakanda. Killmonger believes that as king of Wakanda, the power and resources of the secret city should be available to all the black people around the world and that Wakanda should use their power to take over the world. T´Challa believes in only the needs of the people of Wakanda and believes that is is extremely vital that the city and the vibranium it holds stays isolated and out of reach from the outside world. The beliefs and values of T’Challa and Killmonger become the central issue and plot of the movie.


Costume Design:

The costume design for the movie was extremely aesthetic and unique. The directors made sure to stick to the African theme and setting of the movie in their costume design by incorporating African robes, clothing, and earpieces. Furthermore, the actual design of the black panther costume and the suit for Killmonger was very cool. In comparison, to the other superhero costumes, the Black Panther suit was definitely at the pinnacle.


After a solid portrayal of Wakanda, an intriguing plot, and creative costume design where exactly did Black Panther fall off? For many people, the movie became far too political. Black Panther incorporated heavy topics of foreign affairs, poverty, and the idea of oppression against black people worldwide. Many Marvel fans disliked this ambitious approach and thought the movie strayed too far from the typical MCU formula. And while this was a let down for some, it could also be argued that this was the reason that Black Panther went above and beyond the rest of the Marvel movies. Furthermore, the dialogue of the movie was at times terrible and cringe-worthy. The ¨what are those joke¨ said by Shuri to T’Challa was an awkwardly placed reference to a famous internet meme that was just distracting and took away from the seriousness of the movie. The dialogue throughout the movie seemed very informal and lazily written, which stopped the audience from becoming investing in the story. Additionally, Black Panther seemed to have no connection to the rest of the MCU universe. While this was a stand-alone film, all the other Marvel movies seemed to have greater connection to each other. With Marvels biggest film Infinity-Wars coming up in May, many people thought there would be more references to the Marvel universe as a whole within Black Panther.

All the African-pride and black empowerment generated by this movie, may have lead critics from truly analyzing the flaws of this movie due to the fear of being labeled as racist or offensive. While Black Panther was definitely a good movie and one of Marvel’s biggest successes, don´t be surprised if you are underwhelmed coming out of the theater, especially if you are an avid MCU fan.