Black Panther: Its Influence, Its Critics, and Its Audience

Posted by Mindy Gan & filed under Film.

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Even before its release, Black Panther was already well on its way to becoming a cultural phenomenon.

Being the first massive superhero movie with a cast consisting mainly of people of colour, plenty of people were excited to see themselves represented on the silver screen. Black Panther seemed to bring communities together in a way that movies seldom do. Hundreds of Kickstarter and GoFundMe campaigns were set up around the world to help children see the film, which was encouraging to see since many children may not have had the opportunity to see the film otherwise. People knew this movie was going to be important – good or bad, its mere existence was already a triumph in and of itself.

But of course, the fact that the movie was actually incredible made everything all the better. With a current Rotten Tomatoes score of 97% and grossing over $1 billion, Black Panther has handily demonstrated its quality and widespread influence. Reviews upon reviews upon reviews have lauded it with praise for its writing, directing, costuming, set design, themes, soundtrack, and much more.

Being the latest in a long line of superhero movies, critics have definitely taken notice of Black Panther‘s break from the expected Marvel movie formula. And its celebration of its cast filled with intelligent, capable, and layered men and women of colour haven’t gone unnoticed either, with audiences clearly vocalizing their appreciation. And as a movie that dealt with complicated ideological conflicts on top of everything else, it has sparked plenty of uncomfortable but necessary dialogues about difficult subjects, (so much so that someone compiled them into a comprehensive reading list).

There are plenty of angles to approach Black Panther from, but perhaps the most striking one is the perspective of the average audience member. For black viewers, the amount of representation both in the cast and the writing set the movie apart from its ilk in terms of impact, especially in conversations surrounding issues that real African-Americans and Africans face. Other viewers, from South Korea for example, were able to perceive a point of view different from their own and perhaps gain some insight from the experience.

No matter who you are, there’s probably something in Black Panther for you. Its incredible density makes repeat viewings a delight, and provides a plethora of talking points for those who are inclined. And above all, many critics and audiences agree that Black Panther is wholly unique both as a film and as a piece of culture, and viewing it is an experience that is like no other.

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