This is one of the most important films in cinematic history. Whether you are black, white, or any other race, this film will show you what movies were created to do. This film, as star Michael B. Jordan says, is a “moviement”, and the reason it is is very simple. It’s a fantastic film. Marvel and Disney let director Ryan Coogler take this superhero action flick to a place that nobody was prepared for, capturing the African and African American experience and culture beautifully while still making a film that is accessible to anyone and that any person around the world can go into and have a blast at, whether you are a Marvel fan like me or not, and whether you like movies or not.
The film follows T’Challa, the Prince of the African nation of Wakanda, one of the most advanced nations in the world, since the most valuable metal on the planet, Vibranium, is only cultivated in his country. And because they fear what would happen to the world if Vibranium got into the hands of other countries, the nations’ past Kings and citizens chose to hide Wakanda from the world. But when T’Challa steps into the throne as the new King, the past of his native country will be revealed and its future will never be the same.
Now I am not black, so much of what makes this movie so important does not resonate with me personally because I have seen countless superhero films who stars people who look like me. However, I had the privilege to view the film with my friend who is part of an NAACP youth group, and to sit in that theater, knowing that this film means so much to so many, so many who have not been represented in popular culture for so long, really warms my heart, because that is why I love film. Movies can unite so many, no matter the background, as long as there is a story to tell and there is an audience willing to listen.
The entire ensemble is wonderful, embodying perfectly their characters complexities. Some standouts, even though the whole cast deserves to be mentioned, are Chadwick Boseman as T’Challa, Michael B. Jordan as Erik Killmonger, Danai Gurira as Okoye, Letitia Wright as Shuri, Daniel Kaluuya as W’Kabi, Andy Serkis as Ulysses Klaue, and Martin Freeman as Everett Ross. All of these actors do great jobs of entertaining you while showing the intricacies of their individual character, like being a leader, acting as part of a team, and determining when something is right or wrong. Because even though Erik and Klaue are the antagonists, the characters and performances have so many layers to them that you could see where they are coming from, and can understand their point of view in almost every scene. Director Ryan Coogler and his team, including the first woman cinematographer ever nominated for an Oscar, for Netflix film Mudbound, Rachel Morrison, bring this story to life, not only breathing life into the superhero genre, but telling a story that encapsulates so much about black culture.
Overall, this film seems like it has been a lifetime in the making. A film that has been being made well before the career of its 31 year old director. Because ever since the first African American to win an Oscar, Hattie McDaniel, won for her role in Gone With the Wind, Hollywood realized that stories like the one she portrayed need to be heard. Disney and Marvel took a big risk and it paid off, inspiring so many to go to the movies and hear this story. And in the end, what makes this film so great is just that, what it is inspiring people to do. The fact that so many people are buying out theaters in disadvantaged neighborhoods to bring black children to see it for free is so great and important. Because the first film those children will see of someone that looks like them in a leading role is one where he is the coolest, smartest, and best leader and superhero around. Film will never be the same again, and I am so happy about it. To finally see a film starring African Americans where they are depicted as Kings and not slaves really showcases where we are heading as a society, not only the African American community, but as an entire people, since everyone is going to see this film, as I would highly suggest you do. Wakanda Forever, indeed. A+