One week out from watching the groundbreaking, game-changing MCU blockbuster that was Black Panther, there’s been no shortage of articles, memes, and micro-bloggings from fans, expressing their love and appreciation for the film. Letitia Wright’s Shuri was my, hands down, favorite … She basically wound up being EVERYONE’s favorite, (good on her for that!), but another character that captured a new, instant fandom, to the extreme, was Michael B. Jordan’s Erik Killmonger … Now Killmonger was an AMAZING character … Jordan did an outstanding job portraying his passion, self-righteousness, and complexity … He had some of the best lines in Black Panther, stole almost every scene he was in, and he was without question, the best MCU villain to date … All that being said – Don’t support Killmonger, cuz he was a fuckin asshole.
The Marvel Universe is great at producing “bad-guys” with rich, turbulent backstories that make identifying with their motivations simple. Magneto is a perfect example. And although one could easily see where Killmonger was coming from, sympathize with his tragic childhood, and ultimately respect his ideals … he wasn’t “misunderstood”. He wasn’t an “anti-hero”, or even really a true revolutionary. He was just a horrible person. Not simply as an “ends justify the means”, but he killed for his own personal satisfaction. His enemies, his allies, innocents … Hell, even his own girl when she inadvertently became just the slightest bit of an inconvenience.
Maybe it was “all to get the throne”, right? But then the very SECOND he becomes ruler of Wakanda, he starts fucking the whole place up! Destroys the remaining vibranium enriched flowers so there can never be another Black Panther for future generations; Chokes and attacks one of the hand maidens that just finished helping him through his ceremony of ascension; Basically declares war on the rest of the world; and then after hundreds of years of peace and prosperity amongst Wakandan citizenry, under Killmonger’s regime, they now find themselves fighting and killing one another. He was a REALLY shitty monarch in like just the 2 and half days he was ruler. Glad T’Challa came back to kick his ass.
This isn’t a criticism, however, as Black Panther was just a fantastic film. Not the BEST superhero movie ever (that title is still held by Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 2; with honorable mention going to Richard Donner’s Superman and Superman 2), but arguably the best of the MCU collection. Entertaining, yet holding so many messages that were neither ‘too subtle’ nor ‘too heavy handed’. They were perfectly woven throughout and writer/director Ryan Coogler’s final product was a movie that was fun, enlightening, and as resonating with life and the world today as we deserve. It stirs important conversation in many, MANY regards (get at me offline if you wanna chat deeper) and with the extent that it is being embraced, it’s truly a historic milestone in culture and pop-culture today.
Obviously, there is going to be a sequel, so there’s already immense chatter about who should be featured in Black Panther 2 … I’m sincerely hoping that they take advantage of the recent 21st Century FOX acquisition and everything (everyone) that comes with that. Namely – Storm. She would be an amazing addition to the story as a brand new love interest for the King of Wakanda, and rival for Lupita Nyong’o’s Nakia, and it would also create an excellent bridge to the mutant world. As for the villain of Black Panther 2? – They couldn’t choose a better one than Doctor Doom – the other major monarch of the Marvel U. There are so many parallels between he and King T’Challa that they match up perfectly. Their saga in the comics was epic, opening up awesome new depths for the Black Panther, and again – it would lay the groundwork of bridging the Fantastic Four into the MCU.
Make it happen, Kevin Feige. Make it happen.
Verdict: LOVED IT.
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