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Thursday, February 15, 2018

Black Panther: An Addendum

This is inevitably going to be a three-part series, as the review will be up once I've seen it. 

One has to be very careful when picking one's words when talking about something like Black Panther. What was just another high concept super-hero movie in a universe already extraordinarily well-established has, thanks in large part to the cultural critics that have been chapping my ass for the past few years, quickly become an exceedingly commercialized rally point for a puzzling social movement.

Marvel, to its credit, has very little blame in this aside from introducing an already-beloved character in a giant movie and translating him very well to the screen, putting out the requisite toy line, and picking a strategic song for the trailer.

One must be very careful, for example, these days not to imply that "collectivist identitarian" is a flattering term for someone that someone else would rather prefer to call an "asshole Nazi," regardless if both terms apply.

Inside joke, dear readers. I apologize.

But can we talk about Black Panther for a moment?

You're right, we can't. We can't, for example, bring up the fact that Wakanda is a stupendously rich nation in the middle of some very poor nations. We can't bring up the fact that Wakanda is an xenophobic ethnostate with possibly the strictest immigration laws outside of Dr. Doom's Latveria or that, in the MCU, it had no outreach to poor countries despite its wealth until Civil War. We can't talk about how Wakanda zealously defends its borders, notoriously slaughtering intruders, or how T'Challa himself is the ruler of a Patriarchal society, having literally inherited his powers, tech, and position from his own father.

But I suppose if one side can twist things in its favour, the other can do so just as well.

Did they, though? Have we asked actual
Africans how they feel on this?
That'd just be awkward, though. Not that that first side isn't finally getting around to not-good-enough-isms.

In that spirit, I'd like to make it very clear that when I review Black Panther, I intend to hold it to its own merits: Did it tell a good story? Did it fit well in the greater MCU? Did it work well on its own as a movie as well as setting up story threads for future movies, as I expect to see it represented heavily in Infinity War? Does it tie up loose ends from previous movies?

What I'm not going to do is blame any shortcomings on "Trump's America." Seriously, it makes me ashamed that 3/4 of me comes from the same place as you, Ed Power.

When I go see Black Panther, I'm going to see what I hope to be another highly-entertaining entry in the MCU saga, one that I can appreciate as a fan and as someone who has been reading books  starring that character since I was a teenager. The last thing I want is for the movie to fail, because that's going to basically be Ghostbusters 2016: Round 2, and I've had just about enough of that.

I want it to succeed. I want it to be good.

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