Black Panther pounced all over movie screens this past month with its story about a futuristic African king-turned-superhero Avenger, garnering record-setting numbers at the box office and proving audiences are ravenous for cinematic diversity.
Current spoke with film and video students, JuJua McCrary and Nia Buchanan, at Huron High School and gathered their reactions to both the film itself and the public’s response.
What did you personally think of the movie?
JuJua: It was a good Marvel movie and, by itself, if someone is not really into the Marvel Comics movies, it was still a good film. The set and costume design were amazing.
Nia: I absolutely loved it! The acting, the visuals, the message, etc. were amazing! It was a great, well done movie! I’ve actually seen it twice and wouldn’t mind seeing it again!
What do you think the cultural impact is of having a superhero blockbuster featuring a cast of almost exclusively people of color?
JuJua: It’s important to have diversity in film because children need to be able to see someone like them represented on the big screen – if not, they compare themselves to others and think about how they cannot be that because they do not see someone that slightly resembles them.
Nia: The high-profile directors and movie-makers have an ideal image of what they want their actors to look like. I think they need to erase those images and become open-minded to try actors with different looks and backgrounds because this world is becoming more and more integrated and people like me would like to see more faces that look like us on the big screen. When I was little, I remember always seeing the white male as the superhero in movies which made me feel like someone like me could never be a superhero. Now young girls in this generation have the Wonder Woman movie to relate to and young African-Americans have Black Panther.
Why do you think people should – or should not – see the movie?
Nia: This movie made history and I think everyone should go support it. When movie-makers see how much this movie made they will most definitely hire more actors who are people of color. Also, this movie is for everyone, not just for black people. I’ve heard comments like, “I’m white, but can I go see Black Panther?” Of course you can! I’m black and I’ve seen Batman, SpiderMan, Hulk, and Captain America!
Also, I went the opening night in my African clothing, which was my Dashiki, and I also saw a lot of other people in African clothing. I’ve seen some criticism on social media about how people thought that was “doing too much,” but if you think about it, Harry Potter fans and Star Wars fans all dress up in their gear to see the movies they like. This is a movie where we get the chance to express ourselves and I think it gives non-African Americans the chance to learn more about our culture because some tend to lack knowledge in that area. #Wakandaforever!