by G. Brown
The hype is high hurtling towards the nationwide release of Marvel’s long awaited “Black Panther”. The only thing higher than the hype is the hate some people are trying to dish out.
Check out the latest cover of Time Magazine . Comic book lore may list super strength, healing, and speed among the King’s powers, but in the real world his super power may be making money. IndieWire predicts the movie is “to gross an estimated $150 million in its first weekend” which means “Black Panther” could out perform all but two of last year’s top earning movies . The entertainment news website also says the move is “slated to slay a lot of records” since it is a primarily Blast cast with a Black director and about a Black super hero.
Movie site Fandango said at the end of January “Black Panther” was breaking advance ticket sales record and “becoming Fandango’s top-selling superhero of all time”.
The only thing better than the advance ticket sales are toy sales. Marvel began a massive merchandise push and marketing campaign to make “Black Panther action figures and toys as mainstream as apple pie.
All of this hype hit before the movie became a hit with the critics. Early reviews have critic after critic lining up to celebrate the historical impact of the film in terms of the diversity it brings to superhero films. Variety Magazine critic Peter Debruge said, “While far more mainstream — and by extension, kid-friendly — than such blaxploitation classics as ‘Foxy Brown’ and ‘Cleopatra Jones,’ ‘Black Panther’ upholds the same tradition of celebrating strong, assertive black women...”
USA Today’s critic wrote praises for the star Chadwick Boseman (King T’Challa/Black Panther) who he said gives a “roaring solo adventure“. While the superhero genre may seem like child’s play, critics say this movie mixes the fantastical with realism. Brian Truitt writes”...while there are plenty of fantastical aspects, Black Panther is extremely grounded, dealing with the consequences of ages-old colonialism and exploring isolationism at a time when actual countries are building borders rather than breaking them down.”
Just as no super hero is complete without villains, “Black Panther” has some both on and off the screen. As the movie trailer smashed viewing records in the first 24 hours after its initial release, people began complaining that the film was “too Black”…
Soon even Black Twitter had posts about boycotting the movie because co-star Michael B. Jordan reportedly wasn’t dating a Black woman. Fortunately, that went no where. Finally haters moved from boycotting to full on sabotage. A group claiming it was pro-DC comics and anti-Disney’s Marvel created an event on Facebook encouraging followers to leave low ratings and negative reviews on the critic site Rotten Tomatoes. Okay, maybe the group is new to this whole villainous, sabotage thing, but their first mistake was announcing it on FACEBOOK! They were quickly exposed and booted off Facebook.
The bad news is, “Black Panther’s” Rotten Tomatoes score dropped from it’s sterling opening rating of 100% down to 99%. The good news is–we don’t care, we’re going to see it anyway. them
This movie has become somewhat of a movement. In cities around the nation, individuals, churches, civic groups and educators are raising funds to take thousands of Black children to see the movie that shows their African heritage in a powerful light as champions of justice and intellectual heroes. Ryan Coogler as the director is set to break records that exceed his work in “Creed” and “The Fast and Furious” franchise. A primarily Black cast will be bringing a work to instill pride and educate masses about Black culture as Hollywood has never done before.
This movie is the escapism laced with realism that moviegoers need. After years of police shootings, berating by people elected to represent them, social and racial injustices, I’ll abstain from watching the daily nonsense the mainstream media calls news. Instead, I’ll be watching this for the next week…