The buzz around Black Panther, Marvel’s first black superhero film, is palpable. Weeks before it arrives in theaters, the film has already morphed into the joyous reprieve that black America—in fact, all of America—needs right now. Celebrities are buying out entire theaters in underserved communities so young black children can look up and finally see themselves as superheroes. But the hype doesn’t end at America’s border. Book clubs, comic fans, and movie lovers across the globe are coming together to host special screenings to watch the star-studded (and all black) cast.
The excitement has translated into impressive ticket pre-sales. The film, which will be released on Feb. 16, has already outpaced other superhero movies in advance ticket sales for Fandango’s online tickets service. The early reviews suggest the film is not only a “game-changing movie” for Marvel, but also well on its way to becoming a “defining cinematic moment” for on-screen racial and gender representation. But as hype for the film reaches a crescendo, so does a glaringly obvious question: can the film live up to expectations?
BLACK PANTHER is incredible, kinetic, purposeful. A superhero movie about why representation & identity matters, and how tragic it is when those things are denied to people. The 1st MCU movie about something real; Michael B. Jordan’s Killmonger had me weeping and he’s the VILLAIN
Black Panther has always carried a heavy burden—the only black person at the table (fictional or not) usually does. Stan Lee and Jack Kirby first added Black Panther to the Marvel universe in 1966, not long before the Black Panther Party was founded in the US. T’Challa immediately felt the political pressure and in a Fantastic Four strip in the same year, tried to change his name to Black Leopard. Black Panther endured and in 2018, the film version of T’Challa is finally embracing his role as a black superhero.