Movies, Reviews

Black Panther Review: Wakanda, The One African Country That Could Never be Called a ’Shithole’

Black Panther is the first black-led Marvel film directed by Ryan Coogler, starring Chadwick Boseman (Black Panther/T’challa), Lupita Nyong’o (Nakia), Michael B. Jordan (Killmonger), Angela Basset (Ramonda), Danai Gurira (Okoye), Letitia Wright (Shuri), Daniel Kaluuya (W’kabi), Martin Freeman (K.Ross) and Winston Duke (M’baku).

I have been excited about Black Panther since it was announced in 2016 and when it hit our cinemas, I couldn’t wait. What I did was try to tone down my excitement because I hate to be disappointed. I watched with precision, writing down my thoughts and analyzing every action, my purpose was to see if Africa was portrayed as it is or as it should be. I stilled myself while watching the movie and somewhere in between, I forgot to be a critic and got sucked into the land of Wakanda.

This movie is set in a fictional African country called Wakanda, where citizens have managed to live without interference and colonization because they tricked the world into believing they are powerless, while the country sits on the most powerful mineral, vibranium. In this case, vibranium can literally turn water to wine.

Wakanda has 5 tribes and one king. In Wakanda, powerful men understand the advantage of working with powerful women. Women who are sexy, strong and at the same time, smart and funny. In Wakanda, the best warrior is female and she has a whole battalion of females fighting with her

Black Panther will make a lot of Africans happy because it is in sharp contrast with the world we live in our continent. I was happy to travel to the fictional Wakanda, to see how the government of the country has held on to their natural resources, protecting their country from invasion by hiding themselves in plain sight, and how they live in harmony. Even their technology is way advanced than the west and the chief scientist is a woman too. The leaders of Wakanda are noble, incorruptible, heroic and a mix of the young and the experienced. This African country, could never be referred to, as a ‘shit hole’
However, as true to Africa/Africans we find that the enemy of Wakanda is not the white man (Klaus) whom Black Panther fought tooth and nail to catch/kill, the real enemy is Wakanda’s very own, Killmonger, T’challa’s cousin who has lived all of his life in the US and holds a massive grudge against EVERYONE.

Killmonger’s anger may be well found, as the previous king, Tchalla’s father killed his own father. Killmonger wanted revenge, he had a right to be angry but he took things too far. He coveted the Wakanda throne and his sole mission was to destroy the world not minding how Wakanda would be affected. Killmonger would be stopped but first, he would rule Wakanda.

According to Lupita N’yogo, “We all see ourselves better when we see ourselves in someone else”. This film connects us all with the colour of our skin. Wherever you may come from in the world, if your skin is black, you’re a descendant of Africa. This is why Wakandans have all sorts of accents and influxes from Nigeria to Ghana to Southern and Eastern Africa. In this African country, being king was not compulsorily hereditary, if some tribes wanted, they could fight for the crown with the incumbent king. These community fights happened twice, and they were two of the most powerful, heart wrenching and superb part of the movie where rich African culture was lavishly displayed.
One problem I may have is the fight sequence; all the fight scenes were nicely choreographed but if you look really closely, you’ll see that it seemed like a conscious dance routine, it didn’t appear seamless all the time. Also, No one got the accents right but… who ever does?

This is a brilliant movie, well thought of, well scripted and a visual joy. The reveal of Wakanda was euphoric, it didn’t come as a shock because the camera took us from one mouth-watering scene to the next knowing the climax may be too much so the cinematographer prepared us as we finally landed in Wakanda, the beautiful country that took my breath away. Every angle shot was perfect, every colour matched, there were no irrelevant cuts and let me tell you, every view looked as real as life and as surreal as an artwork. I was curious about who shot those fantastic pictures and I went searching. I found out it’s a woman….Oh, the joy.

As all Marvel movies, Black Panther ended in victory and the hero prevailed. But the extra scene after the credits gave me pause. The future of Wakanda is in the hands of King T’challa and he has decided to open up Wakanda’s resources to other countries.

Question: Would you advise Wakanda to share their resources with the world? What would the repercussion(s) be?

Honestly, I worry that this may cause irreparable damage but T’challa is damned if he does and damned if he doesn’t. He is a wise man with many great advisers so when next I travel to Wakanda, I hope the Africa we wish to live in remains as powerful, un-colonized and as developed as I left it in 2018.

If you’re from Wakanda, your skin colour is not a deterrent, you can be anyone you choose to be.