I saw Black Panther last weekend and did a lot of thinking about it in the meantime and refresh my viewing on it just a few minutes ago and was hit just as strongly as I was the first time. The fact is, it is a complicated movie with a lot of different threads and themes; in addition, it’s one of the first Blockbusters that wasn’t just about black suffering. In the last year, there seemed to be more movies coming out with increasingly well-developed characters that rely less on the traditional ways black people show up in film. Most often we show up in movies that are about flavoring or suffering, being the first in something, overcoming difficulties, or for comedic effect. I can’t say that without the work of Hidden Figures, Moonlight, and Get Out, Black Panther would have been quite as popular. For me it’s not so much that Black Panther is the first in any way, but instead it takes the work of all the years of black people and cinema and presents a first true example of what a movie based around black people in a blockbuster can look like.
I’m incredibly awed by this movie.