We know we’re late to the party on this, folks, since it took us quite a while after the Black Panther movie came out in theaters to go see it. (Not for lack of wanting to! We just have packed schedules here at Oneshi Press HQ.) But when we finally did, we were so inspired, blown away, excited, moved! We knew we had to write about it. So here, for your enjoyment, are:
Ten Reasons Why Oneshi Press Is Way Into #WakandaForever:
- “Progressive” doesn’t even cover it. Black Panther basically took a passing glance at the bar for big-budget superhero films’ progressive chops and then leapt over it with about ten miles to spare. Mostly black cast? Check. Depictions of multiple culture within that cast? Check. Cultural representation well researched and respectfully depicted? Check. Respect for female characters? Double check. Blatantly calling out social injustice? Check, check, check. Offering some very real ideas about combatting injustice? Check. I mean. Just. Wow.
- Black Panther is also immersive. Not only is Black Panther part of the ever-expanding Marvel universe (or is it a multiverse at this point? We’re betting it’s a multiverse), it’s immersive unto itself. Wakanda is a multicultural utopia in which many traditions, cultures, and languages coexist peacefully and even joyfully. In which the world’s most progressive tech lives alongside pastoral lifestyles. In which the people in charge care deeply for each of the diverse heritages that make up their country. And all of this blends into the larger world and universe around it. It’s just. *sniffle* We just can’t even, you guys.
- It is gorgeous! The design, effects, costuming, backgrounds, and just freaking everything in this movie blew us away, aesthetically and thematically. The way the city of Birnin Zana incorporated technological marvels into skyscrapers based on traditional designs and set it all in a lush green landscape? Lovely. And the outfits! From the traditional dress of the tribal leaders to the slick-AF tailored suits and designer dresses to the Black Panther suit itself, we were gaga for all of it. And the landscapes? Breathtaking. A+++.
- It’s a good freaking movie. Look. It doesn’t really need to be said that a superhero movie with an almost all-black cast, most of them speaking with African accents, is amazing. But a good one? A really, really good movie that nails pretty much everything, from high-speed car chases and super-powered fights to the quiet, profound moments between family members? Now that is something truly groundbreaking. And we want way more of it.
- It went deep. Also, the film didn’t just put people of color in front of the camera; the behind-the-scenes teams were diverse AF, too. As Taryn Finley put it at HuffPo: “It matters that many of the people behind the scenes who are helping tell this story are black. They bring a cultural understanding to the set that can’t be learned, and they help elevate the film with a specific kind of nuance and sophistication.” You can feel this nuance in every scene of the film, from the stunning costuming and diversity of languages used, to the depth of the characters’ experiences.
- In that vein, let’s talk about Killmonger. Michael B. Jordan’s character was one of the most nuanced villains we’ve seen in a Marvel movie, and we think probably one of the most important. Because his anger at the world—and specifically at Wakanda for leaving him and his people alone in it—was justified. So much so that many of the other characters, though horrified by what he planned to do with his rage, couldn’t hold it against him. The film didn’t pull any punches when referring to the effed-up system in which people of color—particularly African Americans—live. A system that sets people up to become monsters, then blames them for turning into them. We need to talk about this more, and in such brutally honest terms.
- That lab tho. Also, we’d like to point out just how much we loved seeing the inside of a hella-high-tech lab turning out the most advanced technology in the world…run by a black woman and staffed with people of color. When’s the last time we saw that happen in entertainment? Approximately, um, never. Talk about role models! Also, Letitia Wright, we adore you.
- Woman warriors! Speaking of which… Next, can we talk about the women warriors for a second? Let’s just say that our co-founder, Lynsey G., started crying pretty much the moment she saw two of the Dora Milaje walk through the door in that L.A. apartment. Which is to say, the first scene of the movie. Hey. The depiction of women not just as “strong female character” archetypes, but highly trained, effective warriors with a depth of emotions and a wealth of experiences? Rare. So rare that Lynsey couldn’t handle how beautiful and inspiring it was to see it happening. Over and over, through the whole movie. We are psyched about their comic-book series, folks. Danai Gurira is a mega hero, okay?
- Also, Black Panther is funny. In a badass, punching-up, speaking truth to power kind of way. I mean, those quips about “another white boy to fix” and calling Martin Freeman’s character “colonizer” to his face? Oh hell yes.
- #WakandaForever. Look. We’re not super great at watching the Marvel movies in order or on time. So we watched Thor: Ragnarok literally the day before we went to see Black Panther. And it was fun! But we thought the whole “Asgard isn’t a place, it’s a people” thing felt a little tacked on. Not that the idea isn’t nice, but viewers never had a chance to get to know the people of Asgard, so we were like, “Meh.”But the people of Wakanda? Pshyeah. We like them. And the idea of Wakanda? A place with such strength, the wisdom to use it for peace, the discernment to value tradition and embrace progress? A place that has chosen to use its power to help oppressed people the world over? Now that is something Oneshi Press can get 300% behind.And—stay with us here—as we left the movie theater, pretending like we weren’t crying…we started to feel bummed that Wakanda isn’t a real place in our world. But then (and yes, we know how hokey this sounds) we remembered the idea behind Thor: Ragnarok. Then we realized that if the world could think of Wakanda as a people, not a place? And if the Wakandan people could be anyone who wants to make the world a better place by doing justice for the opressed, and for elevating the voices of the repressed, and for embracing change for the better? Wakanda could become realer than a place. It could become a force of progress in an effed-up world.
Ah, crap. We’re crying again.
So, basically, what we’re saying is… #WakandaForever.