‘Black Panther’ is a triumph

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Based on the “Black Panther” comics, this PG-13 movie tells the story of T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman), who assumes the protector role of Black Panther after his father’s death. He ascends his father’s throne while fighting to defend the African kingdom of Wakanda from external and internal forces.

Despite a relatively slow opening act, the film quickens as rogue soldier Erik “Killmonger” Stevens (Michael B. Jordan) steals a Wakandan artifact from a museum to sell to CIA agent Everett K. Ross (Martin Freeman), before revealing himself as T’Challa’s cousin and challenging his right to the throne.

Expertly directed by Ryan Coogler, this 135-minute-long movie was filled with suspense and action, earning $292 million in North America in its opening week.

However, the movie’s significance extends beyond its record-breaking box office numbers. As the first Marvel movie to feature a black superhero, “Black Panther” marked an important (but far overdue) milestone for the company.

Beyond the obvious positives of having a stellar cast composed of primarily African-American actors and actresses, “Black Panther” empowers people in many ways. For example, T’Challa’s younger sister Shuri’s (Letitia Wright) skill in developing incredible inventions with vibranium (including the legendary Black Panther suit) encourages young female Marvel fans to believe in their own abilities no matter their age, race or gender.

Another prime example of female empowerment in the movie is the casting itself; the majority of the most powerful characters in the movie (besides Black Panther himself) are female. These fierce warriors are not just physically powerful, however; their characters have dimension, interacting among themselves to show a more deeply emotional side to the movie and are essential to developing not only the storyline but also the other characters.

Coogler’s emphasis on the strength, intelligence and courage of the Wakandans further offers strong role models for children of color to look up to.

The costumes, designed by Ruth E. Carter, were detailed and intricate. They were thoughtfully designed, inspired by the traditional clothes of African groups, while also including a futuristic style.

With its striking CGI, “Black Panther” was a visual masterpiece that took a step in the right direction to combat the underrepresentation of minority races in films.