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The Pioneer

Ryan Coogler is three for three with newest film

Photo courtesy of Marvel

Photo courtesy of Marvel

Tawny Pederson,
Contributor

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Growing up, my household was filled with comic books and a superhero movie collection. My dad is a superfan. He can tell you the smallest detail about any superhero, world, villain, weapon, you name it. So now, I may not be as knowledgeable as him, but I know enough.

My favorite Marvel superheroes are Hulk, Black Widow and Spider-Man. My favorite Marvel movies are “Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2,” “The Incredible Hulk” and now “Black Panther.”

Two weeks ago, “Black Panther” was released in theaters. This movie was highly anticipated because Marvel is good at a lot of things — but diversity isn’t one of them.

The Black Panther was created by Stan Lee. He is a Marvel superhero, first appearing in “The Fantastic Four” in 1966 in the Silver Age of Comic Books, issue 52. “Black Panther” is T’Challa, the king and protector of the fiction African nation called Wakanda.

He gets his enhanced powers from the ancient Wakandan rituals of drinking the  heart-shaped herb which they grow in a sacred garden. His powers and advantages are science, knowledge, extreme physical attributes, fighting skills, as well as advanced technology from Wakanda to combat his enemies.

Wakanda is different from any other place in Africa because it’s much more technologically advanced. The reason behind that is the massive vibranium, an indestructible metal, meteorite crashed there.

The movie showed the background of Wakanda, how the Black Panther is chosen and then introduces us to the countries technology.

T’Challa is immediately challenged for the throne from factions within his own country after his father the king’s death. He is stripped of his Black Panther powers for the fight and still defeats his challenger, sparing his life.

“The story of this Black Panther is – what am I allowed to say?” Lupita Nyong’o, who plays Nakia, a war dog of Wakanda, told reporters at Comic Con. “The Black Panther’s leadership is really threatened by two foes who come together and so Black Panther gets the help of the CIA and the Dora Milaje to try and defeat the enemy.”

Ryan Coogler’s “Black Panther” was the second fastest movie to make $400 million at the domestic box office, tying with “Jurassic World,” according to website Box Office Mojo’s Sunday estimates. The fastest to beat both of them was “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.”

“Black Panther” not only was much needed in the Marvel world but also needed in this hectic time in America. The racial tension in our country has tremendously grown especially with the split views regarding the current administration and other social issues like Black Lives Matters and LGBT movements.

While hatred spreads to people of color, many children feel like they don’t fit in. With the right representation, however, this feeling can be diminished.

Michelle Obama told USA Today in 2016, “When I come across many little black girls who come up to me over the course of these seven and a half years with tears in their eyes, and they say: ‘Thank you for being a role model for me. I don’t see educated black women on TV, and the fact that you’re first lady validates who I am.’”

This is touching to have such a movie like this because lack of representation definitely impacted the way I looked at myself as a child. Being brown with coarse hair surrounded by fair-skinned women with straight hair made me question my identity. Seeing someone that looks like you on a big screen is a feeling like no other.

This movie was definitely up to par with the other Marvel movies and I am not the only person who thinks this. “Black Panther” has a 97 percent Rotten Tomatoes score, which is the highest of any comic-book superhero movie. It’s no surprise that the movie got such this substantial score and I plan on seeing it again.

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Ryan Coogler is three for three with newest film