The radical politics of Black Panther, by Mark Powell.
“Black Panther” opened in Australian cinemas recently and it certainly does not disappoint. It’s the eighteenth movie of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, a franchise that over the past ten years has made $13.5 billion globally at the box office. Make no mistake though; this is not just an action-packed adaptation of the original comic book. With a budget of $200 million, this is also the slickest presentation of progressive politics that you are likely to witness this year. …
The Black Panther comic was first published in 1966, just a few months before The Black Panther Party — a violent civil rights political movement — began. So, it’s not by accident that the movie’s opening and closing scenes are set in Oakland, California, bookending the entire movie, the very place where The Black Panther Party was established …
T’Challa’s alternative is essentially the Democratic Party platform: spending lots of money in inner-city Oakland, as though that hasn’t been tried. One of the great ironies of the film is that a throwaway laugh line actually tells a story the film isn’t willing to contemplate: when a Wakandan ship decloaks and lands in Oakland, one of the kids immediately begins thinking about how to disassemble it for parts. The audience laughs – but it’s that attitude that has cursed Oakland in real life, not simple material privation. That’s why Democrats can throw trillions at the War on Poverty and end up achieving nearly nothing.
Back to the author:
Black Panther is being universally lauded for its championing of gender politics. Every major role—except the Wakadian King—is filled by a woman. …
Clearly, Black Panther is a movie with a message. Everything from the iconic “Twin Towers” at the centre of Wakanda, to the closing scene where King T’Challa sanctimoniously lectures the United Nations that: “The wise build bridges, while the foolish build barriers.” It made me wonder — for a movie that is so overtly politically, why didn’t he just say “the foolish build walls”? Or would that have been just too obvious, and miss out on the use of alliteration…?
Recommend sampling, not watching all the way through:
hat-tip Stephen Neil