I went to see Marvel Comics’ latest film Black Panther with high expectations given the rave reviews by movie critics. After watching the film I found myself disappointed in many ways.
Here are just a few of the reasons I found the movie lacking and harmful to children, especially black children.
- As with all Hollywood films there is gratuitous violence. What makes this film different is the violence is entirely black on black violence. It is a reflection of what black kids see everyday living in the hood.
- The film celebrates the idea of rule by divine right, the rule of kings and queens. It is about the transfer of power by violent means (hand to hand combat).
- The film presents the idea that ordinary black people should not be given access to technological advances because they will not or cannot use it wisely. Blacks withholding knowledge from blacks is all to common place in inter city schools.
- The film denigrates black soldiers, especially those who serve in special operations units such as the Navy SEALs. The protagonist is a former Navy SEAL played by Michael Bakari Jordan.
- The film is focused on revenge, black family against black family revenge that ends in death and destruction.
- The film begins with a black man killing his brother and then abandoning his brother’s orphaned son. This leaves the nephew to grow up without his father and go on a quest to kill his cousin in order to become king. The idea of black boys growing up without their father is all to familiar in the hood.
This is a short list of the negatives.
Rather than lifting up the black community, it denigrates the black man.
I left saddened that Marvel used an entirely black cast to make such a film. A film that, in my opinion, celebrates violence, nepotism and the haves versus the have nots.
Black Panther is all about black power of the wrong kind.
There is enough violence in our world, particularly when it comes to young black boys growing up in the hood. Seeing this film glorifies black on black violence. It’s about two black gangs (tribes) fighting one against the other over control of a technologically advanced hood. The enemy is not in America. The enemy is in Africa, where real dictators, tribal and religious warfare is being conducted. If the character black panther wanted to make a difference then he would do it freeing the people of Africa. If he wanted to build a science center it would not be in America but in any country in Africa. That is where it is needed most, in the dark continent.
Perhaps Marvel should rethink where it is going with its franchise. Given the recent deaths in a school in Parkland, Florida, Hollywood needs to rethink how it portrays violence, especially gun violence.