Thursday, April 12, 2018

Wakanda for a Very Long Time!

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You may have noticed that while I love movies I'm scared of horror films and just not a fan of action flicks, particularly the tsunami of superhero Marvel adaptations in the past few years. Just the same I went to see Black Panther because it really does challenge the norms. The cast is mostly black, with a white sidekick and a white villian.

 The country these characters of colour are from, Wakanda, is depicted as progressive, if determinedly isolationist. While the monarch is male (and the Black Panther), he is surrounded by strong and independent women, some of whom are bad-ass warriors -- how else to put it?

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Black Panther now ranks as the third largest grossing motion picture of all time. Impressive as well, but it's still a superhero action film. Say it, I'm difficult to please.

The film does address important issues about societies and the meaning of power. Wakanda has thrived as a technological juggernaut rather than as a warring nation. It has also "hidden in plain sight" in order to create a peaceful and just society. There are tribes and factions in Wakanda, but they have learned to coexist.

The dramatic story line focuses on conflicting notions of where true power lies and what it means to be compassionate in the world, not just peaceful in the sense of detachment or avoidance.

This is a topical narrative given our neighbours to the south and the never-ending aggression and "my button is bigger than yours" bluster emanating from the current administration. There are plenty of Christians in the United States who seem to happily align themselves with false notions of superiority and "might makes right" which are antithetical to the gospel. And don't forget Brexit, which was really about the nostalgia for empire in Britain, a day which is long gone.

Hey, just go and watch the movie. If you're smart you'll just let it entertain you rather than brooding over its deeper meaning. That said, there is also noble self-sacrifice in the story and a major resurrection scene.

Wakanda Forever!, or at least for a very long time!

Have you seen Black Panther yet? What did you think?

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