The long-awaited film Black Panther won’t hit theaters for a few more weeks but advance tickets have been selling like crazy. In fact, they’re outselling all previous superhero movies. Though the general public still has to wait a bit longer, the premiere has come and gone and there have been a number of early screenings. Initial reviews suggest that the film very much lives up to the hype. Many of the critics, reporters, and celebs lucky enough to see the movie have been speaking out about with excitement and passion.
The mood at the premiere was set with the exciting and visually stunning purple carpet experience, complete with an African royalty dress code. This unique aesthetic made very clear that this film is for and about black people and fully celebrates the rich history and culture of Africa.
By all accounts, the film also delivers as a superhero blockbuster in its own right, with a realistic and interesting origin story, thrilling action, and solid emotional development of the characters. Of the emotional punch it packs, Brian Truitt from USA Today called it “as touching as it is thrilling.”
The characters in this film will undeniably be particularly important to black youth. To see themselves reflected on the big screen is powerful. For them to see characters to admire, from the titular T’Challa to the brilliant Princess Shuri, is impactful. Vanessa K. DeLuca from Essence tweeted after seeing the film: “I am so grateful that our young people will see this film and their minds will be transformed.”
A movement has begun to make sure as many black youth can see this film as possible. Octavia Spencer has committed to buying out a screening for an underserved community in Mississippi. Her motivation is to “ensure that all our brown children can see themselves as a superhero.” Similarly, Ellen DeGeneres is paying for a screeningfor the Boys & Girls Club Of Harlem. Additionally, numerous GoFundMe campaigns have raised over $100,000 so far to help kids across the country experience Wakanda on the big screen.
There is no doubt that this film is timely. In the current political and cultural climate, the film’s message comes at just the right time. Jen Yamato from the LA Times describes Black Panther as “a superhero movie about why representation & identity matters, and how tragic it is when those things are denied to people.” From its richly diverse cast to its strong female characters to the storyline itself, Black Panther is what we all need right now. The inclusive blockbuster might even save Hollywood, as Mashable’s Jess Joho puts it.
Is it February 16, yet?