~ by Michael Tennant ~
A movie is not always just about one thing. There are layers.
On the surface Black Panther is an excellent superhero film. Well-acted and direct, with some stunning special effects. They brought the fictional nation of Wakanda to life before our eyes. Chadwick Boseman as Black Panther and Michael B. Jordan as Killmonger were perfect as two sides of the same coin. It was a nice illustration of the sins of the father (and uncle) coming home. But that is not the whole story.
Director/co-writer Ryan Coogler and company managed to weave multiple themes into one beautiful tapestry, exploring some big ideas, and not just the low-hanging fruit. Yes, they explore the treatment of different ethnicities by those that wield power across the planet. Jordan’s character references the plight of slaves taken from Africa during the era of Colonization by his wanting to die a free man rather than live in bondage, in chains.
Beyond that the film asks the question: Should those of us who have the means help the rest of the world? Is there a responsibility to care for our neighbors? Can a world leader simply close their borders and ask everyone else on the planet to fend for themselves?
Yes, there is that temptation. The argument is that it is not our problem, that we need to take care of our own house first.
This is a very ‘American’ question. It has come up time and time again and the filmmakers do a nice job of framing their argument about it.
Ultimately as humans we are all brothers and sisters across the world no matter how often we try to blow each other up. Taking care of each other is the only way we can take care of this Earth. Putting aside our own arrogance and selfishness to reach out with basic human compassion can actually save the world.
We are all the same tribe. We are brothers. We are sisters. We are family.
Time for us to act like it.