Seth Brown | The Pun Also Rises: 'Black Panther': No spoilers

I've decided the best way to avoid spoilers in this column is to write it now, the night before I go see "Black Panther" at the North Adams Movieplex. But I definitely wanted to write about "Black Panther" because I am very excited for the movie, even though this one doesn't star Peter Sellers or Steve Martin. I'm a big Marvel fan, and now that so many movies have been assembled as part of the MCU (Making Cash Ubiquitously), I have to see all of them in theaters since they all tie into each other. This is also why I had to watch the Agents of Shield TV show, why I had to play the Marvel Heroes video game, and why I have to get the Avengers logo seared into my forehead — branding!

But "Black Panther" is somewhat unique among Marvel's pantheon of films for being the first big black Marvel superhero movie since Wesley Snipes made the Blade trilogy, a.k.a. "White Vampires Can't Jump." "Black Panther" not only features a black leading role, but an almost entirely black cast, with the two main exceptions being Martin Freeman and Andy Serkis, who clever people on the Internet are referring to as "the Tolkien white guys," thanks to Freeman's portrayal of Bilbo Baggins, and Serkis's portrayal of Gollum, Smeagol, the Witch King, and possibly also the One Ring and the entire city of Minas Tirith.

He's very talented.

And so is the rest of "Black Panther's" cast. Chadwick Boseman looks effortlessly cool as the titular Black Panther. And some of the Dora Milaje are sufficiently titular that I imagine there will be many young boys who dream of Lupita Nyong'o being cast as Black Cougar. There has also been a lot of praise for the villain of the film, since a good superhero film really relies on having a strong villain. Killmonger is expertly played by a guy whose name I forget at the moment, but he is so good at acting and such a slam dunk for the role that he has been described as "the Michael Jordan of acting."

I know you're probably thinking, "But Seth, how can you say it's expertly played if you haven't even seen the film yet?" Well, technically, I have seen the film by the time you're reading this. But also, I can be fairly sure because the reviews for "Black Panther" have been almost universally positive. Huge Marvel nerds like myself are enjoying it, people who don't see a lot of superhero films are enjoying it, even DC comics fans who don't love Marvel are all a-Twitter with praise for the movie.

I'm glad that "Black Panther," like "Wonder Woman" before it, looks to be a smash success. Representation matters. So it's nice that young women and young blacks can now find blockbuster superhero movies starring role models that look like them. (Heck, if you look like Gal Godot or Chadwick Boseman, you're doing great.) There has been some backlash (or blacklash?) from people who don't like this trend in superhero movies, to which I would say:

Do you know what a trend is? Because this is one movie out of 20 in the modern MCU that stars a black superhero. Marvel already has their next half-dozen movies planned, and none of those star a black superhero either. So if you are somehow upset that one movie has as few white people as the rest of the movies have black people, maybe you don't deserve to watch movies at all. You should just stay home and watch your ceiling fan.

If it's any consolation, there's a chance your ceiling fan is actually played by Andy Serkis.


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