Black Panther: the list

I just watched Black Panther and I just can’t stop thinking about it. Perhaps the best way to relive the movie is to make a list of all the things I liked about it (and didn’t like about it). So here’s a list of the characters, ranked from the worst to the best.

Why’d you kill your brother, man? And there was absolutely no justification for leaving his family behind. What’s with the lying and deception and the cover up? I thought you’d be such an awesome father figure. You were the black panther! But all you spoke on the ancestral plane was about yourself. Even your son’s nervousness became about how it was disgraceful to you. Total self-obsessed #fail.

Dude, T’Chaka didn’t kill N’Jobu for you. It must take some weird mental gymnastics to assign so much importance to yourself. Don’t you know these royal folk kill and marry for throne and power and not people? Also, what’s with the interference in the ritual combat? As keeper of the traditions of Wakanda, I expected better from you. Total self-loathing #fail

I loved Nakia at the opening of the movie, but I soon realised that she was the typical NGO girl. She wants to do good in the world but doesn’t want to get her hands dirty. Why couldn’t you support Killmonger’s revolution? Why’d you go weak in the knees for T’Challa even though his vision for Wakanda and the world didn’t match with yours? And you brought a white man to Wakanda just because he took a bullet for you? How could you endanger Wakanda like that!? 50 points from Wakanda for being brave but stupid.

Man, I loved his vision. This guy was the moral compass of the movie. I wish he was a little cleverer, though. Also, really bad move going for the revolver there, what were you going to achieve by killing T’Chaka or Zuri? Shouldn’t you have just gone to the council, bowled them over with your vision for humanity and got them on your side? Sheesh. Wasted life.

You knew he was your cousin, but you didn’t tell the council. You could’ve embraced him and welcomed him back into the family and listened to him, but instead you chose to accept his challenge.. for what? To show how macho you were? This hyper-masculinity, is just the worst trait a hero can have! Even when you disagreed with the ancestors, you did so for all the wrong reasons (your ego) and your idea of changing the world was shit. You played right into the white man’s hand, brother. You’re the Wakandan MLK.

Black Panther movie characters

Black Panther movie characters

BEST LITTLE SISTER EVER? Her camaraderie with T’Challa is sibling #goals. Also, precocious girl genius and bubbly teenager with zest for life. And funny too? Just take my heart already.

Strong on the outside, tender on the inside. Righteous challenger and worthy brother at arms. Your disdain for the white man just bowled me over, mighty gorilla! Woof! Woof! Woof!

What a character! And also what a tragedy. He had everything going for him. But I might be biased because Michael B. Jordan, is one of the most beautiful men I have seen on screen. I just couldn’t take my eyes off him. Such an unbeatable combination of boyish charm and swagger! Only I feel sad that the writers did such a poor job with him. In their desire to conform to the Marvel universe rule of keeping villains evil, they simply attributed too much cruelty and coldness to a compassionate man. Anybody who is cruel and selfish could never dream of an uprising of the oppressed. It just didn’t sit with the character when he wreaked so much senseless havoc. But even after all that, you end up falling in love with him and that last line just breaks your heart – “Bury me in the ocean with my ancestors who jumped from ships, because they knew death was better than bondage” :'( He was the Wakandan Malcolm X

Keeper of the oath. When everyone else was getting carried away by their emotions, she kept her head on her shoulders and stuck to doing her duty, but only after making sure that nobody got harmed in the process. I also loved that she, and not her husband is the best warrior in Wakanda. And such ferocious and strong love that it brings a lord to his knees and immediately puts an end to the conflict. A truly exemplary leader of the Dora Milaje!

The man who taught us that bae truly means “before anyone else”. By his act of surrender in front of his love he just made the movie for me. What love! My god, what love! I had tears in my eyes when he kneeled before Okoye. In my humble opinion, this is how husbands should be and this is truly how men can redeem themselves. But even apart from that, his intensity and presence was amazing. He was also the only one in the kingdom who really cared for the laws and traditions. But what’s most re-affirming is that despite being in the border guard, despite staying away from his family and despite being such a hardened war hero who lost his family to conflict, he was still in touch with his emotions and loved so deeply. A truly beautiful person.

Bonus: Armored War Rhino 🦏 that stops mid-stampede to lick Okoye’s face. Well, what can I say guys? When you train a living weapon, this is how you should do it. Even in the ravages of war, you should be able to find your heart.

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