"No matter where you stand with, "Who's the best villain in the MCU?" It's difficult to not want to sign the petition for a stand-alone Eric Killmonger solo film after watching this film... Never mind the Black Panther franchise!
The Fictional City of Wakanda...
“You can’t let your father’s mistakes define who you are. You get to decide what kind of king you are going to be!", says Nakia, to the future king to be, T'Challa...
Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther. Where do you start? Not only did it carve out a new adventure frontier for the MCU, but also acts as a much needed proliferate for black representation in Hollywood super flicks – and films in general!
What I mean when I say proliferate is that there had never before been this much black African American talent working together to forge a Hollywood blockbuster: Ryan Coogler, Chadwick Boseman, Kendrick Lamar et al. So that in itself is worth celebrating and thinking about.
The knock-on effects for the African American community is massive and one would think that we will be seeing much more African American leading men, African American superheroes within the genre and a hell of a lot more African American men and women working creatively within the industry post Black Panther’s release.
Some of the many external examples of the success of Black Panther are notable but the internal examples of where this flick succeeds are just as reputable!
The film historically presents a liberating anti-colonialist picture of Africa. Which is not only good for the African American community, but for storytelling also. Should we get to see more films – with a primarily African American cast, director and other creative personnel to boot – get produced throughout Hollywood, we should understand that it was Black Panther that helped proliferate the way forward for this movement.
(L:R) Andy Serkis, director Ryan Coogler, Forest Whitaker, Michael B. Jordan, Winston Duke, Daniel Kaluuya, Danai Gurira, Lupita Nyong'o, Chadwick Boseman and Letitia Wright promoting Black Panther at the San Diego Comic-Con.
"Millions of years ago, a meteorite made of Vibranium - the strongest substance in the universe - struck the continent of Africa! — N'Jobu
Black Panther opens with a sympathetic look into Black Panther’s central villain, Michael B Jorden’s Eric Killmonger. A young Killmonger asks his “bapa”, Sterling K. Brown’s N’Jobu, stories about where he is from, his “home”.
After a breathtaking GCI-goodness filled opening, taking us through the history and many staples of Wakanda and the country’s culture, N’Jobu is found out to be deceitful to current ruler of Wakanda, T’Chaka. N’Jobu is murdered on the spot, right there and then; a young Killmonger is simply abandoned.
By doing this, Coogler helps to paint and flesh out a central villain character with a lot of depth and backstory that is unheard of in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
No matter where you stand with, “Who’s the best villain in the MCU?” It’s difficult to not want to sign the petition for a stand-alone Eric Killmonger solo film after watching this film… Never mind the Black Panther franchise! Perhaps some insight into his time as a U.S. black ops soldier, where he adopted the nickname “Killmonger” as he was a persistent and ruthless killer.
"Just Don't Freeze", says Okoye.
“What are you talking about”, replies T’Chaka, “I never freeze!”
The film then picks off after the events of T’Chaka’s death. With T’Challa and Okoya speeding off outside the realms of Wakanda in a Vibranium powered space-craft in Nigeria. T’Challa is dropped off somewhere nearby and fights off some locals, in order to pick up ex-lover Nakia who has been working in Nigeria as an operative.
When we are reunited with T-Challa’s family, we get a sense right from the get go that Shuri, T-Challa’s younger sister will be a stand out; her chemistry with her brother is palpable.
"How do you think your ancestors got these? You think they paid a fair price? Or did they take it like they took everything else?" — Eric Stevens
We also realise from the beginning of the film how much of an impact Michael B. Jordan will be to the film, as he scolds a curator at a museum in London who is trying to educate him on some African artifacts.
Never before, in a Marvel film, have we felt more compelled to side and agree with a film’s primary antagonist.
We also get a feel for Andy Serkis’s Klaue, who is brilliant as a greedy Vibranium obsessed seller of the metal.
The title of ‘the best marvel villain’ doesn’t come cheap. Eric Killmonger’s political tragedy brought to light sociological, political, economic, and human geographic discussion among African, African-American and countless other viewers of different nationalities alike. Coogler with help from a superb performance from Michael B. Jordan manages to craft together one of the MCU and super-hero genre’s most despicable and yet tragic villain’s to date; managing to bypass Marvel tradition of having weak central villains to match the film’s primary protagonist.