The second part of the film adaptation of “Black Panther” begins in the cinema. The exception is the diverse cast.
In 2018, Hollywood could proudly pat itself on the back: it finally was black cinema suitable for blockbusters.
Marvel’s superhero epic “Black Panther” was the first film with a predominantly black cast to top the movie charts for the year.
Now follows the successful sequel with «Black Panther: Wakanda Forever». The first weekend will also set the box office ringing.
Director Ryan Coogler and his crew faced a terrible setback after the first installment of the series with the unexpected death of lead actor Chadwick Boseman. “Wakanda Forever” is also about dealing with loss.
Course review: «Black Panther: Wakanda Forever»
After the death of King T’Challa (played by superstar Chadwick Boseman, who died of cancer in the first installment), the kingdom of Wakanda mourns the loss of its revered leader and protector. Queen Ramonda (Angela Basset), her daughter Shuri (complex Letitia Wright) and the all-female fighting unit Dora Milaje must once again defend a world power from invaders.
Joining the usual mundane villains is a new force: the Talocan, a sea people led by King Two-Face Namor. Now Wakanda must form an alliance to ensure its continued existence.
The second installment of Marvel’s superhero movie is convincing for long stretches as a feminist action drama. In Wakanda, women make the decisions, no ifs or buts.
After the death of lead actor Chadwick Boseman, who embodied Black Panther in the first installment, screenwriters Ryan Coogler (who also directed) and Robert Cole faced a huge challenge. How can the mystical power of a Marvel hero be passed on when he no longer exists?
Coogler and Cole opted for the most consistent of all narratives: T’Challa’s death is part, if not the core, of the new story. A superhero’s mother and sister join forces to lead the country into the future. The final scene leaves no doubt: The saga of Wakanda and Black Panther has not yet been told to its end.
The film opened in the United States in a record-breaking manner. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever grossed $180 million in its first weekend of release. That ranks him second on the annual list of the best in the US.
Ethnic minorities inevitably learned how to deal with setbacks in the film business. As the current Hollywood Diversity Report from the University of Los Angeles shows, successes like “Black Panther” remain the exception.
People of color (PoC) and women are still grossly underrepresented in key roles in the film industry, such as directors and writers.
The Revolution of Black Cinema
Actresses, filmmakers and producers have been fighting for equality for decades.
The Netflix production “Is black enough for you? will look at the black cinema revolution of the 1970s that gave rise to the “New Black Cinema”. Whoopie Goldberg, Samuel L. Jackson and Laurence Fishburne have their say – actresses and actors who have become Hollywood’s top stars despite being punished for minorities.
That hasn’t changed much. Back in 2017, it was a sensation when black indie director Barry Jenkins won three Oscars with the coming-of-age drama “Moonlight.” It tells the story of a coming-of-age gay African-American man.
A year earlier, the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite sparked controversy about the underrepresentation of black talent in Hollywood. Neither in 2015 nor in 2016 were there any Blacks in the four major acting categories.
In addition, the American film factory Hollywood is basing itself on a racist milestone: the epic silent film “The Birth of a Nation” from 1915 is considered the first blockbuster in its history.
Originally titled The Clansman, the Civil War film glorifies the racist and murderous Ku Klux Klan. The film was a box office hit and led to the reformation of a secret society in the US that had been disbanded decades earlier.
Ariel and the trolls
Even today, people of color in Hollywood are still far from the goal of equality. This is a current example. After Disney released the trailer for the remake of “The Little Mermaid,” there was a backlash.
Arielle is 19 years old played by African-American musician Halle Bailey. The cast drew a lot of cheers and praise online, but also vicious rejection and the hashtag #NotMyArielle.
“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” is supposed to build on the success of the previous film. If successful, it will also take Hollywood an important step forward.
In any case, the action drama is a good example in terms of representation: the cast is not only largely black, but also predominantly female.
SRF 1, 10vor10, 14.11.2022, 21:50