Black Panther: Mixed reactions trail film as it hits $1 billion

King T'Challa, the Black Panther, of Wakanda, arrives for meet and greets at Disney California Adventure park, accompanied by members of the Dora Milaje - 2/16/18. (Joshua Sudock/Disneyland Resort)

Some Nigerians have expressed mixed reactions to the success of superhero flick, ‘Black Panther’, especially as the film hits a box office record of 1 billion dollars.

The Marvel-Disney film crossed the 1 billion dollars mark worldwide after debuting in China, which contributed 66.5 million dollars to a strong 100 million dollars international weekend.

Some respondents praised the movie and told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Tuesday, that it gave black people the chance to tell a story the way it suited them.

They also said that the featuring of African (especially Nigerian) artefacts such as the ‘Bronze heads’ from Benin gave a sense of inclusion; rewriting the stale, poor stereotypes of the African continent.

A lawyer, Kingsley Obade told NAN that he had seen the movie about four times, adding that he was almost addicted to the beauty of the almost all-black cast.

He said, “This is a different kind of Marvel or super hero film. This is one that holds so many lessons that we can teach our children and make them adore their colour and continent.

“The western world has portrayed us poorly for so long and it is only fair that we celebrate this film that has decided to change the narrative.”

A Chef, Chinwe Orji, said she did not feel the movie was over-hyped as speculated in some quarters, adding that the movie deserved to earn more than the current record breaking hit.

Ms. Orji said, “Everything in the movie, from the acting to the costume and the message speaks volumes. The movie deserves to make more money.”

Meanwhile, some other respondents told NAN that the producers of ‘Black Panther’ were acting on the ‘black sentiments to make more money.

They queried the fact that the producers were ‘whites’ who based the marketing on making blacks feel represented, knowing that it would make them rush to watch the film.

A copywriter, Rita Enemona, said the movie was overrated and was ‘doused in the colour of a black cast’ to make it look appealing.

“I was not too pleased with the trailer but decided to watch it because all my friends were pushing me to do so.

“To say the least, the movie did not meet my heightened expectations, it does not have the power to grip you, save the costumes and arts,” Ms. Enemona said.

A web developer, Osato Imariagbe, said the movie would have made more sense if real African scenarios were used, apart from the Chibok girls’ rescue.

“The movie wanted to paint a positive image of Africa and blacks in general, it would have used real life examples of how Africans have the upper hand, that way the inclusion will be legitimate.

“I don’t understand the hype as it is a Marvel comic that has existed for years, the story was only revised a bit for the film. There is nothing too special,” he said.

Black Panther, which is showing in cinemas, made its Nigerian debut on February 13, with an ‘African Royalty’ themed premiere.

The premiere featured celebrities and other cinema goers gracing the red carpet with African prints and attire.

It stars Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, Martin Freeman, Daniel Kaluuya, Letitia Wright, Winston Duke, Angela Bassett, Forest Whitaker, and Andy Serkis.

The movie featured Black Panther (Boseman), who on his return home as king of Wakanda, a fictional country found his sovereignty challenged by a long-time adversary thereby setting in conflict of global consequences.

It received praise for the screenplay, characters, direction, costume design, action sequences, soundtrack, and performances.

‘Black Panther’ has been referred to as one of the best films set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), noting its cultural significance.


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