Indiana Area Senior High School

By JOE LUETKEHANS–  As Marvel continues to fill movie theaters with its monthly offerings of new additions to the “MCU” or Marvel Cinematic Universe, audiences have seemed to have consistent expectations for each new film.  

According to critics and moviegoers alike, however, Marvel seems to have bested even its own formula with its newest offering, Black Panther, released on February 16 and starring Chadwick Boseman and Michael B. Jordan.  

Kicking off from Captain America: Civil War where viewers first met Prince T’Challa, the titular character played by Boseman, the story follows him as he returns to the fictional African nation of Wakanda, where he is to step up to the position of king.  He is soon challenged by Erik Killmonger, who wants to use Wakanda’s advanced technologies to further his own motive.  

The plot is an original Marvel screenplay which borrows heavily from the Black Panther’s origin story outlined in several comic runs.  Although the character was briefly present in the last Captain America movie, audiences remained curious as to his details and character development, which the new film delves into heavily.

Black Panther has exceeded expectations at the box office, making more than 700 million USD worldwide so far, smashing its first-week competitors and far surpassing its 200 million USD budget.  The film is stacked to surpass Marvel’s past offerings, with recent films such as Thor: Ragnarok making 853.4 million USD and Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol 2 making 863.7 million USD upon finishing their theater runs.  

The titular character and his companions are expected to be a key part of Avengers: Infinity War, which is projected to be one of Marvel’s highest grossing films, surpassing both the first Avengers movie and its sequel, which made 1.5 and 1.4 billion USD respectively.  

The film has shown to be popular within IHS as well.  Since the movie’s release on February 16, a quarter of IHS students who responded to the survey have already seen, it, and the number is steadily growing.  

Freshman Arianna Moore agrees that this is a breath of fresh air for Marvel stating, “It probably takes a top spot and ties for one of my favorite Marvel movies of all time. It was very well thought out and it wasn’t trying overly hard to be a setup for the next Avengers movie. The acting was on point, the script was amazing, and the effects were some of the best I’ve seen since Doctor Strange. Even though the movie was pretty serious, it did have its funny moments. On a scale of 1-10, it would be probably a 9.5, since a 10 is hard to come by these days, but it’s an excellent movie overall…”

The film has received accolades from several groups, including movie critics, general audiences, and those seeking the film’s social messages of empowerment and equality. Many have given props to the film’s writers for the main antagonist, Killmonger, for his complex background and seemingly progressive motive, albeit through violent means.

For some IHS students, however, the film seems to be polarizing.  In an online survey, students who responded that they had seen the movie seemed to be split on whether it was the critically acclaimed hit many people thought it was, or simply a rehash of Marvel’s standard superhero movie formula.  

Sophomore Henry Powers was not as impressed by some with the new movie stating, “It was a standard Marvel movie, except there was a new guy.”  This appears to be a mildly popular consensus.  

Senior Aiden Quarles enjoyed a majority of the film but believed that it certainly had its flaws.  “It doesn’t deserve as much praise at it receives. The pacing was off, the actions scenes fell flat (with a standout being South Korea)…Jordan’s performance was good, yet a tad bit overperformed. The characters had good chemistry, there are many beautiful visuals throughout, and most of the humor fell short of delivering a punch. Overall, though, this was an enjoyable movie with an ok message that was nice to see in a superhero, but could’ve been subtler.”


[Photo by  Joseph Luetkehans]

Photo Caption:  Freshman Adam Shephard watches the trailer for Marvel’s Black Panther, still excited since seeing the movie days prior. 


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