While I’m not completely surprised, I wasn’t expecting Black Panther to bring in more than weekend sales than Star Wars: The Last Jedi. But it did. Black Panther just edged out Star Wars by hitting the $242 million mark, whereas Star Wars only hit $241. Obviously, those are incredible numbers for a movie. But this isn’t just any movie. Black Panther is the latest movie from the Marvel universe, and an incredible success. A huge myth that this movie dispelled was the fact that movies starring actors of color, didn’t perform well all over the world. Also, when there are a lot of female characters in a movie, the movie isn’t expected to do well. But both of those things were blown out of the water with Black Panther.
What we often see with these big budget movies is that they are overly filled with action. Many of these movies end with the last 30 minutes being so incredibly action-packed that it just escalates until some kind of incredibly violent end happens and usually for the bad guy. We see this time and again, and it’s almost like there is a perfect formula that tells movie makes what exactly they need to do. They need to have a bad guy who wants to destroy the Earth or steal something really important that could change the fate of the world. But we don’t have that in Black Panther.
Please don’t read any further if you haven’t already seen the movie, or are worried about hearing too much.
Yes, there is a final battle, but the way that the story is told makes you care about every character in the movie. Getting to see Okoye fight for her king with fury and precision was almost indescribable. Even Shuri got in on the action, which was a complete shock for me. It was exciting when M’Baku’s army arrived from the wintry mountains, and I laughed with pure delight when one of W’Kabi’s thundering battle rhinos licked Okoye’s face. A battle sequence that takes time to deftly insert a humorous moment — one that doesn’t undercut but reinforces the humanity of the combatants — is a thing of beauty.
What makes Black Panther so great is how the characters are the centerpiece of the movie, as opposed to the battles themselves. Sure, they are important and they play quite a role in all action films, but they shouldn’t be the centerpiece. Further, this movie brought us the idea that these men and women were fighting to save their own world. Which is something that usually happens, but doesn’t get conveyed in the same way in other movies. They truly believed in their actions and loyalty to the world that they were defending. This movie was incredible, largely in part to the performances by the actors. But also the writing. It’s incredibly difficult to write an action movie that conveys this kind of sentiment, but they pulled it off.
In fact, I would suggest that they pulled it off in a way that makes you want to visit the world of Wakanda again, and again. Perhaps through movie spin-offs that involve some of the characters. I mean, I was left wanting to know more about some of the characters, so I think this only makes sense. And if they’re pulling in almost $250 million, I think there’s a studio out there that will green light that project for sure.