Black Panther 2018 – Solid Philosophical Content
March 22, 2018 at 2:53 pm - Views: 114 #343
I was pleasantly surprised by Black Panther. First of all, note that I’m a sucker for Marvel movies, I’ve seen every single extended universe movie and am a regular watcher of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
But I expected to see the same old formula, bad guy likes beating people up and the good guy doesn’t like it, but with a lot of Democrat talking points because of the media attention and Hollywood pressures surrounding the movie.
However, I thought there was a lot to learn from the movie from everyone watching it, and overall the message was great. More and more Marvel movies are focusing on ideological debates in addition to action, and I’m enjoying it a lot.
Without giving too much of the story away, the villain of the story grew up poor in an inner city with a broken family. He blamed the Wakanda, the fictional African country, for his broken family, but blamed white people for his poverty.
Wakanda meanwhile is full of traditions that make it somewhat easy to corrupt just by replacing one key leader of the society. Overall it is a good nation, but when the leader falters, the entire country falters.
The ideologies I really liked:
- The dangers of blind loyalty and tribalism can lead to corruption and death. Wakanda repeats the idea we see throughout history, that one bad ruler can lead to the downfall and death of the entire nation. That’s why we built the USA on a system of checks and balances, and should stick to that policy.
- Rather than fight your perceived enemies, its better to be the change you want to see in the world. Again, without giving away the movie, the villain wanted to rise up and kill all of the white people who he perceived were oppressing the people in the inner cities, the heroes were not interested in that plan and wrestled with their own inner struggles about whether to help the world or to maintain the protectionism that helped them prosper for so long.
The movie made Wakanda out to be some sort of utopia at times. Some people might see the system of government in Wakanda and think because it was so successful in the movie it must be successful in reality. However, note that the only reason they were successful was a fictional event where a huge asteroid containing the most amazing metal every dropped onto their location, and therefore Wakanda was able to maintain full ownership of that rare metal that also has magical technology properties.
As we know from history and present events in Africa, tribalism is not a good way to run a society and leads to all sorts of poverty and other issues.
I don’t think the people who made the movies were trying to tell us that somehow Wakanda was a good system of government, but they immerse us into the ideologies of the characters and the characters certainly have those opinion.
The other part of the movie a lot of people didn’t like is that they threw in a random white person, Martin Freeman, when most of the movie took place in Africa. However, take note of the moral of the story and how his presence may have had an impact on the characters and of course the viewers of the movie.
When the villain talked about overthrowing and using violence to improve the situation of his brothers in the inner cities, Martin Freeman served as context as to the kind of person who would be included in that carnage. He helped the characters learn that people with totally different backgrounds and skin colors are still people. He also happened to provide a lot of valuable information that the writers needed a way to sneak into the movie, but that wasn’t too distracting.
Overall I give that movie a 10/10 for action, special effects, creativity, and a great ideological debate.
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