Ever since it was first announced that Marvel/Disney would be making a solo film about Black Panther, it became crystal-clear to everyone how important this film could possibly be for the Marvel Cinematic Universe and how important a film it could be in general, especially when representation in front of and behind the cameras for those who aren’t able-bodied White men leaves a lot to be desired. (Sterling K. Brown was the first African-American actor to ever win at the Screen Actors Guild Awards for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama since the very first ceremony in 1995, and is also the first African-American actor to win the Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series since 1998. To quote the late, great Amy Winehouse: What kind of fuckery is this?!) And with every decision Marvel/Disney made, it became even clearer that they knew all eyes were on them and that they had no intentions of fucking this up.
From their attempts to hire Ava DuVernay as director (which unfortunately fell through, only for her to end up in the director’s chair for A Wrinkle In Time, and FYI: this interview with DuVernay took place long before LA Weekly abruptly fired most of its staff and continued using much of their work to promote their publication, so don’t hold that against her or April Wolfe and please give their words the attention they deserve) to Ryan Coogler being hired not too long after, to every casting decision that resulted in the hiring of Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Angela Bassett, Danai Gurira, Forest Whitaker, Lupita Nyong’o, Daniel Kaluuya, and many others, to allowing Coogler to hire many a former collaborator to join him on set instead of letting Marvel/Disney use their own familiar in-house talent, to the release of one beautiful poster after another after another after another after another (I haven’t seen this many beautifully-designed posters for a comic-book film since Wonder Woman, and none of these Black Panther posters were designed by Marvel/Disney but are actually fan art from Dettrick Maddox a.k.a. @MrDesignJunkie), the excitement and antici……………………………………….pation only seemed to grow with every new development. In fact, the levels of anticipation and excitement are so high for Black Panther that the hashtag #BlackPantherSoLIT was soon created to mark every occasion of Twitter and the rest of the Internet learning something new about the film. From the casting decisions to the trailers to the fact that Lexus now has us wanting to buy cars that we can’t possibly afford, to the fact that there are now Black Panther toys for kids to play with as they run around with their friends and family pretending to be King T’Challa or Shuri or Okoye or any other member of the Dora Milaje.
We now only have a couple of weeks to go until Black Panther hits theaters worldwide and as many of us begin doing the Birdman Handrub with each poster we see displayed on buses, in subways, and on billboards, it’s only natural for everyone to wonder when the social-media embargo ends and the early reviews drop so they know if Black Panther is actually worth waiting for. And at the Black Panther premiere, which took place last night, it became obvious that #BlackPantherSoLIT was just as serious for them as it is for many of us.
Welcome to Wakanda. We’re at the Marvel Studios’ #BlackPanther purple carpet premiere in Hollywood! Tune in to our livestream at 6PM PT/9PM ET, presented by @MarvelChampions: https://t.co/WomkFIKEMk pic.twitter.com/hSID39oioU— Black Panther (@theblackpanther) January 30, 2018
The #BlackPanther premiere is the craziest I’ve ever been to. We’ve been stuck here in nonmoving traffic forever. I can only think this means this movie is going to be HUGE. pic.twitter.com/Zr1kcYCfCS— James Gunn (@JamesGunn) January 30, 2018
We edited our films across the hall from each other for 8 months. We talked in our edit bays, on walks around the lot. About our films, our dreams. Tonight, his comes true. On my way to the #BlackPanther premiere with a full heart for my fam, director extraordinaire #RyanCoogler! pic.twitter.com/lrxBNRsqeC— Ava DuVernay (@ava) January 30, 2018
Not since the Obamas' farewell party at the White House has there been an event so completely lit with so many Black folk in one place. #BlackPanther #BlackPantherPremiere #BlackPantherSoLIT pic.twitter.com/VGOWsAmP65— hellresidentNY (@hellresidentNY) January 30, 2018
Not too long after that, the social-media embargo finally ended and the early reviews were in…
#BlackPanther seizes the throne & wears the crown well as @MarvelStudios’ monarch. It offers even more emotional heft than the trailers promised, dazzling action, mesmerizing VFX, & exquisite costume & production design. One of the most beautifully crafted blockbusters ever made. pic.twitter.com/I62v53uF7Y— Sean Gerber (@MrSeanGerber) January 30, 2018
#BlackPanther is unlike any other Marvel Studios film. Seriously. When I call this one "fresh", I mean it in so many ways.— Shawn Madden (@shawnxmadden) January 30, 2018
#BlackPanther: I never wanted this movie to end, and as soon as it did I wanted to go back. Solid action, smart story, tons of personality. Shuri is my new fave, Nakia is everything, Killmonger is incredible, T'Challa deserves to rule the MCU. Coogler has done it again. 💜🖤💙 pic.twitter.com/t9gG3DLuCL— Angie J. Han (@ajhan) January 30, 2018
Black Panther is the best MCU movie ever. I was blown away from start to finish and I’m not even being biased. This was by far the best marvel movie to date. Thank you, Ryan Coogler! #BlackPanther pic.twitter.com/8Qh0hlOYAb— Geeks of Color (@GeeksOfColor) January 30, 2018
The MVP of #BlackPanther is Letitia Wright's hilarious, ebullient Shuri. I want a Shuri supercut, I want a Shuri spinoff, I want a capsule collection of Shuri sportswear at Opening Ceremony, and I want these things now!— Kyle Buchanan (@kylebuchanan) January 30, 2018
#BlackPanther: in a word, wow.— Borys Kit (@Borys_Kit) January 30, 2018
Black Panther looks, feels and sounds unlike any Marvel film to date. A visual feast. Wakanda is amazingly realized, the antagonist actually has an arc with emotional motivations. Marvels most political movie. So good. #BlackPanther— Peter Sciretta (@slashfilm) January 30, 2018
Ryan Coogler knocked it out of the park, some great sequences presented in a “single take/shot.” If this movie isn’t nominated for costume, art and production design awards next year, I would be seriously shocked. #blackpanther— Peter Sciretta (@slashfilm) January 30, 2018
#BlackPanther is exceptional - the James Bond of the MCU. You've seen nothing like this in a superhero movie - it's bold, beautiful & intense, but there's a depth & spiritualness that is unlike anything Marvel has ever done. It's 100% African & it is dope af. pic.twitter.com/Z77IjnIjf2— ErikDavis (@ErikDavis) January 30, 2018
BLACK PANTHER feels like the actual start of a new phase for Marvel, not only because it exists so well on its own terms, but because it feels so new and timely, through both its storytelling and the very people the story is about (and those who get to tell it). Wonderful.— Kate Erbland (@katerbland) January 30, 2018
Black Panther is amazing. Intelligent, thought-provoking, and emotionally resonant on top of being fun. Killmonger is the MCU’s best villain, bar none. Michael B. Jordan kills it. Letitia Wright is a star.— Rebecca Pahle (@RebeccaPahle) January 30, 2018
Also: there are a ton of capes.— Rebecca Pahle (@RebeccaPahle) January 30, 2018
What you need to know about #BlackPantherSoLit— Joelle Monique (@JoelleMonique) January 30, 2018
1. The movie is designed for your Black reaction. Be as loud as you need to be.
2. Grown men will weep. Hold them. It's a story we all need.
3. Every song is a bop and that soundtrack will go fast.
4. Black women fucking rule.
#BlackPantherSoLit is everything the culture is asking for. There's no need to say anything more. Don't let anyone spoil even a second for you. Just make sure you have a ticket.— Joelle Monique (@JoelleMonique) January 30, 2018
A superhero film is only as good as its villain, and Erik Killmonger? Has an emotional complexity Marvel hasn’t achieved since Loki in the first Thor movie.— Paige S. Allen (@goodbye_duppy) January 30, 2018
What this character is saying about legacy, identity, and blackness in DIASPORA is so powerful. #BlackPantherSoLit, truly pic.twitter.com/YnP012UX8N
I saw BLACK PANTHER tonight.— Jamil Smith (@JamilSmith) January 30, 2018
It is everything I hoped for.
That’s all I will say for now. pic.twitter.com/eQI3pZ9q59
Just got back from the Black Panther premiere and after party. You will see this movie five or six times. It is everything and then some.— Jemele Hill (@jemelehill) January 30, 2018
Yes this will be the Blackest movie of all time! Excellent special effects, compelling story line, brilliant performances! This will go down in history as Marvel’s best! #BlackPanther #BlackPantherSoLIT— Jamie “Is February 16 2018 Here Yet?” Broadnax (@JamieBroadnax) January 30, 2018
black panther was beautiful.— donald (@donaldglover) January 30, 2018
we should keep celebrating.
who’s out here?
BLACK PANTHER, my goodness.— Tessa Thompson (@TessaThompson_x) January 30, 2018
Thrilled for all y'all who got the chance to see #BlackPanther early. Now please do us a favor — and don't say too much for a couple of weeks. Please. ;-)— Greg Pak (@gregpak) January 30, 2018
I will be the first to admit that I was, and still am, worried about the early responses to Black Panther. Not because I was worried it would turn out bad, but because like many early responses to many a Marvel film, they tend to rely on so much hyperbole to express how good or great the film is, as well as letting everyone know that it’s fun and funny to watch, and that it’s so much better than (insert title of any WB/DC film here), even though the comparison really isn’t warranted or necessary. I still remember one early review for Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2 that said that it was the best sequel since The Empire Strikes Back, and now that I’ve seen Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2 more than once and think back on it, my general response to the film and that comparison pretty much boils down to…
But Ryan Coogler has proven more than once how talented he is and that his skills in the director’s chair are absolutely on point (Fruitvale Station was phenomenal, and so absolutely heartbreaking that I don’t think I can bring myself to watch it again, and Creed was amazing in almost every way possible), so I’m more than willing to have some excitement about Black Panther, while also keeping my expectations in check.
We’re almost there, everyone. Unless this tweet/meme, and the person who created it under the repeatedly mistaken impression that Black people are incapable of walking and chewing gum at the same time, convinces you that you’re much better off spending your money in a more useful and charitable manner…
Do you agree? Why or why not? pic.twitter.com/NBciVW9L4G— The Black Detour (@theblackdetour) January 29, 2018
…we have sixteen more days for everyone to decide what outfits you’ll be rocking and what food you’ll be sneaking into the theater to go see Black Panther when it finally drops. (Feel free to share in the Comments section what you’ll be wearing and what food you’ll be hiding in your purse).