Tuesday, December 25, 2018
December 25, 2018: The Year in Review: Black Panther
[2018 feels like it’s been about ten years in one, but it’s almost done, so this week I’ll AmericanStudy a handful of the biggest stories from the year that was. I’d love to hear your year in review thoughts as well!]
On one more takeaway from one of the year’s (and history’s!) biggest films.
I wrote an entire weeklong series back in March on Black Panther, and am not going to pretend I have a ton more to say about the blockbuster (seriously, per this AMC article it’s currently the third-highest grossing film of all time!), groundbreaking Marvel superhero film. But most of the subjects in this year in review series are gonna be pretty serious and kinda dark, so I thought for Christmas Day it made sense to highlight one of the year’s most feel-good stories instead.
That feel-good side to Black Panther’s uber-success is what I wanted to focus on in this additional BP post. A year and a half ago I wrote about the effects of broadening ethnic and cultural representations in the recent Star Wars films, particularly the strikingly multi-national Rogue One. Black Panther comprises a parallel but also distinct case, as it’s a mega-blockbuster Hollywood film featuring a cast that is striking due to its largely shared African and African American cultural heritage. As that last hyperlinked article illustrates, it’s difficult to overstate the effect of such a cast on audiences around the world, from those viewers who see themselves represented so fully in a blockbuster film to those who see a wider range of African and African American performers than they have perhaps ever encountered in any other cultural work. In each of those and many other cases, Black Panther has helped expand not only the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but also the horizon of cultural possibilities for superhero stories, action films, and popular culture overall.
That’s most of what I have to say about that, but for one more holiday season present for you all, here are some pictures of kids dressed as Black Panther characters. Enjoy, and happy holidays, fellow AmericanStudiers!
Next reflection tomorrow,
PS. What do you think? 2018 reflections you’d share?