Black Panther Will Be A Hit, Don't Worry

Black Panther Will Be A Hit, Don't Worry

"Black Panther" is not in any danger of bombing, nor should it be seen as a race-based film - it's really just an MCU movie.
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After his debut in Captain America: Civil War in 2016, the hype was built for the upcoming Black Panther solo film. From the first trailer, the movie gathered a ton of press and overwhemingly positive fan reactions. And it totally should – the movie is about one of Marvel's famous heroes, as well as being the first mainstream post Iron Man superhero movie to have a black lead (2015's Fantastic Four was more about Reed Richards than it was Johnny Storm). Many have said that everybody should go out and see it so it'll make enough money for Marvel and Hollywood in general to make more nonwhite superhero movies. But in reality, movements for people to go see the film are missing a major point – no matter what, Black Panther is going to be a hit, and contrary to the movements, nonwhite superhero movies are in no danger.

The character himself first appeared in Fantastic Four #52 in 1966. Created by the “dream team” of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, Black Panther was an instant hit, and appeared in several more titles before getting his own series in the 1970s, but it was canceled after 15 issues. There would be several other volumes of the title, and the character would appear in other comics (the current ongoing comic is really good, I highly recommend it). During the 1990s and early 2000s, a film adaptation was in the works, though it would be canceled then put back on repeatedly, not unlike Wonder Woman's failed film adaptations before the blockbuster last year. Once the Marvel Cinematic Universe was proven to be a hit and the rights to the character were confirmed to be owned by Marvel, due to his Fantastic Four history, talks began on making a solo film for the MCU. Avengers: Age of Ultron introduced his homeland of Wakanda, and villain Ulysses Klaue, and by fall 2015, Chadwick Boseman was cast in the role, to appear in Captain America: Civil War, which would introduce both Black Panther and Spider-Man to the MCU. The solo film was announced as well, and production began, bringing us to now, a mere weeks away.

Now, as stated earlier, I do not think it really matters if people of any race go see the film. Yes, representation is important, and kids of all backgrounds should be able to see themselves in a movie (within reason, don't add diversity for the sake of doing it). However, at the core, Black Panther is not a movie made for the purpose of being a black-led superhero movie, it's really just the last movie before Infinity War, and will likely be setting up the reunion of Captain America and Iron Man, as well as continue off the story from Civil War. It's a Marvel movie, and a Marvel movie coming out during a pretty slow month for moviegoing anyway. Add in the Infinity War hype and the possibility that we could see the last of the Infinity Stones in the film, and it's a guaranteed hit. There is nothing to worry about over the movie making money or even getting good reviews – because if a movie gets negative reviews, it's not a big deal, I mean come on, they're making at least four Harley Quinn movies to spin off of Suicide Squad. Then again, this is an MCU film and there hasn't been one that got anything less than a 60% on Rotten Tomatoes, not counting television projects like Iron Fist and Inhumans. This is a company that made a movie about a talking tree and raccoon teaming up with aliens to save the universe, I'm pretty sure it doesn't matter who the hero is, the movie will make a massive profit for the company.

Regardless of how Black Panther does, there will be more superhero movies starring minority leads. The upcoming Spawn reboot focuses on a black hero, though I wouldn't say Spawn is a great movie to bring the kids to. We have shows in production like Black Lightening and rumors circulate about a possible Blade reboot within the MCU. While his solo film was taken off the main calendar due to production issues, DC has not ruled out doing a Cyborg movie after Flashpoint (which may just act as a reset for the DCEU anyway). Marvel's own Captain Marvel may lead the way to a Kamala Khan/Ms. Marvel project, and Sony Animation is releasing the Miles Morales Spider-Man movie, Edge of Spider-Verse this winter. Of course, we would see more with the success of Black Panther, but even still, there are still plenty of media projects lined up. I'm not opposed either to casting a nonwhite actor in a role that's based on a white character – Michael B. Jordan in Fantastic Four, for example, was a great casting choice, but they removed the family and we're-all-relatives aspect of the team by just saying Susan Storm was adopted, thus changing the dynamic of their relationship. But as I said, Hollywood is working on more films and television shows, and even if in the off chance the film bombs (it's MCU so it won't), they're not going to stop.

I get why people are excited for the movie. We haven't seen a major superhero movie like it since the last Blade movie. I'm hyped too, because I like the character. But we need to stop thinking it might fail, and we have to be honest. If it's not good, it's not good. Nothing wrong with that, look at the Thor movies – the first one was good, second was passable, and I still haven't seen the third but it's getting great review; the Wolverine trilogy was bad, alright, and amazing. Granted, this is an MCU movie. It's going to make the money, it's going to be a major hit, and people are going to love it, regardless of race. If a white kid wants to see it and dress up as Black Panther for Halloween, let them. If a black kid prefers Ant-Man, that's fine too. Forcing people to see and like a film because of the content only ruins the overall experience. Rumors say the first cut is four hours, and that's going to be cut down to two or under – most movies are like that, it's just how it works. So just let the movie come out, make almost a billion dollars, and wait until after Phase 3 ends for the sequel. Because knowing Marvel, he's getting another film and will replace one of the Avengers going forward. At least, we'll have to see Infinity War first.

Cover Image Credit: Marvel Studios/Walt Disney Pictures

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