Killmonger Is The Future Of Villains
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Killmonger Is The Future Of Villains

"Is this your King?"

Killmonger Is The Future Of Villains
manuela.s.rios09 on Flickr

The highly anticipated film “Black Panther” proved to be more than a blockbuster thriller. With sold out showing across the country and dominating the box office for five weeks in a row, there’s a reason why it’s so popular. The diligently crafted movie takes place in the Marvel universe but transcends those bounds to be a timely movie to speak to how we view the world and society structures. There is much to discuss about the film, but one aspect audiences continue to be astounded by is the antagonist of the film, Killmonger (Erik Stevens), played by Michael B. Jordan.

At long last, Marvel has unleashed a villain who can step up to the plate, winning his viewers over while simultaneously terrifying them. Killmonger was fleshed out to be a wholesome character whom viewers could get into the head of, and even get on board with.

From the moment he is presented on screen, he is engaging, having in-depth knowledge of Wokanda and Vibranium. It’s clear that he has merciless plans and as the plot thickens, we learn his father had been murdered by the previous King, T’Challa’s father. Wokanda created a monster that they must take responsibility for.

He was left behind and experienced hardship, abandoned by his motherland. His wrathful ways developed as he served in the U.S. black-ops unit, taking vanity to his murder and permanently engraving his skin to reflect each. Not only does this give him a menacing appearance, it shows that he absolutely believes in his definition of justice and that he will stop at nothing to create a new world order.

His sorrow is his driving force. While he states that his motivation is for the people, it is clear that the trauma of his childhood is present. Afterall, his father told him tales of the motherland. The introduction of the movie is narrated by N’jobo to Erik. Rather than living the life he was promised, he lived a life of struggle.

This led him to his goal of to providing vibranium to the oppressed so that they could defend themselves and have more resources than he had. He doesn't even consider using the vibranium for its technological advancement or healing progress to help those in need.

Beneath the surface, his motivation was revenge. He sought to become the colonizer and to flip the script on history thus far. He starts with gaining control in Wokonda as King after defeating T’Challa. Their battle is especially striking because viewers are exposed to the extent of his strength and cunning.

To be frank, he demeans the King before his people, delivering the meme-worthy line, “Is this your King?” With the combination of his strength and determination, it seemed that all was lost for Wokonda. Their fear of being exposed to the outside would be realized.

Physical strength aside, Killmonger was so powerful of an antagonist because he challenged the viewers and protagonist intellectually. Life started in the African continent. In theory, their people are all people, yet Wokonda kept their mines of Vibranium and medical advancements in secret.

Killmonger brings this to light, to which the counter-argument, “we could lose it all” arises. With the conclusion of the film, this changes as T’Challa reveals to the world for the first time the resource Vibranium with the intention to extend its wealth.

While Killmonger’s approach would have drastically differed, he was able to make a significant impact on the protagonist's views, which is huge.

To provide juxtaposition, there have been valid arguments that T’Challa is the villain. Even his actor, Chadwick Boseman agrees with this view. T’Challa was born into privilege. He was never in the darkness or divided from his people. We’re seeing the film from the hero’s point of view. Naturally, this will make us biased.

For those who have been wronged due to an economic or cultural background, who are a minority, there are times, perhaps even currently, where we wish there was someone to stand up for us. The fact that Killmonger is a Black antagonist serving so much depth is crucial. Minorities are underrepresented in media, often following stereotype archetypes. Killmonger is a breath of fresh air and the future of villains.

The way the movie was crafted allows us to rethink structures we’ve always followed and question if they are in place for the greater good, or who’s good, for that matter. With such a moving character and impressively crafted story, “Black Panther” serves to be more than just a superhero movie as Killmonger is the larger than life antagonist. With the social and political climate within the United States and the world, this movie came out just in time.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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