You have this movie at odds with itself trying to celebrate African identity and represent Afro-futurist concepts and then the Marvel lawyers step in and go “no the CIA told us to make this one about how black liberation movements are bad” so it becomes about black people fighting each other to save white people. Fuckin burn disney to the ground this shit is so tiring
I mean the thing is that this isn’t really a movie about the African experience (since there isn’t any such singular thing) but about the African-American experience, IMO.
Killmonger makes a great villian specifically because he isn’t Wakandan. He isn’t a privileged wealthy individual who is accustomed to avoiding the problems of the world. He’s fatally infected with Western/American imperialistic hegemony, and with the post-colonialist mindset. Even though he’s part of America’s underclass, he has absorbed that mindset so strongly that he cannot imagine a different or better world. All he can imagine is a world that is fundamentally the same, but upended. He doesn’t want a better place for Wakandans or Africans, he wants to invert the imperialist hierarchy as a form of vengeance. Martin Freeman actually says it - “He is what we made him.” Killmonger doesn’t give a fuck about Wakanda, they’re just a weapon he can use. Killmonger vs T’Challa is partially about T’Challa learning that the Wakandan’s place in the world does need to change (but it won’t, because MCU loves status quo) but hoping for a better model than just “conquer and enslave all the white folks.”
Like, Black Panther doesn’t answer all the problems of American race relations, of course. But In terms of presenting a dream of a better world, in the form of the magical kingdom of Wakanda deciding to open up and try to share to make the world a better place, it does do that. It even interrogates, just a tiny bit, the imperialist/colonialist mindset.
I liked it a lot. It’s not perfect, but I liked it.
One thing that I thought was funny as hell (you know how this movie is written by Americans) is when General Okoye is like “naw, T’Challa, I’m going to obediently serve this psychotic maniac that just took the throne, because I serve the throne and the law and so I am bound forever” which is, like, not how shit works through most of history. If Wakanda is still seriously doing King trials by challenge, and actually having the challenges be real, the idea of the head of the military being bound by some sort of constitution to avoid interfering in political matters is just… hilarious. There’s very few countries in the world that you can say that the military doesn’t get a say in who is in charge.