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May 11th, 2018

Thoughts on the Black Panther movie

Spoilers ahoy. Quotes are either me being snarky, or paraphrases. The movie was a fun experience, but...

* "Your form of government is bad and you should feel bad." Seriously, WTF, a technologically and kind of morally advanced country where the succession is settled by physical combat, to the point where a complete outsider can walk in and overturn things?

* Which also means that for all the political or philosophical issues raised in the movie, they're settled by a trick move in a fight.

* Not that the Electoral College is perfect, and you could talk about political questions being settled by trick moves in elections and not be wrong, but degree matters.

* And such an abolute monarchy that he can have the national treasure destroyed just like that. (No more Black Panthers?)

* "He killed his brother, how could he?" He was saving the life of his loyal underling, you were *just told this*. You want to be a good king? You're not thinking like one...

* "You shouldn't have abandoned his son." Well, the kid had a mother as well as a dead father, she might have had opinions about whisking her son off to some mystery country. Not that she was ever mentioned again.

* "Just bury me in the ocean with my ancestors who jumped from ships, 'cause they knew death was better than bondage." They... probably didn't become your ancestors, strictly speaking. And if he has slave ancestors it would have to be through an Africa-American mother, which is more than we were ever told about his mother.

* Wikipedia has some snarky criticism of the movie.

Gathara highlighted the Africa that is portrayed as being divided and tribalized, with Wakanda run by a wealthy and feuding elite, centered upon "royalty and warriors", whose fortune comes not from its citizens' endeavors, skill or innate abilities, but from a "lucky meteor strike", and as a country which, despite its advanced technical abilities, does not evince any great thinkers, nor even a means of succession beyond lethal combat and primeval trials of strength... "Despite their centuries of vibranium-induced technological advancement, the Wakandans remain so remarkably unsophisticated that a 'returning' American can basically stroll in and take over, just as 19th-century Europeans did to the real Africa ... [The film] should not be mistaken for an attempt at liberating Africa from Europe. Quite the opposite. Its 'redemptive counter-mythology' entrenches the tropes that have been used to dehumanize Africans for centuries. The Wakandans, for all their technological progress, still cleanly fit into the Western molds, a dark people in a dark continent"

* Tropes mentions some idiot plot:

T'Challa makes things more difficult for himself by accepting responsibility for Klaue's escape and not attempting to defend himself by mentioning mitigating factors such as the fact that Klaue only got away because Erik helped him. If he'd mentioned that to anybody before Erik showed up, and especially if he'd mentioned it to W'Kabi, who subsequently supports Erik because he thinks Erik succeeded in capturing Klaue where T'Challa failed, things might have gone very differently.

* Tropes also clears up some murky audio I missed:

When he sends word to all of the Wakandans abroad to prepare to take up arms, the only ones who are willing to do so are the groups in London, New York, and Hong Kong, and they are spies and not warriors.

...it's still a bad form of government.

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Damien Sullivan

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