REVIEW: ‘Black Panther’ sparked a cultural phenomenon

2018 film first in series of movie screenings in honor of Black History Month at San Diego City College


Chadwick Boseman in Black Panther (2018). Marvel Studios photo

Shamere Grimes, Multimedia Journalist

San Diego City College’s Umoja program is hosting a film viewing in honor of Black History Month every Friday in February.

The series began with “Black Panther” on Feb. 3 in MS-162. The sequel “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” will be screened on Feb. 10, with “42” set for Feb. 16 (due to the Lincoln Day holiday) and “King Richard” shown on Feb. 24.

Black Film Fridays schedule

The action film, which was directed by Ryan Cooglar, was based on the comic character Black Panther, who was part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

The film centers around T’Challa, played by Chadwick Boseman, and his fight against an enemy known as Killmonger, played by Michael B. Jordan, to save the fictional African nation of Wakanda and the world.

Boseman made his MCU debut as Black Panther in “Captain America: Civil War” before getting his own film.

The film was notable not only for its cultural impact and its brilliant portrayal of African culture and designs, but also because it was one of Boseman’s last film appearances before his death in 2020 from colon cancer.

“Black Panther” has an all-star cast including Boseman and Jordan, but also Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, Daniel Kaluuya, Letitia Wright, and Angela Bassett, among others.

The opening scenes gave viewers a look into the background of Wakanda. It allowed the audience a glimpse into the secrets of the fictional nation, and by the end, to witness the evolution of it.

“Black Panther” acknowledges and celebrates traditional African society,  African-American political debates, the power and beauty of black women, and the complications of family dynamics, all within the confines of Wakanda.

Marvel Comics’s “Black Panther” was originally conceived in 1966 by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby as a bid to offer black readers a character to identify with, according to an article published in the New York Times. 

“Black Panther” was a box office success story as it managed to gross over $1.3 billion worldwide and broke numerous records, becoming the highest-grossing film directed by a Black filmmaker, according to Forbes.

What seems like just another entry in an endless parade of super­hero movies,” wrote journalist Jamil Smith in Time magazine in February 2018, “is actually something much bigger.” 

In a 2016 interview on Jimmy Kimmel Live, Boseman told the audience how he came up with his accent for “Black Panther,” referencing one of his earlier film projects.

“I did an independent film called ‘Message from the King,’” Boseman said. “I played a South African who comes to L.A. so I used that to find my dialect.”

Boseman was a native of South Carolina and went on to graduate from Howard University, a historically Black university in Washington D.C. Boseman is also well known for playing several prominent figures in black history including Jackie Robinson, Thurgood Marshall and James Brown.

A tribute to Boseman was made after his death examining his life and how he inspired others.

​​City College’s library offers additional resources tied to the movie. Click here to view the list.

If you missed the event or want to see the movie again, it can be streamed on Disney+ or rented on Amazon Prime Video.