I never thought I’d have so many take aways from a Marvel movie.
I usually watch superhero movies to be entertained. We are all too familiar with the formula plot — the superhero with superpowers, a villain that is out for revenge and power over the whole earth, explosions here and there, and that one defining moment where the superhero realizes his own strength and defeats the villain. So when I watch Marvel movies, I don’t expect to be moved like it’s some inspirational movie. I come for the visual effects, the actors, and the amazement of how a superhero universe manages to connect one movie to another.
Then here comes Black Panther and shatters my expectations of a superhero movie. I was surprised that while watching Black Panther, my mind was going haywire with the lessons that I could take home and learn from the movie.
Lesson #1: Empowering and saving people does not equate to giving them weapons.
Black Panther movie came at the right time. With the issue of gun control and the question of arming the people for defense, it was fitting that the movie tackled it. Wakanda had the resources, but T’Challa mentioned that providing the oppressed with weapons was not a wise decision and will not solve the problem. It’s just going to cause more violence because people will just focus on taking revenge on the injustice that they are facing, rather than finding alternative solutions to prevent the killings.
Lesson #2: You do not have to sacrifice your values when keeping up with the changing times.
During a council meeting and the debate whether they should provide the non-Wakandans with vibranium weapons, W’Kabi pointed out that the world is changing and getting more violent. Then, T’Challa argues that waging war is not the way of Wakanda.
I can see this being applied not only in politics, but also in daily life as a worker or student. There will always be times where your values will be tested just so other people will be satisfied or because it is demanded by the ever-changing world.
It is always our choice to do the right thing even if would take longer or would seem unjust to some people. Also, we can still keep up with the times and solve problems without the need of going against our beliefs.
At the end of the movie, T’Challa decided to build a Wakandan outreach center that would also have a science exchange program. His plan was to use education to help people, rather than give them weapons. There were other ways to use vibranium to empower people, and T’Challa made the right choice without sacrificing his Wakandan values.
Lesson #3: If you’re gonna fight, do it fairly.
I think this is the first superhero movie where there were fair battles where both sides had equal strengths, equal skills, and equal weapons. I don’t like it when the villain always gets the cool tech and better weapons just because he/she stole them from the ‘good’ guys. When Killmonger came to challenge T’Challa, they fought without any technology or any armor. There were weapons, but they both had an equal number to work with. Killmonger killing Zuri was unfair, but that was for revenge and because he was playing the villain card.
The challenge with M’Baku was also a fair one. M’Baku didn’t try to take the throne on any time he wanted. He still respected tradition and challenged the throne on the proper platform and did it fairly under the rules of Wakanda.
Lesson #4: Happy wife, happy life.
W’Kabi: Would you kill me, my love?
Okoye (points a spear at W’Kabi): For Wakanda, no question.
I don’t know where to start with this beautiful scene. In the middle of the war scene between the Border Tribe and Dora Milaje, W’Kabi tried to play the love card to break Okoye. But my feeeyarce Okoye had per priorities in check. Her duty was to the throne and to Wakanda. W’Kabi turns to see his people at war and (probably) realizes that there was no point to killing each other. So he lays down his weapon and kneels (kneels!!) to Okoye.
I always see this conflict in tv shows and movies where a woman is asked to choose between her family or her country. The woman becomes weak because she is torn between two things that she loves and it would be difficult to let one go to save another. And I’m tired of seeing this conflict. Yes, women can be loving but it shouldn’t be a sign of weakness.
This is why I love Okoye. There wasn’t a second that she hesitated. She knew her place, her responsibility, and her duty. She did not allow herself to be defeated by mind games because she knew which to sacrifice and which to prioritize.
And W’Kabi, he had to learn. To have a happy life, have a happy wife. hahahhaha (of course I kid, but it was the first thing that came to mind after that scene)
Lesson #5: Never let your emotions decide for you.
I like the whole backstory of Killmonger as a villain. Revenge was his drive for his actions (as all villains do), but he wasn’t entirely evil where he just wanted to overthrow the throne and rule the world. There was still something human in him. He still cared. He cared for his dad and he cared for those who had the same skin color as him. He was consumed with all the emotions of his father’s death and the oppression so he made the wrong decision to fight oppression with more oppression.
Lesson #6: Settle your differences and issues among yourselves and don’t drag other people in just to gain sympathy.
In relation to the previous point, I like how the residents of Wakanda were left out of Killmonger’s plan. Right now, I’m not much of a fan of rallies or public communications. The leaders use their emotions to rile up the people without understanding both sides of the story. Yes, the people deserve to know the issues that happen in the government but we all don’t need to march up to the higher ups and cause chaos. We get our information from the news and I believe that the news only gives a summary of what is happening in the offices of the people governing our country. We get the facts, but we rarely get the motive. If you’re a corrupt official, will you even mention your motive? of course not. You’ll sugarcoat it with some fancy explanation and let people interpret it.
Don’t get me wrong. If you’re a strong believer of getting your opinions out to the world through rallies, by all means, do so. It’s not for me and I will find other ways to change the world. Quietly.
Therefore, I was very happy that when Killmonger decided to bring vibranium out of Wakanda, he did it on his own with only a few people, and did not bring the battle to the streets of Wakanda.
Lesson #7: Yielding isn’t a sign of weakness.
During M’Baku’s duel with T’Challa, there was a moment where M’Baku wanted to fight to the death because he did not want to appear weak or defeated in front of the Jabari. But T’Challa beautifully pointed out (while in mid head lock) that it’s better to yield because M’Baku still had a tribe who were counting on him and his tribe needed a leader.
This is applicable not just in battle or debates, but also in relationships with friends, family, or loved ones. As one said, “It’s better to lose the argument, than lose the person.” (I can’t remember where I got it or who said it. help.)
Lesson #8: Gender should not be a factor in determining your abilities.
Wakanda is a country of equality. No one brought up gender while carrying out missions or during battle. There were no insults that one gender wasn’t deserving of the role. It was just accepted that Okoye and Nakia were chosen to accompany T’Challa in their mission in South Korea because they were good at their jobs. Killmonger didn’t insult the Dora Milaje when they decided to stand by T’Challa. Shurii was great in science and technology, and gender had nothing to do with it. I’m so happy for the ladies in the movie and they all had their time to shine. I also love that the men were accepting of it and they didn’t create men whose egos were easily hurt.
Can we have more movies like this where both women and men are badass, equally?
Lesson #9: They may be savages to you, but to them, you’re a colonizer.
Fair skinned people had no say in this movie. AT ALL. I feel sorry for Everett Ross’s adorable face that he had to endure the Wakandan’s insults to him being “white.” But really, I enjoyed every bit of it.
Shuri calling Ross “another white boy to fix” and a “colonizer.”
M’Baku shushing Ross when Ross tried to give his opinion.
Werk it, Wakandans. I hope this speaks not only to Americans, but also to other races who think they have more authority than other races. Just because you see differences, it doesn’t mean that one is better than the other.
Lesson #10: Have faith in your own people and your own country.
Wakanda is a strong country because the people believe in their government and vice versa. For sure there are issues in Wakanda (which I want to see in the future movies), but it was evident during T’Challa’s speech at the UN that he believes in his people and that they as a country can contribute to the world. I’m sure he wasn’t just talking about Vibranium.
This reminds me of aid whenever tragedy strikes. Yes, aid is helpful and would add to our resources, but it sometimes makes us forget our own skills and resources. We underestimate our own abilities to help our own people, that we just let other races provide the money and see them as saviors. We have to learn to stand up on our own, fight for our own, be resourceful on our own, when helping our own. Aid from other countries should only be a bonus.
Even when T’Challa was fighting Killmonger to stop him from his plan, T’Challa asked the help from M’Baku. M’Baku comes from the estranged Jabari Tribe, but is still considered part of Wakanda. So when T’Challa needed help, he still sought the help of his own people and not other nationalities/races.
Lesson #11: Find your strengths and maximize your resources… the right way.
I hope the movie inspires the other countries or communities that have been labeled “poor.” I believe that each country was given a precious resource that would make us rich in our own way. We have to understand that countries do not have to compete with each other. Our strength differs from the strength of another and should not be compared on which is better. I hope the people in Africa rise up and find what they are good at.
I hope for the same in my country. I think the Philippines is rich in natural resources and we should use that in keeping our country alive and running, as long as we don’t abuse it. We got a long way to go to get to Wakanda levels.
I am so glad that Black Panther is raking in all the support. The people in Africa need this boost and I hope the rest of the continents learn from the movie. My dream is that in the future, we won’t be shouting “Wakanda forever!” but chanting the names our own countries.