‘Black Panther’ roars back through social media

2018’s best movie leaves a digital footprint over the Internet

Marvel Studios’ “Black Panther” has made an impression throughout media outlets as 2018’s largest grossing film with more than 900,000 mentions related to the film on Facebook and Twitter alone. The film has grossed more than $500 million in theaters across the United States. On Instagram the #blackpanthermovie has an estimate of 140,000 total posts; whereas, the #wakandaforever consists of around 380,000 tagged published pictures.

“Black Panther” can be categorized with other action movies like “Independence Day”, “Bad Boys”, “Men in Black” or the “Blade” series that feature a Black protagonist. However, within the Marvel Studio’s mythos, the Black Panther is the first African superhero to have a full-length feature.

This 135 minute film highlights African-Americans in a multifaceted movie industry. Director Ryan Coogler’s cinematic vision was supported by actors like Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, Daniel Kaluuya, Letitia Wright and Winston Duke to name a few of its predominantly Black full cast. People of color, like writer Joe Robert Cole and musicians Kendrick Lamar, ScHoolboy Q and The Weeknd, were responsible for the production of creative talent within the film as well.

“Black Panther” chronicles Prince T’Challa’s progression as the ruling monarch of the fictional East African nation of Wakanda after his father’s tragic death. The nation of Wakanda is able to escape the clutches of colonialism and racism through its massive reserves of vibranium, the strongest metal in the Marvel Comics mythology.

“Africa was illustrated as having something to offer the world, and not just in need of a handout,” said Madeline Wilson-Ojo, a College of Media and Publishing student in a blog post.
“Vibranium was Wakanda’s natural resource. Its properties rendered it superior to any other metal in the world.”

“Black Panther” has earned a 97 percent on Rotten Tomatoes’ Tomatometer and an audience score of 79 percent. Out of 348 critic reviews, it has received 337 fresh reviews and 11 rotten reviews. According to Free Social Search, the #blackpanther has a 38 percent positive sentiment and a 3 percent negative sentiment.

Critics of the motion picture blame its expository dialogue, predictable fighting and battle sequences and discussion of racial politics for their dislike of the film. Cine Vertigo’s Ernesto Diezmartinez argues that Michael B. Jordan’s antagonistic character Erik Killmonger regrettably steals the spotlight from Prince T’Challa.

Throughout the United States, social media has shared multiple prominent figures raising or awarding funding for students to be able to see the motion picture in theaters. An executive director of the Hawthorne Youth and Community Center in Boston’s Roxbury neighborhood has raised $42,412 through Gofundme.com for youth to watch “Black Panther” during Boston schools’ vacation week.

The Walt Disney Company donated $1 million to the Boys & Girls Club of America to expand their Science, Technology, Engineering and Math programs on Feb. 26 as a celebration of the film’s record-breaking success in movie theaters. According to Disney, the choice for this grant was based of the theme of technology present in “Black Panther.”