“Black Panther” Film Discussion [Part 08: Conflict & Consequences]

As far as T’Challa was concerned, everything in life was lovely. As far as N’Jadaka was concerned, everything in life was horrible.

Imax

Casino Action

Next, Klaue tried to sell the artifact that N’Jadaka helped him find, recognize, and steal.

Get Out implores T’Challa to kill Klaue or bring him back, and T’Challa pledges to bring him back.. Obviously ignoring the kill suggestion because that isn’t his style.

This sets up the alliance between Get Out and N’Jadaka when he brings Klaue to Wakanda dead in a bag after T’Challa failed to achieve what he told Get Out he would.

Before that, though, T’Challa, Okoye, and Nakia travel to South Korea to attempt to apprehend Klaue, and presumably to get back the Vibranium that N’Jadaka led him to.

Now that I think about this.. I’m not sure why N’Jadaka wasn’t with Klaue at the casino.

It makes sense as far as the plot reveal. Perhaps N’Jadaka pretended that he wasn’t USA special ops and Klaue didn’t consider him a shooter.

Either way, Klaue brought a bunch of redshirts who were easily vanquished by Okoye.

The main message here, and the funniest, 😀 😀 was when they clowned black chicks for wearing wigs. 😀

Yes. I’m aware that lots of women have legitimate reasons for wearing wigs / weaves / whatever.

Part of the glory of “Black Panther” is that the women are like “We’re fly AS-IS.. We love ourselves and how we look AS-IS.”

So when I saw Okoye with that mop on her head, I was like WTF? 😀 but I didn’t say anything about it and then when she started complaining about it in the movie, I was rolling. 😀

To add insult to injury, when the fighting starts, she actually throws her wig at an enemy! 😀

oh man… 😀

I was like yeah, they’re going to get backlash over this one! 😀 HAHAHAHA

It makes sense, though. Why would Okoye want to look like people she has nothing to do with? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

On top of which, her actual hairstyle probably has some kind of tribal significance, so why should she want to cover that with a hat?

This is also where T’Challa runs into Ross (Bilbo Baggins), who is attempting to control the situation in the same way that the chick who got poisoned thought she was controlling the situation with N’Jadaka.

I found the relationship between Ross & T’Challa to be odd.

Was Ross aware that T’Challa is a superhero, or wasn’t he?

According to the comic book, they had been working together for quite a while. That might not have been the case in the movie.

Either way, Ross is talking to T’Challa as if anything he says carries any weight with a superhero.

T’Challa plays him off and goes about the actual business.

We aren’t told how Klaue finds out that T’Challa’s going to be there (may have been left on the cutting room floor), but he says something to Ross like “You think all these [redshirts] are for you?”, indicating that he’s attempted to set a trap for T’Challa.

This was yet another indication that Ross isn’t anything compared to T’Challa, even according to Klaue. Ross is the only one believing his own hype.

The best line, obviously, is when Okoye says “Guns….. So Primitive….” HAHAHAHAHAHA

Again, this would have been an effect of having never been colonized. Similar to not rocking weaves, Wakandans would have improved upon the weapons they originally used instead of emulating the primitive technology of outsiders.

Collateral Damage

Klaue is apprehended. Ross thinks he’s running the show. N’Jadaka arrives, breaks Klaue out of jail and shoots Ross, who had selflessly dived to cover Nakia.

This is another indication of how Ross thinks he’s effective and he actually isn’t.

Shuri saves Ross’ life and tells him about Wakanda.

T’Challa has to tell Get Out that he didn’t get any revenge for his parents’ murder.

N’Jadaka tells Klaue he has to take him to Wakanda, and when he refuses, N’Jadaka kills Klaue while killing his own girlfriend in the process.

I’ve never actually seen that in films… Where the chick being held hostage by the perp is killed with the perp.

Being that Killmonger is special ops, he should have been able to select a location where he could have shot her with a through-and-through and killed Klaue while being able to patch his girlfriend up and save her life.

I think this demonstrated his dedication to his cause / mission over anything else.

Also, since they never said word one about his mother, we have no idea what his relationship to women is.

We also don’t know what his relationship to non-Wakandans is until the end of the film where he claims his ancestors were slaves, indicating that his mother was American.

I’ll also assume that this scene alludes to how women are used and then thrown away when dudes are finished with them.

Killing Klaue didn’t make sense either, as N’Jadaka was JUST previously asking him to take him to Wakanda and Klaue refused.

I don’t know how he arrived there without the information from Klaue. He either got it from some unsecured data Klaue had on his person, or the information was in the book he had which we find out later in the flashback he got from his father.

Noise Brought

When N’Jadaka broke Klaue out of jail, T’Challa saw that N’Jadaka had his grandfather’s ring.

He confronted Forest Whitaker about this, who fessed up to the king killing his own brother and leaving his cousin N’Jadaka in Oakland.

This is why T’Challa accepts the challenge from N’Jadaka, but more importantly, it speaks to the situation of Africans in Africa leaving Africans who were brought to America who became Negroes and then Colored and then blacks and then African-Americans (for those who subscribe to that) stranded in the Americas.

Or perhaps more realistically, it speaks to the Africans who sold Africans into slavery.

N’Jadaka is returning to Wakanda specifically to take over and wreak havoc on worldwide oppressors, but he is also returning to claim his birthright.

As usual throughout this series, the comic book version makes more sense, as N’Jadaka had been born in Wakanda and exiled because of his father’s (coerced) treachery, and then he was allowed to return to Wakanda.

The movie version is more useful for messaging, because it isn’t a Wakandan being allowed to return, but instead a half-American being allowed to become a high-status member of Wakanda.

As we discussed in “Black Panther” Film Discussion [Part 02: Blacks & Africans], President Obama is regarded as a genetically-African President although his mother was genetically-European.

Similarly, Killmonger, as far as the movie is concerned, is considered genetically-American although his father is Wakandan.

So this is an American black returning to his ancestral homeland of Africa with a completely different worldview, upbringing, and culture.

This American black then proceeds to bring mayhem, disorder, disruption, and destruction to the previously harmonious Wakandan society, which is a problem several people have said they have with this film.

People who conflate blacks with Africans aren’t going to recognize this.

Spirit vs. Law

So N’Jadaka beats T’Challa up and kills Forest Whitaker for being the spy who informed on his father, ultimately leading to his father’s death.

He throws T’Challa off a cliff into water, so as an editor, I’m like *YAWN* he’ll be back 😀 because there’s no evidence of his death.

N’Jadaka proceeds to tell the entirety of Wakanda what to do, due to the ridiculous concept of having a fistfight to determine who rules the entire kingdom.

This leads to a break between Nakia and Okoye, as Nakia is still Team Wakanda as far as the spirit of Wakanda and Okoye is still Team Wakanda as far as the letter of the law.

Okoye’s job is to protect whoever won the fistfight.

Nakia is concerned with the history and future of Wakanda.

I thought this was interesting messaging because it asks the viewer “Who is US, and who is THEM?”

Okoye and Nakia consider themselves “us”.

Meanwhile, Okoye has an allegiance to her job description and Nakia is a mercenary.

Which one of them has the righteous position? o_O

Okoye is supporting Killmonger. If he wins, Wakandan technology will obliterate the oppressive opposition.

The next thing that will happen is that after N’Jadaka gets revenge for “his people” against their oppressors, he’s going to get revenge for his father being killed against Wakandans.

Killmonger isn’t interested in the prosperity of Wakanda, the same group of people who ruined his life by killing his father and stranding him in an Oakland slum.

So Okoye gets propers for clinging to duty, but her job is ultimately going to get her and everyone she cares about killed.

Nakia, OTOH, believes that T’Challa is dead (because she isn’t a video editor, hehe), so her goal is to preserve the ways of Wakanda.

She steals some of the irradiated herb as well as the silver Black Panther necklace that produces the suit. (or Shuri does.. I’ve been writing this for a full week by now, so I forget)

I thought this was really interesting because the rules of Wakanda say that the person who wins the fistfight tells everyone else what to do. Nakia, Angela Bassett, and Shuri (and inconsequentially, Ross) start traveling away on foot for some reason instead of having access to a futuristic vehicle.

So apparently the rules only applied when the people you wanted to rule were ruling. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

The rules, as I’ve said several times already in this series, were stupid and archaic.

Everyone was cool with them until T’Challa lost.

Cousins & Fathers

So they take the herb to M’Baku, which is fascinating because ALL. OF. THEM. looked horrified when it seemed like M’Baku was about to defeat T’Challa in the throne challenge. 😀

However, I suppose that at the end of the day, the worst person who believes what you believe is better than someone who believes something different.

M’Baku snaps on Ross, and then informs them that T’Challa is still (barely) alive, and they should give the herb to him instead.

As I mentioned before, I felt like M’Baku deferred to T’Challa as the better leader although he wished to challenge him to a physical competition for leadership.

I don’t think he refused the herb because of “a life for a life” as he claimed, but because he was satisfied with having competed for the throne and was perfectly willing to fall back into his proper role as warrior-king instead of king-king.

This is how T’Challa ends up on his second spirit plane trip.

By this time, however, T’Challa is returning to speak to his father with evidence from his abandoned cousin *AND* from Forest Whitaker, who not only told T’Challa the truth of what happened, but also sacrificed his own life to try to save T’Challa by claiming full responsibility for the death of N’Jadaka’s father.

So T’Challa arrives with the obvious truth and his father doesn’t deny his culpability.

You can see how upset and sad and disappointed and angry T’Challa is, and probably for the first time in his entire life, he tells his father and the rest of the Black Panthers that they were all WRONG in how they carried themselves.

This is really major, as T’Challa has to evolve from being someone enabling his father’s vision to someone with his own vision and his own direction and his own ideas of how he wants Wakanda to function and interact with the rest of the world.

Before that, however, N’Jadaka traveled to the sprit plane and somehow ended up in Oakland.

This doesn’t make any sense, as the herb turns you into a Black Panther, therefore, N’Jadaka should have gone to the exact same place T’Challa went to.

Also, N’Jadaka’s father is Wakandan, the brother of the king who was one of the Black Panthers. That’s another reason N’Jadaka should have seen the king and the rest of the Black Panthers instead of arriving in Oakland.

Third, he gets to Oakland in the format of a flashback, as he’s a young child in the spirit plane compared to T’Challa being the exact same age he currently is in the spirit plane.

T’Challa was speaking to his father in real-time. N’Jadaka was somewhere in the distant past.

As far as I know, N’Jadaka shouldn’t have seen his father at all after ingesting the herb. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Ancestors & Achievements

Regardless of how the script was written for these two sections, in juxtaposition, the messaging here is about depth of heritage and lineage.

T’Challa was clear about where he came from, and N’Jadaka was not.

I mean N’Jadaka was clear as far as who his father was, and his father told him who his grandfather was, and he had his grandfather’s ring, which is what T’Challa noticed when he was leaving the jail with Klaue.

The movie made zero effort to tell us anything at all about his mother’s side, his American side.

This is again pointing out a supposed difference between Africans and blacks, the lack of awareness of who one or more parents are, which obviously leaves you removed from any actual heritage past the level you’re aware of.

For example, I run my own business, my father ran his own business, both of my grandfathers ran their own businesses. My mother and one of my grandmothers were educators. I was aware of this as a small child.

Success is what’s normal to me because I’m aware that I was born to successful parents who were each born to successful parents.

I don’t have any self-esteem issues other than a superiority complex.

People who have no idea what their heritage is can GUESS whether their ancestors were excellent people or not, but they have no idea for sure.

This is one of the reasons why people would feel uplifted by the achievements of people who “look like them”, especially in an environment where they have already fallen for the okey-doke that they aren’t great people to begin with.

T’Challa was sitting essentially on top of a mountain of ancestors, while N’Jadaka only had his father.

That flashback sequence still doesn’t make any sense because N’Jadaka’s father was never a Black Panther.

If T’Challa was seeing Black Panthers in the spirit plane, N’Jadaka should have seen the exact same people.

If T’Challa was seeing his ancestors in the spirit plane, N’Jadaka was his cousin, so he should have seen not only his father, but his grandfather and his great grandfather…..

Winners & Losers

Next is the grand fight, where we now have TWO Black Panthers because both N’Jadaka and T’Challa are currently infused with the herb.

I suppose this was supposed to be framed as good versus evil, but with all the things that had gone on in the movie, it wasn’t really that.

It was really more about whose worldview was going to win.

T’Challa was fighting to retain the status quo.

N’Jadaka was fighting to eradicate oppression, saying “Two billion people all over the world who look like us whose lives are much harder, and Wakanda has the tools to liberate them all.”

So depending on where you’re standing, either one of them was the hero of the movie.

M’Baku arrives to join the fight although he had claimed he had no interest in it.. Ross takes down the planes.. Okoye stops the Rhinos.. T’Challa defeats N’Jadaka.. all is right in Wakanda and oppressors worldwide have been saved.

T’Challa, feeling that his father has gone too far with his isolationist policies, including killing his own brother, T’Challa’s uncle, and feeling that N’Jadaka has gone too far with how he treated Wakanda when he gained power as well as his liberation concept, T’Challa decides to offer outreach to the world via the United Nations and their first complex will be built in Oakland.

It isn’t clear exactly what Wakanda’s going to do, but at least now they’re going to do SOMETHING instead of NOTHING.

It seems like they’re going to help the entire world, and not just slums.

They apparently aren’t hiding anymore.

As far as N’Jadaka, although he wished to die, he had already ingested the irradiated herb and thus became a Black Panther, so he should have arrived on the spirit plane with his uncle who killed his father… Unless that’s reserved for only full-Wakandans also.

Questions & Answers

I wasn’t looking for anything in particular to happen in “Black Panther”.

I don’t believe I own any of the comic books, though he may be in some of the comics I own, like Iron Man, Fantastic Four, Avengers…

I never considered Black Panther as having an actual story, so everything I saw in this film was refreshing and interesting, though the pacing was rather slow at times.

I had to read the comic synopses to figure out why some of the film script was written the way it was, as I’ve outlined in these articles.

Congratulations to the filmmakers for creating an interesting, engrossing two-hour and fifteen-minute experience! 😀 .. although some of the way it was written raised more questions than were answered.

I wanted to write about “Black Panther” because I realized while I was watching it that I must have been having a different experience from most people, and I felt like sharing my thoughts about it.

There are people who love and hate the movie for the exact same reasons, which I find amusing. 😀

Hopefully some of what I’ve written gave you at least slight insight into the issues the film brought up without bringing them up, though some situations have to be experienced to understand, such as being conspicuously followed around a store by workers pretending to fold clothes near you that were obviously already folded.

In what I expect to be the last article in this series, I’ll discuss what I think the film was *really* saying.

Continued in “Black Panther” Film Discussion [Part 09: Wakanda Is Not A Place…]

One thought on ““Black Panther” Film Discussion [Part 08: Conflict & Consequences]”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *