By Travis Trombley
- T’Challa is a textbook dynamic character. How does T’Challa change over the course of the film? What causes this change?
- Is Killmonger a static or dynamic character? Round or flat?
- What did you think of the action in the film? Compare the practical effects and the CGI. Was the violence used to accentuate the narrative, or did it seem superfluous?
- One of the themes for Black Panther is the difference between progress (innovation) and tradition. Describe how this theme gets explored throughout the text. Which characters represent different points on this spectrum. Does the film take a stance on this issue, and if so, what might it be?
- Thor Ragnarok and Black Panther actually have very similar premises: a young warrior becomes a ruler and must define a new moral center after the death of a parent and must confront his nation’s dark past conveniently embodied in a vengeful relative who usurps the throne in order to use the nation’s resources differently. Compare and contrast the two films. Which one feels more thematically complex, and why? Which one more effectively realizes the creation of a foreign culture / nation, and how?
- What’s the difference between Killmonger’s plan and his father’s plan to use Wakandan resources to aid people of color experiencing oppression across the globe? What does that difference tell you about their priorities? Think about each in their relation to government.
- What’s the significance of Ulysses Klaue singing “What is Love?” by Haddaway while in custody? How might this choice tie into his larger role in the film as one of two major white characters?
- The 18th film in the MCU, Black Panther is the first to feature a black protagonist and primarily black cast. On a related note, last summer we got to see Wonder Woman, the first critically and financially successful superhero film with a strong female protagonist. Do you find these superficial facts important in our cultural climate? What does it mean to have successful superhero leads that deviate from the norm of a white male protagonist with women and people of color filling supporting roles?
- Foreign aid comes up a few times throughout the film. Whereas Nakia sees her privilege as a duty to help others in need, W’Kabi - warrior chief of the border tribe - insists that if Wakanda were to take in people with problems, it would also adopt their problems, and this would weaken the nation. How does this reflect current political issues? Try not to reduce one side to being wholly bad and the other good - what are the merits to each argument? Remember, another motif in the film is colonialism, which Wakanda escaped by building barriers.
- At the end of the film, T’Challa tells the UN that it’s more important to build bridges than barriers so that we can see ourselves as “one tribe.” How might this also apply to current political issues, both in regards to literal barriers and figurative ones? What “tribes” have we divided ourselves into, each defined by varied worldviews? How can we replace barriers with bridges?