“Native Nerd Movie Review: Black Panther Slashes at Colonialism”

“Truth be told, I ordered tickets to see the “fan night movie premiere” over a month in advance to be sure I could see Marvel’s Black Panther in all its IMAX 3D glory…As the all-too familiar Marvel Comics Studio graphics began to play on the screen and I adjusted my 3D glasses in the dimming theater. I was surprised by something I didn’t expect. The theater was completely silent. No food wrappers crinkling, no idle chatter, nothing, I was…like so many others, completely mesmerized by Ryan Coogler’s take on a superhero based in Africa.” V. Schilling, ICTMN

Chadwick Boseman stars in Black Panther.

Excerpt: Native Nerd Movie Review: Black Panther Slashes at Colonialism Using More than Vibranium, Vincent Schilling, ICTMN

“For so many of my childhood years, I have been force-fed the history ‘That any civilization of color was the less than superior race of people.’ I have been taught that the colonizers were the ones that brought knowledge, technology, weaponry and skill-sets to bring other ‘inferior races of color’ into the modern age. I have always been taught: brown skin means you are inferior.

The greatest warriors of Wakanda, the Dora Milaje also known as the ‘adored ones’ are a team of women who serve as the personal bodyguards of the Black Panther.


I have brown skin as a Mohawk man. I grew up in the streets of Compton, feeling inferior, just as so many of my friends did. I never dreamed there would someday be a movie, where a black hero could be something ‘superior.’I wept as the movie started. Many of my brown friends never made it out of the streets.

Academy Award winner Forest Whitaker plays Zuri, an elder statesman in Wakanda. Black Panther Movie.

This movie undid so much of that damage in my childhood mind, I literally wept with relief that: Yes, world, people with brown skin can be intelligent, people with brown skin can be scientists, they can be strong women warriors, brown people can excel more than colonizers have done in history.

There was a lot about Black Panther that a comic aficionado like myself could expect. (Prince T’Challa is bound to become king, that much is already known as per previous incarnations of Marvel movies as seen before this one.) But Prince T’Challa’s process of becoming King  is where the magic happens.

Scene from film Black Panther.

Let it be said, I do NOT speak for all Native American people, and I have coined the term “Native Nerd Review” because I was a skinny Native kid that love all nerdy things like science, comics, magic tricks, practical jokes and more. As a self-proclaimed Native Nerd, I’d like to think there are more Native nerds out there like me who get a kick out of Marvel and DC superhero movies, Zombies and so much more out there in this world so rich with geekdom…the fictional world of the Black Panther is a beautiful one.

Black Panther’s Lupita Nyong’o (L) and Dania Gurira (R) prove power of the Dora Milaje

I was thrilled to see such a lack of stereotype among so many different tribes…Ryan Coogler introduces different tribes of Africa. He shows that each tribe has separate belief systems, cultural perspectives, types of dress and regalia and ways of life. All of this is compared and contrasted to the urban ways of America, a powerful sentiment that resonates throughout the film.

Scene from Black Panthercinemabunpodcast.com

The costuming of the world of Wakanda is nothing less than pure genius, I marveled (Pun-intended) at the flawless wardrobe, the female warriors and the intricacies of tradition infused with the most modern of technologies. ..The movie was an absolute blast. I enjoyed every slash of vibranium claws by the Black Panther and screamed with excitement with the overtaking of the bad guys. I also screamed with excitement when one character uses the word ‘colonizer’ as an insult…As I left the movie behind, I did go through a bit of a grieving process as a Native American man.

I am all too familiar with the term ‘colonizer.’ I am all too familiar with being called (first-hand) an inferior race, even though indigenous peoples invented such things as watertight wetsuits, syringes from quills and animal bladders, medicines and more. I grieved because Native Americans don’t yet have a superhero as completely fantastic as the Black Panther. He has a suit that is impenetrable, and has claws with the strongest metal in the world, vibranium.

The beautiful Lupita Nyong’o at the Los Angeles world premiere of the Black Panther . Photo- Vanity Fair

Danai Gurira wowed in a black and pink Viktor & Rolf dress at the Los Angeles world premiere of Marvel’s Black Panther.wstale.com

I have hope that one day we will have a Native superhero without an eagle or wolf friend standing at his side, one that doesn’t have super tracking abilities or anything else related to the elements…If the Black Panther is overlooked by the Oscars this year, I am going to give the biggest SMH the social media world has ever seen.

I enjoyed every single solitary moment of this spectacular film! It is a MUST SEE!

Category: Films