Rutgers-Camden Honors Film Seminar Previews Black Panther

The trend of comic book movies will continue for some time. While fans and critics are enthusiastic about the genre, it often runs short on ideas in favor of continuing a franchise. Studios and filmmakers strive for original releases with the help of a fresh property.

A good example is Marvel Comics’ Black Panther, created by writer Stan Lee and artist Jack Kirby, which debuted in Fantastic Four #52 in July of 1966. Long ignored by mainstream comic adaptations but beloved by fans, the series is now a film adaptation directed by Ryan Coogler (Creed, Fruitvale Station), written by Coogler and Joe Robert Cole, and starring Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, Daniel Kaluuya, and Andy Serkis. Following the events of Captain America: Civil War, T’Challa (Boseman) is made king of his technologically-advanced, secret African homeland before a loner (Jordan) arrives to challenge his throne.

Rutgers-Camden Honors College students from Matthew Sorrento’s “History of the Horror Film” seminar had the rare opportunity to attend an advance screening of the film. Thanks to Allied Advertising, they enjoyed previewing Black Panther in Philadelphia on Wednesday, February 13th. They tried their hands at reviewing the film, and while this was a first attempt for most of them, they produced some incisive commentary. Excerpts are below.

“I am not really a big superhero movie fan,” wrote Doaa Ouf, a sophomore Animation major. However, she found the film especially intriguing: “The movie addresses many modern-day problems, with civil wars, ideas of the ‘monstrous’ (how people are portrayed as such), and issues that result from poor decisions that keep haunting us many years later.”

Ckysha Dizon, a senior major in Nursing, came to the film similarly: “I have not watched all of the Marvel movies and was never really this excited to watch one,” she admitted. “(The film portrays) a sense of family, companionship, and belonging. Some characters show disloyalty towards their leader, though these characters eventually realize in the end that T’Challa, the main character and the King of Wakanda, is not just a strong leader, but a loyal man to his family and tribe.”

Rishi Patel, a comic book movie fan and a first-year Business major, was very satisfied with the film: “I never knew who this superhero was until I saw Captain America,” he wrote. “I think [Black Panther] is a great addition to the Marvel series. I like how the film gives background information about the area of Africa where his tribe resides, and how they are sitting on the world’s most precious metal, which fuels their technology.”

Kenneth Riggio, a sophomore History major and also a fan of this genre, was impressed with the film’s style and action sequences: “With striking visual effects and sequences, Black Panther is surprisingly stripped down from preceding Marvel movies,” he noted. “Trading in explosions and city-wide chaos, the film presents combat that is mainly confined to hand-to-hand sequences and small group fights. While this may seem weird for most viewers, the film does not suffer at all from it as the sequences are some of the most well-crafted combats in Marvel history.”

Gabrielle Winter, a sophomore Criminal Justice major, was surprised by this comic movie’s portrayal of a rich culture. “I liked how the film presents Wakanda, specifically all of the amazing technology they house in their culture and their eventual willingness to share it” she says.

Black Panther will be released on Friday, February 16, in theaters nationwide.