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  • Abandon Shipping: A lot of people were quick to shipping T'Challa and Erik from the start due to sharing similarities to the dynamic between Charles Xavier and Magneto. Then the movie came out and it turned out the two in this version are actually cousins. This unsurprisingly killed much of the initial interest.
  • Accidental Aesop: The film's explicit themes revolve around Wakanda accepting its complicity in some of the world's woes by being militantly isolationist. However, while never directly addressed, there is also a strong theme about "Perhaps absolute monarchy based upon Asskicking Equals Authority is just a disaster waiting to happen when a sufficiently skilled warrior takes control of the throne and realizes there are NO controls on their authority".
  • Adorkable:
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    • T'Challa vehemently denies he'll freeze when he sees Nakia... until he does. While he's fully decked out in the Panther Habit. This helps make this aloof ruler figure extremely likable.
    • Nakia also has a moment, where she says she'd be a good queen because she is stubborn...to her ex. Then she tries to Verbal Backspace.
  • Alternate Character Interpretation: See here.
  • And You Thought It Would Fail: After spending decades in Development Hell, once it was up for Marvel Studios to get the project running, the higher-ups didn't have that much faith in it largely due to Minority Show Ghetto concerns. Disney CEO Bob Iger had to intervene to get Black Panther (and Captain Marvel, which had a similar roadblock) into production, and the fact that along with being a critical and commercial hit, the film served to champion for minority representation (numbers were huge in mostly Black cities!) made Iger say in his memoir that it is the Marvel movie he's most proud of.
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  • Angst? What Angst?: For all the emotional and physical trauma he endured including becoming disillusioned with his father and getting beaten into a coma, T'Challa still comes off very dignified and composed in the end.
  • Author's Saving Throw:
    • After the mixed reception of the debut poster, Marvel unveiled a gorgeous new poster for the film at SDCC, which was infinitely better received.
    • Michael B. Jordan claimed that he saw this movie as a way for making up to Marvel fans who were disappointed by Fantastic Four, which he starred in.note  Given the sheer amount of acclaim he got for this movie, suffice to say that his apology was graciously accepted.
    • Following in the footsteps of the Vulture, the Grandmaster, and Hela, Killmonger was chosen as a deliberate attempt to create a sympathetic and memorable MCU bad guy after a string of widely-criticized and forgettable Generic Doomsday Villains. Given the amount of "Killmonger Was Right" memes currently circulating around the web, it's probably safe to say they succeeded and then some. Much the same goes for Klaue who became a fan-favorite as a Laughably Evil companion of Killmonger.
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    • The filmmakers have gone out of their way to avoid the continuity problems that have plagued the MCU. While the Marvel movies are widely praised, they have been criticized for Continuity Lockout and focusing more on setting up sequels. Black Panther functions as a self-contained story with almost no references to the previous film or characters outside of the news broadcast and Ross briefly recapping T'Challa's arc in Captain America: Civil War and the post-credits scene involving Bucky Barnes in Wakanda, thereby making it more accessible for casual fans.
    • Previous Marvel movies, especially in Phase 2, have been widely criticized for having forgettable and unmemorable original scores. The fact that this film has its own Awesome Music page, and an Oscar win for the score, shows you the extent to which they fixed that.
    • In the comics, M'Baku the Man-Ape is loaded with Unfortunate Implications due to being a savage, brutish Scary Black Man who dresses up as a gorilla, which brings to mind uncomfortable racist caricatures comparing black people to monkeys and apes. This movie doesn't use the "Man-Ape" moniker and downplays the gorilla imagery, while hitting him with a dose of Adaptational Heroism to turn him into an Anti-Villain who undergoes a Heel–Face Turn.
  • Award Snub:
    • It won several Academy Awards (for Costume Design, Production Design, and Original Score) but Michael B. Jordan did not receive a nomination for Best Supporting Actor and the film itself failed to receive a nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay despite both being nominated for their respective categories in other award ceremonies. The film also lost Best Picture to Green Book, which only added to the various controversies surrounding that film.
    • The movie lost all three categories it was nominated in at the Golden Globes; Best Picture - Drama, in particular, was instead awarded to Bohemian Rhapsody, a feature film which has garnered greater controversy and less acclaim.
  • Badass Decay: Similarly to Spider-Man's perceived nerfing between his first movie and Homecoming, a number of fans felt T'Challa wasn't as cool or impressive in this film as he was in Civil War, going from being a stoic, unflinching "Marvel Batman" steely predator who took on the Winter Soldier unarmed and out of costume to getting the absolute shit beaten out of him by guys without powers twice, freezing up in front of his ex-girlfriend and getting pranked on video by his meme-quoting little sister. And because his new costume looked goofy.
  • Base-Breaking Character: Killmonger is seen by many as a very well-done Tragic Villain with a lot more depth than usual for an MCU film. Some viewers felt that he legitimately made better points compared to T'Challa, and ended up rooting for him, while still others saw him as an irredeemable sociopath and felt the film tries to wring out more sympathy for him than he deserves.
  • Broken Base:
    • Some viewers consider Klaue being built up as the Big Bad for the first half of the film, then being abruptly killed off, to be an effective twist. Others feel this renders his character pointless, as he ultimately contributes little to the story, and the excessive focus on him causes Killmonger to be Out of Focus for half the movie. And then there is a third group who don’t mind the twist but wish that Klaue was captured alive and escaped during the battle of Wakanda, that way he and Andy Serkis could have been used in potential Black Panther sequels.
    • As time went on the movie's heavy use of Afrofuturism and African imagery has also reached some level of divisiveness. Many feel it makes sense since Wakanda is an African country and it's a positive portrayal of African culture that breaks from the usual portrayals in Western media, while others feel Marvel is simply using African tribal imagery to Africanise Black American culture, and that Wakanda, even accounting for its advanced technology, doesn't bear much resemblance to most actual modern African countries.
  • Crack Pairing: More than a few people ship Shuri and Bucky despite their limited screentime together and age difference, her being 16 and him being in his 30s.
  • Crossover Ship:
    • Shuri/Peter Parker is very popular, thanks to both of them being goofy teenagers with a shared love of pop culture and technology.
    • A number of people ship Killmonger with Valkyrie, joking that this isn't the first time they've dated, as their actors Michael B. Jordan and Tessa Thompson had previously played a couple in Creed.
  • Cry for the Devil: Killmonger is a Not-So-Well-Intentioned Extremist who murders his girlfriend to get to Klaue and doesn't care that his actions as king will destroy Wakanda as well as the rest of the world. He's also still the boy from Oakland who found his dead father in his apartment, as shown in the scene where he talks to his N'Jobu in the spirit world and is both happy and saddened to see him one last time. Even when he nearly kills Shuri just because she happens to be standing with defensive arm cannons, he breaks down while dying about how he believed in Wakanda as a fairy tale and his father promised to bring him home to see the sunset. T'Challa shows sympathy and righteous fury for his cousin, while acknowledging what he wants is too dangerous.
  • Discredited Meme: The cast and crew is sick of requests to perform the Wakandan salute to the point of expressing annoyance and deflation. Michael B. Jordan, a normally nice guy, became visibly frustrated and refused to do it when he was asked to do it during an interview, noting that his character hates Wakanda for abandoning him. Likewise, Chadwick Boseman became unhappy performing the salute in public and during promotional events.
  • Draco in Leather Pants:
    • Thanks to his sympathetic backstory as well as the fact he makes a few good points about social and political issues, Killmonger has a few zealous fans who tend to completely overlook the fact that he's still a remorseless killer who has no qualms about innocent people (even children) dying for the sake of his goals.
    • N'Jobu gets this too for having similar social and political beliefs, and for his tragic ending of being killed by his own brother and abandoned by his home country just as he was about to rescue Erik's mother from jail. This ignores the fact that his plan to arm minorities shows he was still willing to overthrow other countries by violence and let people be killed for his cause, and he had no concerns about numerous Wakandans being murdered as part of his and Klaue's plan to obtain Vibranium.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: The supporting casts received as much love, if not more than the main character himself:
  • Epileptic Trees:
    • Much digital ink has been spilled about the significance of T'Challa's ring, given how he inherited it from his father and how it reacted oddly to Bucky's arm during one of their fights in Civil War. The Russos have hinted that it may have magical powers.. Many in the fandom believed it to be the Soul Stone, due to it being, at the time, the only one of the Infinity Stones still unaccounted for. Ultimately jossed; not only does the Soul Stone not appear or get mentioned during the events of the movie, Avengers: Infinity War reveals it was hidden on the alien planet of Vormir all along.
    • Fans have speculated that W'kabi is really a traumatized Chris who fled back to the motherland. Also that said trauma led to his Face–Heel Turn by relating with Killmonger's problems.
  • Evil Is Cool:
    • Many critics have come to praise Erik as one of the best aspects to the movie, owing to his considerable amount of complexity, especially compared to the MCU's longstanding problem regarding developing villains, his relationship with T'Challa and the performance given by Michael B. Jordan.
    • Klaue is a fan favorite for almost the exact opposite reasons, thanks to being both totally hilarious and genuinely badass, not to mention Andy Serkis' gloriously ridiculous, swaggering performance.
  • Evil Is Sexy: Killmonger, who sports a fabulous set of dreads and becomes a Walking Shirtless Scene after he usurps T'Challa as king.
  • Fandom Rivalry:
    • With Spider-Man: Homecoming. Fans were already irritated that Black Panther got pushed back for another Spider-Man reboot especially since both Black Panther and Spider-Man proved to be the breakout stars of Captain America: Civil War. However, the rivalry has mostly died down since Black Panther not only made more money but was also released in the historically significant Black History Month, thus many Black Panther fans felt the delay was worth it.
    • Some Creed fans aren't happy that Ryan Coogler won't be able to direct the sequel due to being hired for this film, though he's said he definitely wants to do more at some point.
    • On Tumblr and Twitter, fans of Black Panther and Wonder Woman (2017) have butted heads over which films are truly representative of marginalized groups with some going so far as to claim Black Panther's female bodyguards are better female representatives than Wonder Woman before Black Panther was even released.
    • A similar rivalry exists between fans of Black Panther and Cyborg. The main point of contention is the massive amount of buzz the Black Panther movie generated in the African American community and on social media, while Cyborg's film debut in Justice League several months prior was met with far less fanfare. Some Cyborg fans have taken to claiming the lack of support for Cyborg is unfair, while many Black Panther fans have pointed out that the lack of a standalone Cyborg movie is likely to blame.
    • From Blade Trilogy fans who often pointed out that Blade was the first Marvel superhero movie with a black lead and lament that its very ignored by modern mainstream media. This was even referenced in the How It Should Have Ended video for Black Panther, which ended with Blade showing up to challenge T'Challa for the throne.
    • Mildly with A Wrinkle in Time (2018) - both big budget blockbusters directed by and starring people of color as the leads. It's accepted that when Black Panther proved to be a smash hit, it negatively affected A Wrinkle in Time's Box Office take.
    • A surprising one with The Last Jedi. Many of The Last Jedi's detractors praising this film, along with Wonder Woman to either highlight what they hated about The Last Jedi and to deflect accusations of being racist bigots. Not helping matters is that the two films are remarkably similar in theme and characters with Killmonger drawing comparisons to Kylo Ren for being a power-hungry Psychopathic Manchild and anti-traditionalist.
  • Fandom-Specific Plot: "What if T'Chaka did bring Erik home to Wakanda?" AU fics/scenarios are quite popular.
  • Fanon: Due to Michael B. Jordan's known love for anime and Killmonger's battle outfit resembling Vegeta's iconic battle armour from Dragon Ball, it is common for fans to depict Killmonger as an Otaku. This became Ascended Fanon in What If?, where an alternate counterpart of Killmonger admits to being an anime fan.
  • Fan Nickname: Killmonger is sometimes called "Golden Jaguar" due to his gold-accented version of Black Panther's suit.
  • Fan-Preferred Couple: It's much more popular in fandom to pair T'Challa with Killmonger over his canon love interest Nakia, as their relationship is seen as somewhat bland in comparison. While the ship does receive a lot of pushback in Western fandom on the whole due to the the Kissing Cousins aspect, T'Challa/Killmonger is incredibly popular in Asia, with many doujinshi and fan events dedicated to the pairing.
  • Faux Symbolism: The poster of T'Challa sitting on his throne has been compared to a famous photograph of Black Panthers co-founder Huey P. Newton, even though the only similarities are that they both feature a black man sitting in a chair looking at the camera.note  It's kicked up quite a lot of backlash, on both sides, for something that was clearly unintentional. Amusingly, the same portrait actually appears in Killmonger's old Oakland apartment.
  • Fight Scene Failure: A common complaint of the final battle is that it suffers from some terrible fight scenes that include include fake-looking CGI models of suited-up Killmonger and T'Challa, and a scene in which Killmonger slits the throat of a Dora Milaje in a way that doesn't spill any blood at all. What makes the final battle rather jarring is that the previous waterfall duels and the Busan casino fight are realistic and well-made, and director Ryan Coogler has proven that he can direct good action scenes as seen with Creed. The most jarring part is that we get a slow-motion shot of the Dora Milaje from the front, very clearly showing that she's uninjured, whereas a shot of her corpse from the back or of the other characters reacting could have been a perfectly decent Gory Discretion Shot.
  • Friendly Fandoms:
    • There's a lot of overlap between Black Panther fans and Coming to America fans. The cast even celebrated Lupita Nyong'o's birthday with a "Wakandans in Zamunda"-themed party.
    • While some people have tried to turn it into the usual rivalry, fans excited for this film are also excited for and have gotten along well with fans of Aquaman as both are the first films in the MCU and DCEU with non-white leads and directors, giving the superhero genre some much needed diversity. Similarly, in-spite of the 'Down with Disney' campaign, a separate group of DC fans took part in one of several charity campaigns to raise money to send impoverished kids to see the movie in theatres.
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff:
    • The film was generally well-received in Africa because of its humanization of Africans and African society and portrayal of Wakanda as a technologically advanced paradise, in contrast to most Western portrayals of Africa as poor and war-torn.
    • Wales loves the film because the first end-credit sequence implies that Wales is an independent and powerful country with their own flag and membership in the United Nations.
  • Genius Bonus: A retroactive version. A common complaint is that it's a Plot Hole that the primitive Wakandans could have even managed to cut and manipulate vibranium at all when it first landed in their area, as vibranium is supposed to be nigh-indestructible. The explanation for how they did it is subtly shown in Avengers: Age of Ultron, when Ultron's vibranium armor is being melted. While resistance to kinetic impacts, the color of the blackbody radiation in that scene indicates that vibranium actually has a very low melting point. Considerably lower than even iron.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
  • He Panned It, Now He Sucks!: Negative reviews of the film on Rotten Tomatoes are so scarce that the slightest one gets immediate attention and expected reactions across the board.
  • He's Just Hiding!: Since we never actually see Killmonger's death, there's a sizable amount of fans hoping for a reveal that T'Challa did save him and he can be in the sequel.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • There's a reference to The Wizard of Oz. Later, this very movie would surpass The Wizard of Oz as having the highest score of any film on all of Rotten Tomatoes.
    • This is wouldn't be the last time in 2018 that Michael B. Jordan's character goes up against the son of the man who killed his father, only that time he's the hero instead of the villain.
    • The Wakandan salute is a sign of respect given toward the King of Wakanda. Just a few months later, Deadpool 2 came out and gleefully used a virtually similar gesture in a much more irreverent manner.
  • Hype Backlash:
    • The level of hype raised the film to unreasonable expectations for some. The fact it's overshadowing previous superheroes with black leads, and especially the toxic parts of the fanbase who overreact to negative reviews have soured many people's perceptions.
    • Likewise, while most people think the movie is at the very least a good movie on its own, there's a wide gap between those who think it deserved to be nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards and those who think it didn't and caused much more deserving films to be snubbed and that the decision was mainly motivated by the cultural-political phenomenon the movie's release generated and Disney's heavy lobbying rather than the film's own merits.
  • Idiot Plot: Literally the whole issue of Killmonger usurping T'Challa could have been avoided if Wakanda, an advanced nation full of sophisticated people, had not chosen dueling as the way to replace the current king. Periodically reviewing the actions of the king, who can be challenged by any of the Tribes should they be dissatisfied with his behavior? Awesome. The challenge consisting on the challenger and the king literally beat each other to death or surrender, ignoring any quality or flaws any of them could have? Stupid.
  • Iron Woobie: T'Challa. The whole movie is nothing but one Trauma Conga Line for him. At the start of the film, he is still reeling from the assassination of his father T'Chaka. Then his admiration for his family is shaken, when he learned that his father killed his uncle N'Jobu and abandoned his cousin Erik in the slums of Oakland, who grows up into the villainous Killmonger. During the duel with Killmonger, he is forced to watch his honorary uncle Zuri get killed by Killmonger before getting brutally beaten and thrown off a waterfall. Although he manages to reclaim the throne and save Wakanda, he has to watch Killmonger kill himself, thereby losing another family member. Yet in spite of all the trauma he suffered, T'Challa refuses to lose hope and is never overwhelmed by despair.
  • It's the Same, Now It Sucks!: There are those who have taken umbrage with the fact that the villain of this piece is yet again, one who shares the same powers as the hero.
  • Jerkass Woobie: Killmonger, who was orphaned by T'Chaka's own actions and forced to live on the streets of America as a poor black orphan, and was the brunt of racism and colonialism for much of his life. Is it any wonder he wants the life that was denied him, and stop it from happening to anyone else?
  • Love to Hate:
    • Ulysses Klaue, whose endlessly animated, laugh-a-minute performance by Andy Serkis provides some of the funniest parts of the first half of the film.
    • Erik Killmonger, who, despite being a ruthless mass murderer who will do anything to complete his goals, is well-liked for being a villain with both a considerable coolness-factor and a complex backstory that helps make him more sympathetic.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • #BlackPantherSoLit, where black MCU fans on Twitter celebrated the casting announcements. Even Ava DuVernay got in on it!.
    • The ever-expanding All-Star Cast has spawned the theory that Coogler is trying to get literally every black actor in Hollywood into the movie.
    • Much like Chris Evans before him, the casting of Michael B. Jordan led many to joke that one way to advance your acting career is becoming a Human Torch in a 20th Century Fox-produced Fantastic Four movie and then moving onto the MCU with a better role in a better movie ahead.
    • #LetAyoHaveAGirlfriend, in response to Marvel denying that Ayo was in a romantic relationship with one of her fellow Dora Milaje, despite being in one in the comics.
    • Erik Killmonger's hair and mask. Some even call them the best character in the teaser trailer.
    • The Lion King (1994) comparisons have picked up a lot of traction due to this shot from the trailer, coupled with the tagline "Long live the king". When the remake came out just a year later, viewers who disliked it made a lot of jokes about Black Panther being the superior or "real" remake.
    • Two Tolkien White guys explanation 
    • T'Challa and Shuri's Secret Handshake, with some declaring it an official replacement for dapping.
    • #WakandaGate explanation 
    • When a character bio for M'Baku mentioned that he disliked Vibranium for being "mainstream", jokes about him and his tribe being hipsters quickly started popping up.
    • Gifs of M'Baku and his Jabari guards barking at Everett Ross is used as a response to someone continually talking out of turn and/or on a subject they've shown to have no knowledge of.
    • "Wakanda is Real", a meme celebrating the titular nation's symbolism of African pride and Afrocentric utopianism, or at least its rejection of colonialism.
    • Ben Shapiro's criticism of the "Wakanda Is Real" meme led to a subsequent backlash meme, "Wakanda Isn't Real".
    • People making comparisons between Killmonger and Dragon Ball character Vegeta due to the distinctive chest plate he wears resembling Vegeta's Saiyan armor, as well as speculation if it's an intentional shout-out due to Michael B. Jordan's known love of anime. It's since become fair play to assume that Killmonger is an anime fan himself.
    • Is this your king? explanation 
    • De prinss will now heff de strenf a de bleck penta sdripped eweh. explanation 
    • DELETE THAT FOOTAGE explanation 
    • What are THOOOOSE?!explanation 
    • Chadwick Boseman and Michael B. Jordan became really fed up with people telling them/asking them to say "Wakanda Forever" with the arms-over-chest salute; especially in Jordan's case since his character never does it in the film, as Killmonger grew up in the US and hates Wakanda. Pictures of the very-annoyed-looking actors are usually captioned with "Wakanda Occasionally" or "Wakanda Whatever."
    • Comparing W'Kabi to Chris from Get Out, as they are played by the same actor, and claiming that W'Kabi is actually a disguised Chris, hiding from the authorities after he was responsible for multiple murders (Even though his victims tried to kill him first). Even better, some people didn't know the character's name from this movie, and simply called him the "Get Out guy".
    • When word broke of the shocking passing of Chadwick Boseman on August 28 2020, the instant reaction online was either images/gifs of T'Challa doing the salute or in the Ancestral Garden. Another one was to post his Civil War quote, "In my culture, death is not the end."
  • Misaimed Fandom:
  • Moe: Shuri, whose Adorkableness and fun antics make her very huggable.
  • Moral Event Horizon:
    • Killmonger has a few possible moments:
      • Mocking the completely innocent tour guide at the museum, whose only crime was telling him what she knew based on Western academic understanding of African history, as she succumbs to the poison he had put in her coffee, just so he and Klaue can have a distraction to steal a valuable Wakandan artifact.
      • When he declares his intention to kill the children of anyone in power outside Wakanda, showcasing blatant Revenge Myopia given the death of his father at T'Chaka's hands is his central motivation.
      • The moment he comes back from his vision quest and orders his advisors to burn all the Heart-Shaped Herbs for no reason, showing how little he respects Wakandan culture despite his claims of championing it.
      • When he kills Zuri and tries to kill a defeated T'Challa by throwing him off the waterfall even though Zuri offered to die in T'Challa's place.
      • When Klaue takes his girlfriend and partner-in-crime hostage, Erik kills her himself with a shocking lack of reaction.
    • Klaue letting one of the security guards at the museum go and then shooting him in the back as he was running away, just to spread out the crime scene. Even Killmonger was shocked by this.
  • More Popular Spin Off: At least in the United States; the movie made over $700 million and was the highest-grossing film of 2018 in that market (which is even more than what Avengers: Infinity War made in the United States, in spite of the latter's bigger opening), compared to Captain America: Civil War — the film that introduced T'Challa/Black Panther — which made over $400 million. Overseas, though, the movie played like a very successful spin-off to that film rather than overperforming at a rate similar to the American market.
  • Narm: During the final fight between T'Challa and Erik, in addition to the aforementioned Fight Scene Failure, as the two men are falling and trashing at one another, they make odd grunting sounds. It's particularly jarring given how there's no background music to offset this and wouldn't be out of place in the average FUNimation dub of Dragon Ball Z.
  • Narm Charm:
    • Killmonger's Gangbanger vibe seems rather goofy and jarring when juxtaposed against the Afrofuristic style of Wakanda. Yet his gangster style makes him all the more memorable, and further highlights how out of touch he is with his Wakandan heritage. Also, it's a completely justified contrast, as he grew up in that culture, not Wakanda.
    • The Jabari tribe's habit of barking like apes at people runs right up to the boundary between narm and charm. Their sheer awesomeness puts them over.
    • Shuri's "WHAT ARE THOOOOSE?!" line has made plenty of eyes roll due to its sheer We're Still Relevant, Dammit! tone. But not only is it simply funny, but it's also perfectly in character for the irreverent and youthful Shuri to say to tease her older brother. Besides: It's far less obnoxious than the meme it's spawned from thanks to Shuri's voice not being nearly as obnoxious.
  • Nausea Fuel: Killmonger's scarification is definitely unnerving to people with trypophobia (fear of holes, usually set off by things that look like bug nests).
  • Never Live It Down: No matter what she does throughout the rest of the MCU, it appears Shuri will always be the girl who made an outdated meme reference to T'Challa. Letitia Wright has even joked that she now has to be careful about what shoes she wears.
  • Older Than They Think: There is a very vocal section of the fanbase who like to declare this to be "the first black superhero movie". It's not. The first superhero movie with a super-powered African-American protagonist came out in 1977, as the blaxploitation film "Abar, The First Black Superman", which was followed by superhero comedies The Meteor Man in 1993 and Blankman in 1994. It's not the first superhero movie from a major comicbook company with a super-powered African-American protagonist — that would be Spawn, which came out in August 1, 1997, and was followed by Steel on August 15 1997. It's not even the first film to feature a super-powered African-American protagonist from Marvel Comics — that would be Blade, which was even the first franchised Marvel film, followed by Spider-Man and X-Men. The best you could say is that it's the first big budget African-American superhero movie.
  • Retroactive Recognition: Sydelle Noel from GLOW has a minor role as one of the Dora Milaje members.
  • Rooting for the Empire: Some fans, critics, and commentators find themselves siding with and cheering on Killmonger, going so far as to call him the "real hero". This stems from Michael B. Jordan's charismatic performance as the character, Killmonger's manly badassery, his experience with American racism, or his legitimate arguments of Wakanda's complicity in the suffering of Africans.
  • Sacred Cow: This movie was a long-awaited and spectacularly executed cultural touchstone for African-American audiences, particularly Black children who finally had a role model on the big screen. Chadwick Boseman is this by extension, and criticism of his performance went from unadvisable to unthinkable after his sudden, tragic death in 2020.
  • Ships That Pass in the Night: There are Peter/Shuri shippers who want the pair to meet and bond over their shared love of tech.
  • Signature Scene
    • The scene of T'Challa backflipping from one car onto the next has appeared in all three trailers.
    • T'Challa and Killmonger visiting the Ancestral Plane.
  • Special Effect Failure: Although the movie on a whole looks impressive, the CGI looks far more dated and obvious than several of the more recent Marvel movies:
    • The third act in general has really wonky CGI. The rhinos have been criticized for how jarring and unnatural they look, and a lot of the stunts are clearly performed by CGI doubles. Killmonger's Panther suit is also very obvious CGI that makes it look like it's made of rubber.
    • The scene where T'Challa visits the Ancestral Plane for the second time has shockingly obvious green screen effects.
    • The fight scenes involving the Black Panther suits suffer from the CGI overuse, resulting in the scenes of intense action scenes looking janky and hard to follow.
  • Spiritual Adaptation: When Disney's remake of The Lion King was released, it became a meme for fans to declare Black Panther was a better remake.
  • Tainted by the Preview: Killmonger's suit was first revealed in Hasbro's toyline for the film, and a number of fans complained about it looking rather generic and too much like T'Challa's. This changed when the trailer showed that it had a distinctive golden hue and jaguar-like spots, indicating the action figure may just have been a case of Show Accuracy/Toy Accuracy.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!: T'Challa's new panther suit has been the subject of criticism and is widely regarded as a step down from his suit in Civil War. Points of contention usually include the increasingly cat-like face mask sculpt, the muscle-printed torso and the glowing purple highlights in combat, often called goofy and cartoonish compared to his old costume.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character:
    • Andy Serkis as Klaue is an entertaining villain, but Killmonger shoots him dead halfway through the film. Man, characters played by Andy Serkis just can't catch a break, can they?
    • Killmonger's girlfriend gets less than five minutes of screentime and has little impact on the story. She seems to exist solely to die at his hands and give him a gratuitous Kick the Dog moment, which could have been removed entirely as the film sufficiently establishes his ruthlessness elsewhere.
    • Queen Ramonda spent the later half of the movie completely Out of Focus despite the film focusing heavily on the rest of the royal family.
    • Despite being an elderly former warrior and spiritual leader for Wakanda who was once T'Chaka's most trusted spy and dear friend, poor Zuri doesn't get to do a whole lot besides adjudicating the trials by combat for the throne, and in fact is never even shown reacting to T'Chaka's death. We never learn how he went from being "badass spy" to "keeper of the sacred garden", and only gets a brief scene with T'Challa discussing his grief over N'Jobu's betrayal and death, and the moment he steps up to actually make a difference in the plot, he's murdered by Killmonger.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: Killmonger's plan to send vibranium weapons to other countries and spark a global uprising had a lot of potential for a suspenseful climax, but the plan never gets off the ground, as his ships are immediately shot down by Ross before they can leave Wakanda.
  • Too Cool to Live:
    • Ulysses Klaue, one of the more memorable villains in the MCU, ends up getting killed about halfway through the movie in order to make way for Killmonger.
    • Killmonger himself dies at the end of the movie, to many fans disappointment. His arguments and charisma have made him a favorite, while his death is a tragedy both in and out of universe.
  • Uncanny Valley: Klaue's artificial hand falls into Uncanny Valley territory, and not just on his character poster. The creepy way it opens itself to reveal a Plasma Cannon also renders Klaue less "human".
  • Unfortunate Implications: Some critics took issue with Killmonger's portrayal, noting that the film's most notable African-American character, whose stated goal is to help oppressed black people, is portrayed as a violent sociopath who lacks a coherent political philosophy, describing him as "an American stereotype of unparented African-American hate."
  • Unintentionally Sympathetic: Killmonger is clearly meant to be seen as a Tragic Villain who has become just as bad as what he's fighting against, as T'Challa calls him out for. However, a number of fans ended up siding with him over T'Challa due to his tragic backstory and feeling that he made better points about Wakanda's complicity in people's suffering. This view was also taken by Honest Trailers, which claims that he won the moral argument by convincing T'Challa to change his ways and open Wakanda to the rest of the world.
  • Visual Effects of Awesome:
    • Wakanda looks absolutely gorgeous.
    • The official trailer highlights Wakanda's unique aesthetic, along with T'Challa and Killmonger's suits forming around them Tony Stark style and Klaue destroying a car with one blast from his sonic arm.
  • Watched It for the Representation: This was the first MCU production to have a majority-black cast. In addition to the superhero fare, black fans tuned in for the black All-Star Cast, the way the film addressed real issues of colonialism and diasporic identity, and the film's celebration of African and African-American cultures. It grossed over a billion dollars and was the first MCU film to be nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards.
  • What Do You Mean, It's Not Political?:
    • W'Kabi's claims about migrants "bringing their problems here" and making Wakanda just like the rest of the world echoes similar rhetoric from the 2016 US Presidential election.
    • T'Challa's declaration at the United Nations in the post-credit sequence that "The wise build bridges while fools build barriers". While in-universe it is a reference to Wakanda's own history, to the audience it can either be read as a criticism of an increasing trend towards nationalism in the 21st century or it can simply be read at face value as an appeal to love and tolerance across the tribes of humanity.
  • WTH, Casting Agency?: Although Michael B. Jordan won over fans in the final film, his initial casting received a mixed response for many reasons:
    • Some fans have complained about Jordan isn't as large and muscular as Erik Killmonger is usually depicted in the comics. Others have argued that Jordan is a very talented performer despite not resembling the character, and that like The Kingpin, it would likely be hard to find a good actor with Killmonger's exaggerated physique to begin with.
    • Another debate is whether Jordan should be in this movie at all, due to his involvement in the Fant4stic debacle. Some people feel that it was too soon to cast Jordan, as they fear that his casting would cause the movie to underperform just like Fant4stic. However, many are quick to point how Jordan has won over critics with the movie Creed since then. Furthermore, defenders will point out that Marvel Studios has had a much better track record than 20th Century Fox's history with the Fantastic Four franchise, and how Fant4stic had such a Troubled Production that it probably would have failed even without Jordan's involvement. Finally, many MCU actors have been in various other comic book adaptationsnote  making Jordan's casting in the MCU nothing new.
  • WTH, Costuming Department?:
    • The reactions to the new Black Panther suit have been mixed, with many saying that it doesn't look as good as the one worn in Civil War and wishing he just kept that one. The mask in particular has been the subject of criticism, with some saying the more cat-like design causes it to look Narmy. Other points of contention are the foot claws and muscle-printed torso, which fans deride as overly cartoony.
    • People have criticized that attempts of making Angela Bassett look older by simply dying her hair white didn't really work out despite her actually being in her late 50s when production took place.

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