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 a lot (though not all) 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 Leads to Leadership 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".
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.
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.
Base-Breaking Character: Killmonger is generally seen as a well-done Tragic Villain with a lot more depth than usual for an MCU film, but this isn't a universal sentiment. 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 due to his Kick the Dog moments and felt the film tries to wring out more sympathy for him than he deserves.
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.
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 and its complicity in people's suffering. Likewise, Chadwick Boseman became unhappy performing the salute in public and during promotional events.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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-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 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 Their posture is completely different, the angle the photo is being taken at is different, and even the chairs are only similar in that they have a large rounded back, but that's hardly unusual. 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.
Franchise Original Sin: With Killmonger being widely praised for being a Tragic Villain with a lot of depth due to his concerns about racial justice, later MCU works have tried to replicate this formula with other Well-Intentioned Extremist villains who are overzealous in addressing real-world problems. However, the increasing reliance on this formula has been criticized by fans, who feel that it's become overused, that it makes the villains too sympathetic compared to the heroes, and that rather than address their arguments, the writers often give them forced Kick the Dog moments to make it clear that they're evil.
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.
Fans of Wonder Woman (2017) tend to gravitate to this movie as well because of the similairities both films have — late 2010 superhero blockbusters that have a superhero main character who isn't white or male, and with mainy from those underrepresentated groups wanting to see each one.
Thanks to the Panther connection, there are many fans of the Pink Panther who also enjoy Black Panther and create friendly crossovers where the both of them meet each other as fellow panthers.
The fact both franchises based on beloved comic books share Danai Gurira playing a badass Action Girl, some fans of The Walking Dead also like this movie and vice versa, even leading to a lot of fanart involving both characters.
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.
In a similar note, M'Baku gives a genuine smile when T'Challa revives, after he reveals his men saved the king. T'Challa dies again in Infinity War, along with a good portion of Wakanda citizens. All M'Baku can do is watch with an agonized expression.
As painful as it was to see Killmonger destroy the garden of the Heart-Shaped Herbs, making T'Challa the last mystically-empowered Black Panther, it only got worse in Infinity War when T'Challa is erased by the snap with No Body Left Behind, making it impossible to restore the herb and ending the legacy of the Black Panther.
After T'Challa seemingly dies against Killmonger during their challenge for the throne, Shuri sobs about how she and her mother never even got the chance to bury him. The very opening of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever has T'Challa die for real, with his close family grieving as his coffin is prepared to be buried.
The scene of Shuri jokingly offering to challenge T'Challa for the right to rule Wakanda, mostly to just get the ceremony over with, takes on a much darker tone in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever when she really does end up becoming Queen of Wakanda after all... because her entire family is dead and she's the only one left capable of inheriting the throne. And she can't even bring herself to maintain the title, allowing M'Baku to take it unimpeded, though she does continue the legacy of the Black Panther instead.
When M'Baku challenges T'Challa for the throne early in the film, he scoffs at Wakanda's technological advancement happening under Shuri's direction, and angrily dismisses her as a "child who scoffs at tradition". Midway through Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Shuri goes through such a brutal Trauma Conga Line that M'Baku apologetically rescinds this inflammatory remark, noting that the princess of Wakanda can't be considered a child anymore after losing everyone in her family.
During the mid-credit scene of this film, T'Challa promises to start sharing technology with the rest of the world, in an attempt to bring peace and good relations to the United Nations. Fast-forward to the beginning of Wakanda Forever, where Queen Ramonda has undone all of her son's foreign policy changes, motivating countries such as the U.S and France to try to steal it for themselves.
Heartwarming in Hindsight: The film ends with a Maybe Ever After between T'Challa and Nakia where he considers the possibility of rekindling his former romance with Nakia and making her his queen, leaving it vague whether they actually did afterwards. Black Panther: Wakanda Foreverreveals that he and Nakia not only got back together, but had a child in secret by the time Infinity War took place.
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. Said sequel confirms he's Killed Off for Real, but the character returns in a cameo as a spirit in the ancestral plane.
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.
Improved Second Attempt: The portrayal of M'Baku in this film is considered a significant step up from his villainous depiction in the comics. Namely, the source material referred to him as "Man-Ape", and had him act as a brutish, savage-like Scary Black Man who dresses up as a Killer Gorilla, which invoked many uncomfortable racist caricatures comparing black people to monkeys and apes. In this film, M'Baku is not once referred to as "Man-Ape", and significantly downplays the gorilla imagery to avoid those horrible stereotypes, instead depicting the gorilla motifs as a result of him being a Religious Bruiser. Furthermore, M'Baku himself is portrayed as a grumpy Anti-Villain at worst, whose main conflict has to do with him disliking the direction the direction Wakanda is heading in the modern day, and he ultimately sides with the heroes when it becomes clear that things will turn out badly for his people if he doesn't help.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
Another debate is whether Jordan should be in this movie at all, due to his involvement in the Fant4sticdebacle. 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 the most notable example being Jordan's predecessor as the Human Torch, Chris Evans making Jordan's casting in the MCU nothing new.
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.