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This Review Reveals Minor Details About the Plot.

Blood Zirconium

Black Panther (2018) on IMDb

Plot Overview

1992, Oakland, California. Prince N'Jobu (Sterling K. Brown) of the west African nation of Wakanda has joined forces with black-market arms dealer Ulysses Klaue (Andy Serkis) to finance a global revolution. King T'Chaka (John Kani) hearing of his brother's scheme confronts him, with (unintended) lethal results, leaving N'Jobu's son Erik “Kill­monger” (Michael B. Jordan) to nurse a blood feud.

Present day. King T'Chaka has expired leaving vacant his throne to “the poorest country in the world.” Prince T'Challa (Chadwick Boseman) had been conducting Black Panther raids into Nigeria, but he returns to Wakanda's capital, situated inside a giant domed terrarium, to do ritual battle for that throne (“It's Challenge Day.”)

Wearing sneakers designed by his sister Shuri (Letitia Wright) and a suit the new king travels with a team to Busan, S. Korea to retrieve a stolen artifact. He's not successful but he does make contact there with CIA operative Everett K. Ross (Martin Freeman) who clues him in that the specialty of “killmonger” is to use power gaps to hijack countries. Looks like another Challenge Day is in the works (“I want the throne.”) I hear war drums.


The movie has a fairy tale opening:
N'Jadaka: Tell me a story, baba.

N'Jobu: What story, my son?

N'Jadaka: About home.

N'Jobu: Millions of years ago, a meteorite made of vibranium, the strongest substance in the universe, struck the continent of Africa, affecting the plant life around it. And when the time of men came, five tribes settled on it and called it Wakanda. The tribes lived in constant war with each other, until a warrior shaman received a vision from the panther goddess Bast, who led him to the Heart-Shaped Herb, a plant that granted him super­human strength, speed and instincts. The warrior became king and the first Black Panther, the protector of Wakanda. Four tribes agreed to live under the king's rule, but the Jabari tribe isolated them­selves in the mountains. The Wakandans used vibranium to develop technology more advanced than any other nation, but as Wakanda thrived, the world around it descended further into chaos. To keep vibranium safe, the Wakandans vowed to hide in plain sight, keeping the truth of their power from the out­side world.

We'll compare that raconteur's tale with the Bible's story of the first men in Africa, as supplemented by the book of Jasher referred to in Joshua 10:13 & 2Sam. 1:18. (Gen. 10:1) “Now these are the generations of the sons of Noah, Shem, Ham, and Japheth: and unto them were sons born after the flood.” Noah's three sons are listed according to biblical significance; Ham (Gen. 9:24) is actually his youngest. (Gen. 10:6-7) “And the sons of Ham; Cush, and Mizraim, and Phut, and Canaan. And the sons of Cush; Seba, and Havilah, and Sabtah, and Raamah, and Sabtecha.” Cush is Hebrew meaning black. Researcher Bodie Hodge confirms that “As a general trend, Ham is the father of many peoples in Africa” (122). “Much of the southern part of Africa was known as the Lower Cush. It makes sense that Cush's many descendants migrated to many of these areas initially” (127). Dr. Ide adds, “Ham sired four sons: Cush (translates as ‘black’) … and Canaan the youngest” (62). (Gen. 10:8-9) “And Cush begat Nimrod: he began to be a mighty one in the earth. He was a mighty hunter before the LORD: wherefore it is said, Even as Nimrod the mighty hunter before the LORD.” Cush the black one had five sons and then one more, settling in Africa. In the movie there are five tribes settling in the dark continent, ruled over by a strong one.

In BP “the king of a Third World country runs around in a bullet­proof cat suit.” There is a corres­pon­ding animal power suit in the Bible story going back to Noah: (Jasher 5:14–17) “And the Lord said unto Noah, Take unto thee a wife, and beget children, for I have seen thee righteous before me in this generation. And thou shalt raise up seed, and thy children with thee, in the midst of the earth; and Noah went and took a wife, and he chose Naamah the daughter of Enoch, and she was five hundred and eighty years old. And Noah was four hundred and ninety-eight years old, when he took Naamah for a wife. And Naamah conceived and bare a son, and he called his name Japheth, saying, God has enlarged me in the earth; and she conceived again and bare a son, and he called his name Shem, saying, God has made me a remnant, to raise up seed in the midst of the earth.”

Researcher Mark DeWayne Combs posits that, “Although Jasher specific­ally references the births of Japheth and Shem, there is no such reference to the birth of Ham. … that Ham may have been much younger than his brothers and that he may have had a different mother” (389). Combs also observes, “Fathering a child, particularly a son, through a hand­maiden or servant girl would not have been an uncommon or forbidden practice in that time period” (165). Historian Kenneth M. Stampp remarks that “Apologists for slavery traced the history of servitude back to the dawn of civilization and showed that it had always existed in some form until their own day” (14).

(Jasher 5:34-35) “In his five hundred and ninety-fifth year Noah commenced to make the ark, and he made the ark in five years, as the Lord had commanded. Then Noah took the three daughters of Eliakim, son of Methuselah, for wives for his sons, as the Lord had commanded Noah.” The Noah couple was too old to have a kid, no more children after the Flood and probably a good while before it, whence the servant girl option. She bore Ham, who had (black) Cush, who had five him­self and then Nimrod.

(Jasher 7:23-33) And Cush the son of Ham, the son of Noah, took a wife in those days in his old age, and she bare a son, and they called his name Nimrod, saying, At that time the sons of men again began to rebel and trans­gress against God, and the child grew up, and his father loved him exceedingly, for he was the son of his old age. And the garments of skin which God made for Adam and his wife [Gen. 3:21], when they went out of the garden, were given to Cush. For after the death of Adam and his wife, the garments were given to Enoch, the son of Jared, and when Enoch was taken up to God, he gave them to Methuselah, his son. And at the death of Methuselah, Noah took them and brought them to the ark, and they were with him until he went out of the ark. And in their going out, Ham stole those garments from Noah his father, and he took them and hid them from his brothers. And when Ham begat his first born Cush, he gave him the garments in secret, and they were with Cush many days. And Cush also concealed them from his sons and brothers, and when Cush had begotten Nimrod, he gave him those garments through his love for him, and Nimrod grew up, and when he was twenty years old he put on those garments. And Nimrod became strong when he put on the garments, and God gave him might and strength, and he was a mighty hunter in the earth, yea, he was a mighty hunter in the field, and he hunted the animals and he built altars, and he offered upon them the animals before the Lord. And Nimrod strengthened him­self, and he rose up from amongst his brethren, and he fought the battles of his brethren against all their enemies round about. And the Lord delivered all the enemies of his brethren in his hands, and God prospered him from time to time in his battles, and he reigned upon earth. There­fore it became current in those days, when a man ushered forth those that he had trained up for battle, he would say to them, Like God did to Nimrod, who was a mighty hunter in the earth, and who succeeded in the battles that prevailed against his brethren, that he delivered them from the hands of their enemies, so may God strengthen us and deliver us this day.

The muscle suit passed down through generations plays a significant role in BP, and so does the transition of power from an expired king to his successor, through a formal ritual. The newly elected one drinks a potion that removes his Black Panther power. Then after an optional ritual combat, he is covered in dirt and meets his father in a dream world to receive counsel and encouragement. The father was sitting in a (family?) tree, in the guise of a cat (uniform?) In an artistic way it follows the Bible story: (Gen. 9:18-19) “And the sons of Noah, that went forth of the ark, were Shem, and Ham, and Japheth: and Ham is the father of Canaan. These are the three sons of Noah: and of them was the whole earth overspread.”

(Gen. 9:20-23) “And Noah began to be an husbandman, and he planted a vineyard: And he drank of the wine, and was drunken; and he was uncovered within his tent. And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the naked­ness of his father, and told his two brethren with­out. And Shem and Japheth took a garment, and laid it upon both their shoulders, and went back­ward, and covered the naked­ness of their father; and their faces were back­ward, and they saw not their father's naked­ness.” The wine took Noah's strength, possibly because he no longer had his power suit to protect him. Here one also has the covering. Also Ham the brother from another mother had an evil imagination like unto (Gen. 6:5) what was part of the wicked world that God had just destroyed.

(Gen. 9:24-27) “And Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son [i.e. Ham] had done unto him. And he said, Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren. And he said, Blessed be the LORD God of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant. God shall enlarge Japheth, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.” Canaan is the youngest son of Ham carrying the curse on the whole family by a figure of speech called a synecdoche where part stands for the whole. (Jasher 73:35) “For the Lord our God gave Ham the son of Noah, and his children and all his seed, as slaves to the children of Shem and to the children of Japheth, and unto their seed after them for slaves, forever.” The earth had been (Gen. 6:11) “filled with violence.” Now Noah knew what Ham had (Gen. 9:24) “done unto him.” Because of bringing wickedness into the cleansed world, Ham's progeny was cursed with servitude to the progeny of his two brothers. That's where Wakanda stands at the opening of the movie, the poorest of countries, its capital segregated behind some kind of glass enclosure.

In the dynamics of BP, Killmonger being a blood relative of a former king, he tries to assume the throne, with some illegitimate success bolstered by the powerful panther suit he wears. He takes after you-know-who. (Jasher 7:44–46) “And Nimrod dwelt in Shinar, and he reigned securely, and he fought with his enemies and he subdued them, and he prospered in all his battles, and his kingdom became very great. And all nations and tongues heard of his fame, and they gathered them­selves to him, and they bowed down to the earth, and they brought him offerings, and he became their lord and king, and they all dwelt with him in the city at Shinar, and Nimrod reigned in the earth over all the sons of Noah, and they were all under his power and counsel. And all the earth was of one tongue and words of union, but Nimrod did not go in the ways of the Lord, and he was more wicked than all the men that were before him, from the days of the flood until those days.”

Death of Sherlock HolmesArthur Conan Doyle had knocked off his titular character going over a water­fall with his nemesis in 1921. In this BP battle, some­one goes over the water­fall, to be sure, but since he hadn't yielded they needed a body to confirm that the contest was over. The river carried it away, or maybe some animals moved it. One has to adopt such a moving frame of reference, not a static one. It's like the fable from Deuter­mann's book: “A man from the state of Chu was crossing a river. Suddenly, his word fell into the water while he was sitting in the boat. He immediately made a mark on the side of the boat. 'This is where my sword fell off,' he announced. When the boat finally stopped moving, he went into the water to look for his sword at the place where he had marked the boat. But, of course, the boat had moved, not the sword. The moral being that that was a foolish way to look for some­thing” (160). Maybe there was a current under the boat, as well. This was the problem with the speeches of Martin Luther King Jr. (MLK); he used a static reference plane in a dynamic situation. When Thomas Jefferson penned, “All men were created equal,” he was not addressing Negro equality—as MLK said he solemnly promised—but whether shop keepers could run the government. Further­more, there's the whole Noah incident that our modern black activist didn't even consider. The Canaanites were due for destruction, but the Gibeonite branch did a deal with Joshua (Joshua 9:24-27) to have their lives spared in favor of being bond­men, which was more to their liking. A lot of wicked people were wiped out in the Flood, but Ham got a better deal. This is opposite to the sentiments of Erik Killmonger: “Just bury me in the ocean with my ancestors who jumped from ships, 'cause they knew death was better than bondage.” The movie ends on a note of gradualism favored by, say, Booker T. Washington.

Then there is an added mid-end credits scene featuring the UN where every speaker is translated so he's under­stood by all. (Gen. 11:5-9) “And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded. And the LORD said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do. Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not under­stand one another's speech. So the LORD scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city. Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the LORD did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the LORD scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth.” The unification had given them a potentially greater technology than God wanted them to have (“and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do.”) There is a post-credits scene in BP where a recuperating Sgt. Barnes seems to be able to speak only in one-word sentences.

Production Values

This Marvel picture, “” was directed by Ryan Coogler who also wrote its screen­play along with Joe Robert Cole and a couple others. It stars Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, and Lupita Nyong'o. They filled in the parts with genuine Africans. Andy Serkis played a feisty mercenary who stole the scenes. He was great. The rest of the acting was wooden. Letitia Wright was cute playing an armorer Shuri reminiscent of 'Q' in the 007 movies.

MPAA rated it PG–13 for prolonged sequences of action violence, and a brief rude gesture. The CGI in “Black Panther” was over­much utilized. The script was pedestrian. The scenery was gorgeous. Technically, it doesn't seem like any­body's best effort. There's some kind of political subtext that might have back­fired on the authors.

Review Conclusion w/ Christian Recommendation

For some reason I don't care much for comic-book–derived motion pictures. I went to this one because the crowds were so pleased. I should have known better.

Movie Ratings

Action factor: Decent action scenes. Suitability for Children: Suitable for children 13+ years with guidance. Special effects: Average special effects. Video Occasion: None of the Above. Suspense: A few suspenseful moments. Overall product rating: three stars out of five.

Works Cited

Scripture quoted from the King James Version. Pub. 1611, rev. 1769. Software.

Combs, Mark DeWayne. End the Beginning. USA: Splinter in the Mind's Eye Pub., 2014. Print.

Deutermann, P.T. Red Swan. New York: St. Martin's Press, 2017. Print.

Hodge, Bodie. Tower of Babel: The Cultural History of Our Ancestors. Green Forest, AR: New Leaf Pub., 2013. Print.

Ide, Arthur Frederick. Noah & the Ark: The Influence of Sex, Homo­phobia and Hetero­sexism in the Flood Story and its Writing. Las Colinas: Monument Press, 1992. Print.

The Book of Jasher. Translated from the Hebrew into English (1840). Photo litho­graphic reprint of exact edition published by J.H. Parry & Co., Salt Lake City: 1887. Muskogee, OK: Artisan Pub., 1988. Print, WEB.

Stampp, Kenneth M., Professor of American History at the University of California (Berkeley).
   The Peculiar Institution: Slavery in the Ante-Bellum South. Vintage Books, 1955. Print.