University of Lynchburg communication studies professor Dr. Michael Robinson has looked forward to the debut of Black Panther for years. The movie lived up to his expectations, both in terms of storytelling, filmmaking, and cultural significance.
In the week leading up to Black Panther’s release, Dr. Robinson did four interviews with local media, including a radio interview on WIQO, a news story on the local ABC affiliate, Living in the Heart of Virginia, and an interview in the Knowledge@Wharton podcast. (Listen below, courtesy of Knowledge@Wharton and SiriusXM.)
“It’s exciting to me because the Panther is another one of those really fantastic Marvel characters,” he said on WIQO, adding that strong characters are central to the Marvel Universe. “You can look at these comic book stories as this kind of laboratory. They have cooked up these amazing characters that (filmmakers) can come in and … bring up on the big screen.”
After watching the film over the weekend, Dr. Robinson said the film doesn’t disappoint. “It paces well, there is plenty of action for fans of the genre, and the movie looks very different from some of the other superhero films of the past,” he said. “Just about every character in this movie is a well-developed character that has some agency (even the villains).”
As the first movie in the Marvel comics franchise with an African-American director and a mostly black cast, Black Panther’s broad appeal can have a positive impact on national culture, he said. When the superhero debuted in the 1960s, he was designed to shatter negative stereotypes. “He’s a character that was really created to make a difference,” Dr. Robinson said.