Black Panther is a mass murderer!
Bear with me, minor spoilers for the film ahead, but hear me out. I’m a lawyer. I believe in the rule of law: no person or government is above the law. In simple terms, it doesn’t matter who you are, we all have to follow the same laws.
Pretty much everyone (dictators, Donald Trump and psychopaths excepted) agree that this is a GOOD THING.
Now let’s look at the evidence against Black Panther.
- He’s the King of a civilised country
- He believes in the rule of law
- There is a law that someone of royal blood can challenge him for the throne
- We see at the start of the film that he follows the rules. He accepts the challenge, he strips himself of his super-strength and armour and fights them as equals.
- We see this again near the end of the film, except, minor spoiler alert, he loses!
- He then, skipping over some of the details, cheats by taking his powers back, wears his armour again and returns to KICK ASS!
- But that’s not all he does. He also gathers up an army and kills everyone who stands in his way, ordinary citizens of Wakanda who are just following the rule of law by accepting the legitimate winner of the challenge as their King.
- He’s a MASS MURDERER!
- Lock up T’Challa!
- Kilmonger is innocent!
But he did make the mistake of calling himself ‘Kilmonger’. It’s the curse of nominative determinism. That your name, defines who you are. Call yourself Kilmonger and people think you must be a bad guy. Yet, he only got that name because he worked as a soldier for the US Government. So, he was following the rule of law too. He was a soldier in service to his country. He shouldn’t be called Kilmonger, he should be called Lawmonger, given all the laws he mongers!
Anyways, watching Black Panther got me thinking about performance enhancing drugs because the one big thing that bothered me about the film (among all the other things) was that it accepts Black Panther is a drug cheat. He takes a potion made from a glowing blue power to get super-strength. Kilmonger, it must be said, doesn’t. There’s only one cheat in this film and that’s the supposed good guy.
But is it ever okay to take performance enhancing drugs? Because, while I was watching it, I was thinking that earlier that day I’d taken a couple of paracetamol before going out for a run. I had a sore neck and headache developing and thought the paracetamol would see it off.
Am I as bad a Black Panther? Should I be called Drugmonger?
And that made me look at the film in a whole new light. Maybe, just like cyclists in the early 00s, Black Panther is only taking super-strength cocktails just to keep up with all the other superheroes taking drugs. They’re all at it. Super-serums for Hulk and Captain America. It’s a dirty system and Black Panther could be just as much of a victim as every other systemic drug cheat.
Who’s the real victims here then? The countless people who died at Black Panther’s hand or Black Panther himself?
It makes you think, doesn’t it? Maybe Lance Armstrong was actually the good guy? Maybe, by taking all the drugs, he was fighting to restore his rightful place as the head of the peloton from Eric Tourmonger, the rider who monged (is that the right word?) all the tours.
Whisper, maybe Lance Armstrong is innocent?
It did make me think about my own drug taking and whether a couple of painkillers was acceptable or whether, just like Lance and Black Panther, I might, just might, be edging to the dark side.
Just in case, to avoid slaughtering hundreds of my own people, in future I’ll just tough it out. Just call me ManUpMonger! For all the manning up I’ll be mongering!