The American superhero film ‘Black Panther’ was produced in 2018 by Marvel Studios and first premiered in January 2018. Directed by Joe Robert Cole, the film raises the issues of holding the state sovereignty, dealing with the conflicts and their global effects. Since the launch of the film throughout the movie theaters around the US, it received a lot of praise for the screenplay, direction, actions and costume design. However, the film also received some criticism for the cultural significance. From the international relations standpoint, the film contained a lot of valuable interpretations of the reality of the certain states and aimed to demonstrate the issues commonly experienced in the certain localities around the globe.

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Even though the ‘Black Panther’ is referred to like the superhero movie, essentially it contains a lot of realistic information that could apply to the international relations. To a large extend, the movie is mainly a metaphor. As the director Ryan Coogler refers to the imaginary African country Wakanda, one may note some common features of lifestyle with the real East African countries. For instance, in the imaginary country Wakanda, a highly advanced technology prevails, while the issues of racism and ethical response to oppression also exist. These metaphors unpack slowly with the flow of the film, as Wakanda discloses the reality of lifestyle in one of the East African countries. Jelani Cobb from ‘The New Yorker’ called the release of the movie the ‘invention of Africa’ (Cobb, 2018). From the international relations point of view, Wakanda is a unique country that has never undergone the exploitation in the form of colonization by the Western powers. Thereby, Marvel Comics’ raise a critical question – what would happen to the African countries if they had not undergone the economic exploitation by the colonization.

In fact, Wakanda is portrayed as a technologically advanced country with the monarchic rule. In addition to the more universal questions that may be of the value for the international relations scholars – the movie discloses a range of issues that may be experienced in the African countries. For instance, T’Challa, who holds a role of the leader of unvanquished people, is susceptible to isolationism. Form the international relations perspective, that movie elements raises a question of how one could respond to the separatist and isolationist movements within their countries. Moreover, in the movie the role of, isolationism is linked to the safety of the state. Therefore, in reality, one could question for is the price for the state that experiences the isolationism and the impact from the powers that desire to remain isolated. What is the best way to adjust to those extremely important issues of the international relations.

Besides posing some existential questions related to the international relations, the documentary also brings the audience to the Black Power era of the nineteen-sixties. According to Jelani Cobb, ‘He is a refutation of the image of the lazy and false African, promulgated in the white world and subscribed to even by many in the black one.’ (Cobb, 2018) Bringing the audience to the realistic timeframe makes the film even more relevant to the international relations context. The director and the producer manage to yield into the dichotomy of the prevalence of the Western-oriented impacts in some of the African countries. Cobb also states that there is no such country as Wakanda on the world’s map, pointing out that such country can only exist outside of the map. In fact, this is partial because of the devastation of the African countries by the European powers. It is hard to find a single African country that would be more competitive and technologically advanced than the Western powers. The constant desire to interfere into the internal relations of the states in Africa led to the limited opportunities for local economic growth in those countries. Thereby, the movie demonstrates the extent of the issue of the historical overwhelming presence of the Western powers in the African region.

At the same time, while referring to the international relations perspective, one shall be aware that the film is not a traditional portrayal of the superhero genre. It does not intend to demonstrate the domination and the alien invasion, but it demonstrates the omnipresent Western domination around the world that became unquestionable. From the perspective of the international relations, the Western influence has been prevalent in many theories that review these issues.

Another relevant aspect of the international relations is the appeal to the international organizations with requests to acknowledge a certain nation. One can note a part of the plot when T’Challa appeals to the United Nations. In the movie, the role of the United Nations is given as a regulatory body that can resolve the remaining issues which nations cannot handle on their own. From the perspective of the international relations, it is critically important to maintain the working relations and the acknowledgment of the statehood from the international organizations. In other words, the presence of the international relations in the movie reaffirms the role and the necessity of the international organizations as such.

Overall, the movie is directly linked to the role of international relations. Not only it shows the importance of understanding the internal affairs in the real and imaginable countries, but it also demonstrates how one could influence the flow of the developments in the country.