Black Panther film became an instant hit worldwide with its release in 2018. It is one of the most culturally impactful movies from the franchise. It features a Black director and a predominantly Black cast. Along with the main protagonist, played By Chadwick Boseman, the role of the antagonist, the villainous Killmonger, became quite popular. Michael B Jordan played the role of Killmonger in the movie Black Panther.
Michael Jordan in the Movie Black Panther
Eric was an intelligent and fierce warrior. However, he was full of anger and vengeance toward Wakanda. Michael B Jordan played the character of Eric Killmonger with much honesty. Jordan’s role was so convincing that the audience could feel the anger of Killmonger every time he appeared on the screen. Therefore his portrayal of the vengeful antagonist received praise worldwide.
The journey of Eric Stevens to Killmonger
Erik Stevens was a former US Navy SEAL. His origin was Wakanda through his father, the Prince N’Jobu. Since Eric was a little kid, the purpose of his life was revenge for the murder of his father, N’Jobu. Prince N’Jobu betrayed the isolationist policies of Wakanda. Furthermore, he exposed the secret of Wakanda to the criminal arms dealer Ulysses Klaue. He wanted Ulysses to steal a stockpile of vibranium from Wakanda. With the vibranium weapons, he intended to stage a revolution and bring an end to the oppression of African people. King T’Chaka killed his brother N’Jobu when he tried to attack a loyal Wakanda Zuri.
Eric earned the title of Killmonger while serving in the U.S military black-ops unit for the sheer number of kills during his service. However, his actual target was always Wakanda.
For a short while, Erik Killmonger worked with his father’s old acquaintance, the mercenary Ulysses Klaue. However, he mercilessly killed Klaue in a plan to access Wakanda. Killmonger wanted the throne for himself and to wear the mantle of Black Panther. After he arrived in Wakanda, his ultimate goal was to get the throne. For that, he had to eliminateT’Challa, the present king of Wakanda, after the death of T’Chaka.
Blinded with revenge, Eric Killmonger tried to eliminate everyone who was a threat to him. He challenged T’Challa for the throne. During the duel, stripped of his Black Panther’s strength, T’Challa became severely injured in front of the revenge-driven Killmonger. During the fight, as revenge, he also killed Zuri. Finally, he claimed the mantle and throne by throwing the injured T’Challa off the top of a waterfall.
The Usurper King Of Wakanda
After becoming the king, he was unstoppable. As per Wakandan tradition, Killmonger was given the fluid of a heart-shaped herb. The herb had magical powers to awaken and enhance strength, agility, and speed. However, out of fear of losing the throne, he ordered the burning of the herb garden. His paranoia caused him to burn the centuries-old traditional herb garden of Wakanda. He also got a suit, the Panther Habit, made of vibranium and nanotech.
He further proposed plans following his father’s ideals of spreading vibranium weapons across the people of African descent. His revolution involved killing those in power, including their children. Hence, raising the oppressed African Americans through the technology of Wakanda. In short, Killmonger wanted the world to know the true Wakanda enriched in resources and technology advancements.
Return of T’Challa-Black Panther
Meanwhile, T’Challa, who was presumed dead, recovered with the help of his mother and sister. He returned to get his right from the usurper. Erik Killmonger sends his army to murder T’Challa. During the battle, two Black Panthers faced off against each other. Both in their vibranium suits, fighting for what they believed was the right thing to do. At the end of the fight in the battleground, they fall into the Great Mound. There T’Challa disrupted Eric’s suit and stabbed him with his weapon.
However, T’Challa offered to treat and recover Eric, which he refused. He preferred to die peacefully while admiring the Wakandan sunset his father told him about.
Killmonger Not a Villain?
The character played by Michael B Jordan in Black Panther is undeniably one of the most beloved antagonists in MCU. However, Jordan thinks his character Killmonger is misunderstood as a villain. Because he just had a different way of going about things and getting them done. Beneath the camouflage of vengeance rested his real intentions. His motivation was to uplift the Black community through the domination of Wakanda. Moreover, providing resources to the oppressed Africans to rise from poverty and social injustice.
However, most of the audience does not agree with Michael Jordan’s viewpoint. Since it is not the intention but the actions that make one a villain. A character can still be a villain if their intentions are pure. Every villain in history has some backstory and a motivation to change the world. However, the aggressive approach makes them different from the main protagonist.
Killmonger was one of the better-written villains in the Marvel world. His anger is understandable, considering the injustice done by the royal family toward his father. However, he was ready to kill anybody who disagreed with him. Moreover, he enjoyed the suffering of people for his benefit. And the end goal of genocide, killing people and their children, just crossed the line. These are classic signs of a villain.
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