First African-American Superhero Makes His Cinematic Debut In ‘Captain America: Civil War’

First African-American Superhero Makes His Cinematic Debut In ‘Captain America: Civil War’

Overview

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Those five letters appeared in big, bold and 3D letters in movie theaters across the world as more than $180 million worth of people in North America and over $675 million globally flocked to see Captain America: Civil War over the weekend. After a brief flashback sequence, the movie’s present-day action opens in Nigeria, where we catch up with Captain America (Chris Evans) and his team of Avengers mid-covert mission as they run and fight bad guys in the sea of a busy Lagos market.

The latest in the Marvel franchise, which some are hailing as the best yet, Captain America also marks the official cinematic debut of the first African superhero in the Marvel universe: Black Panther, aka T’Challa, king and protector of the fictional African nation known as Wakanda. In the movie he’s portrayed by Chadwick Boseman, who’s signed on to star in at least five Marvel films, including the first standalone Black Panther movie in 2018.

A portion of the opening Lagos scene

Indeed, Captain America has cinema-goers and comic book fans across Africa and the Diaspora talking.

Okayafrica’s own CEO, Abiola Oke, who watched the movie in Johannesburg over the weekend, mentions that he was giddy like a kid at a candy store as he watched Captain America, Iron Man and Black Panther face off. “They didn’t make Africans look sub-par. They didn’t belittle us. Black Panther was a strong character with no sort of caricatures or African exaggerations.”

“Even just the significance of seeing Lagos as a location choice on screen.”

For the Nigerian comic book startup Comic Republic, seeing their hometown portrayed in the opening scene was a pleasant surprise. “We all gasped in excitement as the words LAGOS crept up on the big screen,” Comic Republic CEO Jide Martin and Marketing/Communications head Eduvie Oyaide tell Okayafrica. “It was a beautiful feeling.”

#CaptainAmericaInNigeria trended for hours as Nigerians on Twitter shared memes about what it would be like to have superheroes roam the streets of Lagos. Some joked about the city’s fuel shortage and power failures. Many agreed that Captain America would stand no chance against corruption in Nigeria.