With Killmonger we are introduce to – by far – the most compelling and complex antagonist in the entire MCU. is first introduced to us in , where we are introduced to a bad man with ambitions so relatable that the audience is driven to questioning Killmonger’s parameters of morality and as a result persuades the audience to reflect on our own definition of rectitude.
At its most fundamental incarnation; Killmonger is seeking retribution for the injustices leveled against his people/brethren; “the idea of liberation from oppression” and the coming together of a people – is a universal sentiment, that connects at a very visceral level. this motivation/ambition forms the central THEME of the movie
What does heritage mean in the modern world; and how it forms the scaffolding for the duality of OTHER. the Wakandans want to maintain their isolationist politics – and Killmonger wants to conquer the oppressors. this juxta position of isolationism vs colonialism – is one of several dichotomies introduced by Killmonger; which characterize the thematic structure of black panther. through Killmonger’s virtues we are force to interrogate these two binary ideals; the first being the value of progress or modernizing against its implications on culture. his capacity to perceive, comprehend and express the evils from both systems – ostracizes him from his entire universe – which in turn gives the audience a platform to detach from our respective worlds and perceive them from an honest distance.
it is in understanding and empathizing with Killmonger’s ends – that we are seduced by his mean; and the dexterity which he navigate between virtue and vice is nothing shy of romantic. this romance encourages us to shed the bad taste of wanting to agree with many. “Good” is no longer good when one’s neighbor mouths it. this isolation that Killmonger inspires – permits us to break the scaffolding that braces our shared/collective insanity – in turn magnifies the worth of our actions and inherent consequences. the emotional intricacies revealed to us about Killmonger helps us all further understand the human condition. killmonger is never present as a one dimensional anarchist – but rather a guard of western proficiency driven by eastern sensibilities.
Killmongers foundations are found through the interplay of empathy and reality; empathy captured by the audiences’ self-projection on the character and reality through the honest depiction of the unpredictability of life
At the core of the black panther story is a sense of realism – amidst the fantastic marvels of wonder is the human side that is always prioritized and hat can be understood irrespective of culture. A villain that is fully fleshed out with clear goals – with familiar idiosyncrasies. Making us experience the character at his most primal – to give us insight into the traumas that inform his ambitions “they will say you are lost”
Killmongers ambition should be judged from the perspective of our own lives; because his goal is for us to understand ourselves better through his character traits; the truthfulness of his ambition is how this is achieved – character imperfections are necessary for realism. The audience can’t identify with some one that’s been written to be perfect. We need some commonalities and character short comings are a requisite for this
Nostalgia is prevalent throughout killmongers entire character arch making him a surrogate to our connection to our indistinct experiences that form the person that we have gown into helping us rekindle and redefine this experience causing it to exponentially increase in value to us
Attention to the subtleties of people display a complexity that permeates through out. Unlike traditional villains killmonger doesn’t present morality as a simple binary but rather a complex amalgamation of a cluster of emotions within the spectrum that manifests itself as the hegelian dialectic. for killmonger to be a villain with such compelling ambitions his story does not pander to the audience, but rather educates us that the story is never about the protagonist wining, but rather more about the individual adapting and growing in a world that isn’t built around their needs. in killmongers story we are confronted with harsh realities; however they are addressed so that better iterations of this reality maybe discovered.
The Psychology of Killmonger
Killmonger is a flawed man and his flaws endure throughout the narrative, but his experiences have helped blossom his outlook. He is presented to be vain rash and egotistical. Killmonger’s pride is justified to some sence as he has royal blood coursing through his vains and we would assume that his father made that fact a corner stone of his development. But him witnessing how people that look like him are being victimised by America is where he develops a disconnect with his humanity. And this detachment from a traditional human experience presents itself as apathy – which a dishonest presentation of his experience; and that is the genesis of his trauma to be exposed to a cruelty that is beyond ones comprehension – that resolves (unwittingly) to outwardly hide it and focus mastering the only world he knows. By empowering himself with the very instruments that inform his trauma, for years he focuses on conquering and slaughter – feed his appetite for power. He develops his pride into a sense of superiority over the people he has bested which further resonates with the greatness of his soul. And this need all stems from his inability to save his own race. This supposed failure of his is perceived as his weakness; so conquering and killing all these people is his protest against that weakness which evolves into a narcissistic personality disorder
but the solidarity and connection hes made with his world is an example of a spiritual liberation
exposure to fiction is therapeutic; to engage with this fictional experience evokes a kind of unselfing through losing track of our own bounderies for a while – putting ourselves aside. As rich doyl says; in order to see beyond the present you need to dim the broadcast of the ego. To entertain these ontologies re-contextualizes the self into a much larger whole – from neuron to nebula. through these fictions were are able to pierce through our own assumptions and habituations to encounter something greater than ourselves. We gain insights and clarity of purpose that form a superior self with a re-conditioned interpretive frame work that spans the gap between who we were in the present and who we aspire to be
The protocol is that we should make these unselfing, ego dissolving rituals necessary interventions against the surrender for the purpose of existential redemption from our own limiting beliefs. The result therefore is a capacity for self-determination and recursive self-improvement that leads to a divinization of self
N’Jadaka also known as Erik Stevens, was a former United States Navy SEAL of Wakandan origin through his father, the Prince N’Jobu. N’Jadaka’s savagery while serving with a U.S. military black-ops unit, earned him the nickname Killmonger