“Black Panther” made history with record-breaking box office numbers over the weekend. Glenn shared his perspective on the superhero flick and its cultural significance on today’s show, praising it as a “very healthy movie” thanks to its nuanced plot and worldview.
In the movie, hero and future king T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) returns to Wakanda, a mythical African kingdom that boasts unparalleled technological advancement and power. He is challenged for the kingship by a mysterious interloper who claims the same bloodline and wants the throne.
The two men approach oppression and racial issues worldwide in two very different ways, to say the least. Glenn’s read on the movie was that it illustrated the struggle between peaceful resistance and radicalized violence that Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X lived out in real life.
Bob Levey/Getty Images for IMAX
This is a rush transcript and may contain errors.
GLENN: So I went to see Black Panther over the weekend.
STU: Apparently with everyone else in America.
STU: Over $200 million it’s made already.
GLENN: Really good.
Now, I sat in the fourth row, so I have to go see it again. Because I haven’t seen a movie in the fourth row since I was about eight. And I saw it on a big, you know —
STU: Oh, wow.
GLENN: And it was — so it was a little distorted. It was like I went and I was drunk. It was like, I think somebody just killed somebody. I mean, it was —
STU: Did you go to a theater with no assigned seating? That’s not very Glenn Beck-ish.
GLENN: No, I did. It was the only ones I could find. The only seats we could find.
GLENN: So we went. And I really — it was strange. Because let me speak as a white man here, I — the one thing that — and Stu and I were just talking about this.
I don’t — I guess I don’t understand the — the idea that there are no black superheroes or something. I just never noticed it.
STU: Yeah. It’s our white privilege, Glenn.
STU: In a weird way, that’s a real example of it. I honestly — when they were like, oh, black superhero coming out. I never noticed there weren’t any. Were there none? I don’t know. Will Smith was in a movie, except he was a drunk superhero. He was black.
GLENN: No. And that was horrible.
STU: I didn’t think it was horrible. I thought it was okay.
GLENN: All right.
STU: I’m not a big superhero fan anyway. So I’m not in that world where I dissect it like a lot of people do.
GLENN: So it is the strength that came from Africa. And, you know, all of this stuff that is — is — you know, is like Thor. You know, I’m watching it and I’m like, okay. This is kind of like Thor. They’re — the mythological gods that came down. You know, okay. So I guess the super, super white people had Thor. And, you know, African-Americans have Black Panther. So I guess. But I really liked it.
I was struck — I was struck that it is probably the most healthy movie I have seen in a very, very, very long time.
GLENN: I do. I think it is — first of all, it — it’s the story — I mean, I’m — this is —
STU: Oh, no. Are we — in case you’re not someone who listens. You know, you’re someone who is just tuning in for the first time and hearing. Like, hey, I want to see Black Panther.
GLENN: No, I’m not going to say that. I’m not going to blow anything.
STU: Oh, you’ll blow something. Because you always blow something of every movie that you talk about.
GLENN: All right.
STU: So this is your warning, if you’re going to go see it this week and you’re worried about spoilers, you should be —
GLENN: I’m not going to spoil it.
STU: You say that every time. Look, this doesn’t give anything away, but obviously that guy dies in the end.
GLENN: Well, you just wrecked it.
STU: I don’t even know who the guy is.
GLENN: This is what I was going to say, I think this was a story of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King. Both thought they had really good points. One was right. One was wrong. One won, one didn’t.
But it’s the same argument of Martin Luther King and — and Malcolm X. And I thought it was really important.
If you stay after the trailers — stay after the — the titles, you know, oh, they always give you a preview of the next movie. That is — that should be played at the top of the hour of every cable news broadcast on every — I mean, on — on, you know, the whitey white network and BET should be played in its entirety, at the top of our every hour, until we get it.
I mean, it’s — it’s good. It’s a good message. And it’s not the message that we’re hearing everywhere.
STU: And because your description of it makes it seem like it’s somewhat uniting. And yet it’s being used as this divisive thing, where white people are saying, I don’t want to ruin — suck the black joy out of the room, by going to the movie as a white person. White people are —
GLENN: Oh, shut up. As a white person, you’re going to learn things about black culture, I guess, that maybe you didn’t really see. Maybe you’ve heard, but it just — it speaks a different language. And one that you can understand. And you’re like, hmm. I never really — I never thought of it that way exactly. I never noticed that.
STU: It’s interesting.
And it’s still — but it’s not a message movie, right? I’m not going to go in there —
GLENN: I think it is a message movie. But it’s a message you’ll like.
STU: But also, it’s a good movie.
GLENN: Oh, yeah, it’s a great movie. A great movie. It’s great.
STU: A good super —
GLENN: I mean, just, the visuals on it are great. I think it’s even going to change — I think it will change clothing.
I think you will see clothing styles in the African-American community change. And if not, you get that one for free. Anybody who is in the clothing industry for African-American —
STU: Huge textile industry, that listens to your show.
GLENN: Huge. I’m telling you that the costuming, I think, will change fashion.
STU: I was watching the Slam Dunk Contest, which I’m sure you did as well this weekend.
GLENN: Oh, my gosh, yeah.
STU: But one of the guys put on a Black Panther mask for one of his masks. It’s one of those things that’s really penetrating beyond movies and —
GLENN: You know, I — I — I didn’t — I don’t think I really understood it until I went and I was like, okay. Come on. There’s been black casts before. No. Not like this. Not like this. This is groundbreaking.
This is a history-making movie. And because of that, it will win every single award.