1. Power dynamics. (Social/Political Philosophy)One interesting presentational point is the re-direction of power in various ways. First, this is displayed in the very set-up of Wakanda. It is the most advanced country in the world by quite a bit. This shifts a popular conception of sub-Saharan Africa as being 3rd World and not technologically advanced. This means that the so-called G-20 Nations which aspire to that (and the associated hauteur) are fundamentally wrong in this assessment. Second, is the role of women. Women in this movie have power--both in the physical sense (the best warrior in the country is a woman and she is also the top general) and in the intellectual sense (the best scientist in the world is living in Wakanda is a woman). Third, is the way that the cast of tribal leaders represent the various ways that humans act in the world: kind, generous, mean, treacherous, etc. All of humanity is represented via the black African people of Wakanda. This shift in power dynamics can make the audience look at the outside world with fresh eyes.
2. How we handle positive accidents. (Philosophy of History)Let’s look at two positive accidents and see how history and our fairy tale history contrast. In the first instance take gun powder. Gun powder was first discovered in China. They decided to use it for artistic productions connected to New Year and other celebrations. Gun powder was later independently discovered in Europe. What the Europeans did with it was to construct weapons of death and then went around the world using their superior technology to kill, steal, and enslave others. This was certainly a bad use of an accident that has made a blot on human history. In contrast to this, the accident that brought the asteroid with vibranium to the region of Wakanda had a different effect. Vibrarium was hidden inside the country for a long time and helped the people develop a civilization that was largely cooperative. (There is a moment in the movie when the usurper, Erik Killmonger, is about to take over the throne and assert global military domination—perhaps because he was raised in the United States—but he is thwarted.)
3. Positive ethical duties. (Ethics)The people of Wakanda had traditionally lived secretly. Like the country in Nepal in The Lost Horizon, there is posited to be a society living at a much higher technological, medical, and organizational level. Should such a society just live for themselves at the top of the humankind’s achievements? Is there a positive ethical duty to go outside and assist others? Well, the new king T’Challa thinks there is. At the end of the movie he starts on such a project in Los Angeles in the very building where Erik Killmonger’s father was killed. This is a dangerous because once other people find out about Wakanda’s wealth and expertise, then they will come after them to try and steal it for themselves. There is often danger in acting altruistically for the sake of helping others who are in distress (no matter the cause). This risky moral play will be the subject of sequel movies. Acting morally on behalf of others, always comes with a risk— just act Gandhi or Dr. King.