Promotional image courtesy of Marvel Studios.

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever the Real Hero’s Legacy Lives On

March 8, 2023

It’s been a long time since a movie has generated this kind of hype and fervor. Despite all the setbacks and the incredibly shocking and sad passing of its star, Chadwick Boseman, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever finally arrived in theaters on November 11, 2022. It brought people back to the world of Wakanda and its characters, who have become so loved by Marvel fans almost like they are family. The film was directed by Ryan Coogler (Black Panther, Creed) and written by Coogler and Joe Robert Cole (Black Panther). 

What Ryan Coogler and his team have achieved in this film is nothing short of outstanding.

Wakanda Forever’s lead cast brings back many familiar faces from the first film, such as Letitia Wright (Urban Hymn) as Shuri, Danai Gurira (The Walking Dead) as Okoye, and Angela Bassett (Malcolm X) as Queen Ramonda. Also returning are the fan favorite M’Baku, played by Winston Duke (Us), and Lupita Nyong’o (Us) as Nakia. Instead of just indulging in the past, the film strives to expand the ever-growing mythos of the Marvel Universe through several new characters like Namor, played by Tenoch Huerta Mejía (Narcos: Mexico), and Dominique Thorne as Riri Williams (If Beale Street Could Talk).

Faced with the seemingly impossible challenge of filming a sequel to Black Panther (arguably one of the greatest MCU movies of all time, and the only MCU film to win an Oscar and be nominated for Best Picture), without Chadwick Boseman, King T’Challa/Black Panther, what Ryan Coogler and his team have achieved in this film is nothing short of outstanding. Boseman, who passed away after a long and quiet battle with cancer in August 2020, was originally intended to headline the movie. This tragedy forced Coogler to make a movie not only without its main superhero, but a movie without his good friend who gave so much to the world through his time as the Black Panther. It is clear throughout Black Panther: Wakanda Forever that every single person on screen wants nothing more than to give it their all in performances that would’ve made Boseman proud, so that they can live up to his legacy and celebrate his life. It cannot be understated just how incredible of an accomplishment this film is.

One of the real spectacles of this movie is the performances of Wright and Bassett.

The story follows Shuri after her brother T’Challa’s death from an unknown illness. While grappling with her brother’s death, she must embark on a journey to defeat a new enemy named Namor. Namor is the king of the underwater kingdom of Talokan, where he and his water-breathing peoples live separated from the outside world. He can breathe in and out of the water, has super strength, and can fly due to the wings that grow on his ankles. After the events of the first film, where T’Challa revealed Wakanda’s true capabilities with the metal vibranium, the governments of the world have been trying to get their hands on vibranium by any means necessary. In doing so, they encroach on Talokan, leading to Namor trying to convince Shuri and her mother, Queen Ramonda, to join him in opposition to the rest of the world. While dealing with this, the Wakandans also find themselves in a desperate search for a new Black Panther, someone who can once again become the great protector of their nation.

One of the real spectacles of this movie is the performances of Wright and Bassett. As Shuri, Wright perfectly conveys the deep trauma and pain of losing a loved one and having to rise up to their legacy. Shuri’s growth as she slowly comes to terms with her brother’s death is phenomenally acted as the character goes through multiple emotional phases throughout the film. 

Shuri & T’Challa’s mother, Queen Ramonda (Bassett), takes on the mantle of ruler of Wakanda in the wake of her son’s passing. Queen Ramonda is forced to cut her mourning short and put on a stern and serious demeanor for the sake of the people of Wakanda. Bassett’s performance is absolutely stunning as she layers the feelings of her character on top of each other. On the surface, Queen Ramonda is fierce and antagonistic with the rest of the world because of how they try to undermine and steal from the Wakandans, yet below that, it is clear in the subtle details of her eyes, her face, and her body that this is a wall she is just barely maintaining to hide how desperately she misses her son.

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is an amazing sequel that does justice to its predecessor and honors it in every way. It is a viewing experience that will change and move you in unexpected ways that are so touching they will remain with you for a long time. It is a must-see film, just don’t forget to stick around for the post-credit scene. 

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is currently streaming on Disney+.

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