Black Panther: Wakanda Forever Review

by Lisandra Mejia

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, opens up with a solemn prayer that is heard before an image appears of Shuri (Letitia Wright), sister of T’Challa, also known as Black Panther. Shuri is seen scurrying through her lab, trying desperately to find a solution to an unsolvable problem;  saving her brother’s life. Despite all her efforts, her attempts end when her mother (Angela Bassett) enters the lab and declares that her brother is at peace with the ancestors. 

Chadwick Boseman, the actor who played T’Challa, died in August of 2020. Marvel made the decision to not recast the protagonist, and had the first 10 minutes of the film paying homage to him. The Black Panther is given an all white funeral and a homegoing march through Wakanda. The viewer feels the absence of not only a hero but of Boseman himself- who battled cancer throughout his role in Black Panther. 

The decision to not recast the protagonist was essential to the plot as Wakanda is a civilization that is trying to handle business but also grief through such a great loss. Throughout the movie, we see Shuri, struggling to overcome her grief while also being introduced to new responsibilities. One of those being dealing with the new underground civilization called Talokan; a tribe of mysterious fishlike creatures who had eccentric powers and fierce fighting abilities.

Eventually we’re introduced to the leader, Namor (Tenoch Huerta Mejía) who approaches Shuri and Ramona, with a deal to join forces against outside invaders who desired vibranium as Wakanda and Talokan were the only ones with that pot of gold available to them. The Wakandan leaders reject this allegiance and are met with a Talokan-led massacre that results in the death of Queen Ramona. Consequently ,Shuri becomes the Black Panther, as a means to avenge her mother and people, but when met with the decision to kill Namor she spares him, and decides to be better and be allies with the Talokan people.

Although a good film, Wakanda Forever comes short to its prequel and becomes an eulogy struggling to grasp the same content quality as the first Black Panther. The movie is 2 ½ hours long of over busy storytelling and coping with sadness and loss. The introduction of the new kingdom was an arbitrary choice, and it’s very telling that this is a filler movie, preparing us for the 3rd movie in the series. The loss of Boseman truly impacted the movie, as he was the protagonist and that kind of talent could not be found again, but the female roles played by Lupital Nyong’o, Letitia Wright, Michaela Coel, and Dominique Thorne, were stellar and truly helped bring the movie together. 

At the end of the film we see Nakia (T’ Challas’ love interest) reveal to Shuri her and T’challa’s six year secret, their son. A tear jerking moment for the viewers and yet another tribute to the late actor, but it leaves the viewers questioning, “What’s next?” Whether that was done accidentally or purposely is something that I haven’t yet been able to decide.

Rating: 3.5/5 

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