‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’ Review: A Roller Coaster of Emotion
If you haven’t already prepared yourself for the roller coaster of emotions to come while watching Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, brace yourself. The film has themes that everyone can relate to. Motherhood, grief, and intelligence versus wisdom are some of the themes in this 2-hour-40-minute film.
Following the death of Chadwick Boseman in 2020, Ryan Coogler’s sequel was rewritten to reflect the death of the actor and his character. Marvel originally announced the sequel in 2019 and Coogler even offered to show the script to Boseman while he was still alive. However, due to his tragic passing, Marvel Studios had to rewrite the film as they moved forward with production.
Boseman was perfect and iconic as T’Challa; he brought that character to life. Obviously, his presence was missed in the second installment, but he was definitely not forgotten. Major kudos to Coogler and the team behind the sequel for Wakanda Forever. It is a great film that progresses the storyline of the Wakandans. It also sets up two new characters, Namor (played by Tenoch Huerta; more on him later) and Ironheart (played by Dominique Thorne; that character has a Disney+ series coming next fall). And, of course, there’s a new Black Panther (I’m not telling who it is, but the trailer revealed that someone would be in the costume).
For those who don’t follow the Marvel comics or know all of the events that happened prior to Black Panther, fear not. Like the first film, Wakanda Forever stands on its own; you’re pretty quickly filled in on anything you need to know. (But, if you’re interested, here is our guide to what to watch before seeing Wakanda Forever.
Without spoiling anything, there are some notable moments that we can reveal before you head to the theater.
Boseman’s Wakandan family mourned his death in an emotional farewell, affecting his sister Shuri (Letitia Wright) the most. Meanwhile, Angela Bassett’s Queen Ramonda has no other choice but to lead the nation. Shuri immerses herself in her scientific work with Vibranium technology so that she does not have to face reality.
Since the introduction of Vibranium to the world, there has always been a threat of people using the metal for evil purposes. We’ve seen that in prior Marvel films (like 2015’s Avengers: Age Of Ultron). That continues on in Wakanda Forever. But since there’s no way in hell Wakanda would willingly give Vibranium to just anyone, the US government took matters into their own hands to try and find Vibranium on their own.
While embarking on a deep sea dive, Vibranium is found at the bottom of the ocean. However, they also found Namor and his people, leading to an inevitable conflict. Namor is similar to DC’s Aquaman, as they both reside underwater. But there are important differences as well: Namor has no ties to the surface world like Aquaman does. And, he can fly thanks to wings on his ankles. Namor’s name translates to “the child without love” (“el niño sin amor”) and he rules over the Talokan people (not Atlantis, like in the comics). He is also known as the Feathered Serpent God (aka Ku’ku’lkán), which is an actual Mesoamerican deity. Watching underwater scenes in Dolby made the details in the landscape and sea creatures come to life.
Like the Wakandans, the Talokans have spent most of their existence isolated from the rest of the world. As in the first Black Panther, the new film looks at the consequences of that. Will the two societies join together, or will they be enemies? Black Panther was a Marvel film that looked at bigger issues, including isolationism, colonialism, and the relationships between fathers and sons. Similarly, Wakanda Forever exists firmly in the MCU, while also taking on the big issues, and doing it successfully.