“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” Review


Courtesy of Marvel

Shuri, the sister of Chadwick Boseman’s character T’Challa, takes up the role of Black Panther in this sequel to the hit 2018 film.

Amelia Pickard, Herald Reporter

   It is well known that any movie from the Marvel Cinematic Universe is going to be a big hit, but not many have come close to the success “Black Panther” saw. Grossing $1.3 billion worldwide, “Black Panther” broke many box office records upon its release, including becoming the highest-grossing film directed by a Black filmmaker. It was the second highest grossing film of 2018, being beat out for first place by Marvel’s highly successful “Avengers: Infinity War.” The film was also nominated for seven awards at the 91st Academy Awards, winning Best Costume Design, Best Production Design, and Best Original Score. Not only was “Black Panther” the first superhero movie to be nominated for Best Picture, it was also the first big-budget superhero movie with a Black hero and a Black majority cast. 

   Given all of its success, it was no surprise to fans when a sequel was announced in 2019. However, shortly after the announcement, “Black Panther” star, Chadwick Boseman, sadly passed away at the age of 43 after a private battle with colon cancer. Since he died before filming on “Black Panther” began, writer and director Ryan Coogler was forced to rewrite the movie to work around this unfortunate event. The film starts out with the offscreen death of King T’Challa—Boseman’s character in the movies—and the reactions of his loved ones. This was something that really made the movie unique, as it portrayed both the grief of the characters as well as the grief of the cast as they mourned a beloved cast member.

   In a sense, “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” is really a tribute to Chadwick Boseman and all of his work. There are many moments in the film that pay homage to Boseman—most notable being the iconic Marvel intro, which typically shows scenes from all past MCU movies, being changed to solely show scenes of the Black Panther. Though the film’s focus and central theme surrounds grief, it still manages to continue the story of the Black Panther and keep the franchise in the direction in which the MCU is heading. In “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever”, we follow Shuri, sister of T’Challa, as she deals with the death of her brother and its ramifications—such as the absence of Wakanda’s protector the Black Panther. The central conflict of the movie revolves around the newly introduced nation of Talokan, an underwater kingdom of water-breathing people led by the superhuman Namor. The conflict between these two nations was originally sparked over the scarce resource of Vibranium—the material that has made many of the MCU’s most famous items, such as Captain America’s shield and the Black Panther suit—but gradually escalated into a rivalry between Shuri and Namor. In this film we see Shuri take up the mantle of Black Panther to protect her nation from this threat and any future issues, ensuring the continuation of the character of “Black Panther” and the legacy of her family. 

   With its impressive (and somewhat daunting) runtime of 2 hours and 41 minutes, “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” is an entertaining superhero movie that also manages to be a touching portrayal of grief and growth. This is a great way to spend some free time and relax so make sure to catch it while it is still in theaters!