“The people of Wakanda fight to protect their home from intervening world powers as they mourn the death of King T’Challa.” -IMDB
Given the success of the first film and the passing of lead actor, Chadwick Boseman, the creators of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever had many challenges to overcome in building this sequel. The film succeeded not only in overcoming them but in creating a fresh and exciting movie, while remaining respectful and reverential to Boseman’s legacy.
For how fantastical any marvel movie can be, the power of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is that it is grounded in a sort of realism. You can tell that the filmmakers were mourning the loss of Boseman and the utilized that (without ever taking advantage of it) within the storyline, as a tool for King T’Challa’s sister, Shuri, to find her inner strength, lead her nation, and become the new Black Panther.
An exciting, complex new antagonist is also introduced to the plot, Namor, who leads an ancient Meso-American people with access to the heart-shaped herb, vibranium, and advanced technology which has allowed them to live underwater after the arrival of the Spanish. Namor is angry that the Wakandans have been sharing their technology with the outside world, a world which he wishes to either leave only or annihilate completely. This leaves Shuri in a position to decide whether to defy this technology-advanced nation or the global community, her first true test as a leader. Again, although it is a fantastical storyline, the filmmakers do a great job of weaving in real historical and geopolitical narratives in order to lend some credence to the plot.
I’ve heard some say that the pace of the movie is slow (and to be fair, it is 2.5 hours which makes it a touch rewatch), but I was engaged throughout and felt that the film needed to take time throughout the movie to address the enormous hole left by Boseman. I also felt satisfied with where the story was left, while also looking forward to where the storyline could potentially go in future sequels. And ultimately, isn’t that the sign of a good Marvel film? I think so!
Rating: 7 out 10 Claire Bears
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Streaming: In Theaters only
With: Letitia Wright, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira
Directed By: Ryan Coogler