Review: Marvel’s ‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’ delivers emotional journey in honor of late actor

Director Ryan Coogler escorts fans on a trip through grief


Courtesy of Marvel.

After being delayed and production halted multiple times, the anticipated sequel to “Black Panther” (2018) made its way to fans and audiences on Friday, Nov. 11. “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” follows the nation of Wakanda in mourning a year after the passing of King T’Challa/Black Panther, who was played by the late actor Chadwick Boseman. After losing their protector, the people of Wakanda must protect themselves from other nations and an ancient civilization like the Talokan, who pose a threat to their nation.

The film holds up to its predecessor and is definitely one of the best movies in the MCU, as it gives meaningful themes, messages of grief and characters overcoming their emotions of losing a dear loved one, having to grieve through the help of the people they love. Shuri (Letitia Weight) tries her best to help Wakanda with her mother, Queen Ramonda (Angela Bassett). The film might feel like a slow burn at first with a fast pacing toward the second act, but the film executes itself flawlessly as viewers get to explore what each character is feeling and going through. Okoye (Danai Gurira), Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o) and M’baku (Winston Duke) are complex characters that seem to be emotional support for the royal family, who are still in mourning after losing a friend. 

As for the new cast, they fit into the storyline brilliantly, they contribute within character development and help through the journey of the pain characters are going through. Tenoch Huerta, who plays Namor in the film, is the first Mesoamerican superhero in the MCU; the actors who play part of the Talocan feel represented and have said director Ryan Coogler has represented Latinos with this film. Talokan, the hidden powerful kingdom, has a great introduction and scary presence in the film that is captivating with a good structured background that will make viewers understand their purpose and story. Riri Williams (Dominique Thorne) has a smooth and brilliant introduction into the MCU as well. She feels like the comic relief of the story as she is one of the few characters who is not going through grief, but in this movie she has a well done set up into the MCU to still be continued. 

The film touches on political views of the world and how some of the themes in the film seem to be happening today. The characters also touch on dealing with overcoming their pain with vengeance or solitude and viewers get to see a new side to the characters they know from the first film.

Costume and production for the film were as great as they were in the first film, but the CGI could have been better as it seemed sloppy during some action scenes. The first half of the third act has its flaws with rushed scenes and action, but it pays off with a teary finale. Coogler had a huge responsibility after losing his lead actor, but he manages to respectfully honor him throughout the film and lead on the impact from the first film. Boseman’s lack of presence is truly devastating in the film, however, the film finds a way to perfectly handle the actor’s death as well as the character’s.

“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” pays off after years of waiting for the sequel; it’s guaranteed to be an enjoyable but also an emotional movie. The movie is worthy of a solid 9/10 as it’s impactful and stays true to its title. Its themes and strong messages make it a visually astonishing film.