Black Panther: Wakanda Forever was my most highly anticipated film of the year. With the tragicloss of lead star, Chadwick Boseman, in 2020, there were questions raised by fans and critics alike as to whether the franchise would continue without the actor, and if it did, how would it accomplish this? But continue it did – and as I’m sure many Marvel fans such as myself will say, it was worth thewait, and a fitting tribute to the late Black Panther actor.
In the wake of a tragic loss, Queen Ramonda (Angela Bassett) and Shuri (Letitia Wright) seek toprotect their home from outside powers hoping to exploit them. With the help of old and new faces,they must fight an unknown enemy to save those that the love in this memorable sequel.
Wakanda Forever is not like other Marvel films and even comparing it to any of them would do it adisservice. As always, the soundtrack was great and I’ll definitely be adding it to my music library. Personally, I love fight scenes in fictional media, and Black Panther delivered with all of them,showcasing the badass skills of the Dora Milaje, especially Okoye (Danai Gurira) during an epic fightscene on a bridge.
Despite having all the fantastic cinematography expected from Marvel, an amazing cast andinteresting new characters, this film stands apart from other Marvel movies for one of its keythemes: grief. There is not a single point in this film where grief is not at the forefront, and it is thisthat makes the film so special. Each character experiences the grief of losing T’Challa (and I wouldargue Boseman as well) in different ways, but all so potently and heart-wrenchingly. Grief is even explored through new characters such as Riri Williams (Dominique Thorne) and Namor (TenochHuerta)—who each have someone they’ve lost.
On a personal sidenote, Wakanda Forever—despite being my most anticipated film of the year—was a film I was very nervous to watch, and one that will always mean something significant for me. Recently, I also lost someone very close to me, and so watching a film exploring grief was alwaysgoing to be tough, but Marvel depicted all the emotions connected with grief almost perfectly (if notslightly exaggerated for cinematic effect). Watching it was an experience I’ll never forget.
M’Baku (Winston Duke) is a character I have loved since the first movie and in this new one he doesnot disappoint, delivering some memorable one-liners and is ultimately an interesting character thatI desperately want to know more about. Hopefully in the next instalment of the Black Panther franchise, Marvel explores his character more, especially after his last scene in the film.
Along with the original cast, Wakanda Forever introduces (or re-introduces) us to some charactersthat Marvel is certain to include in future endeavours. Riri Williams is a new character who manycomic fans will know as Iron Heart, and we get a glimpse into the potential this character could bringinto the MCU. Martin Freeman’s character is brought back, as is Julia Louis-Dreyfus’s Val, a characterfirst introduced in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. We see more of the mysterious Val and howshe fits into the MCU in her CIA Director role and we are left with a sense of anticipation for Thunderbolts, a movie she’ll appear in later alongside some familiar faces.
One of my favourite scenes in the movie was Shuri’s visit to Talokan, home of Namor. Thesoundtrack behind this whole scene was great, and the visual effect of seeing this beautifulunderwater world and the people who call it home was achingly sweet in contrast to the rest of themovie.The mid-credit scene was a very touching epilogue to the movie. I hope all viewers, Marvel fans ornot, stay to watch it, and maybe bring a tissue or two.Wakanda Forever is a must-see movie for everyone. It has action. It has some comedic elements. Itcentres strong female black actresses and characters. And it conveys sadness, anger, compassionand acceptance in all their complexities to make a fantastic film.
Ella Duff [she/her]
[Image credit: Marvel.com]