Black Panther: Wakanda Forever: For Chadwick

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“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” was released in theaters on Nov. 11., 2022. The film is the long-awaited sequel to the popular hit Marvel film “Black Panther” which in part serves as a tribute to actor late actor Chadwick Boseman.

Benedicto Campo, Media Critic

“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” is the final film in Phase 4 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It is the long-awaited sequel to the popular hit Marvel film “Black Panther”. This film serves as an emotional tribute to actor Chadwick Boseman, who played King T’Challa / Black Panther in the first film and passed away in 2020 after battling cancer.

The role of Black Panther made Boseman an icon because he inspired the world and proved anyone can be a superhero no matter their race. This film carries on his legacy by continuing to spread that message around the world. This film serves as the sendoff for Chadwick Boseman, and it will pull many fans’ hearts and cry a river of tears.

The film stars Letitia Wright as Shuri, Lupita Nyong’o as Nakia, Danai Gurira as Okoye, Winston Duke as M’Baku, Dominique Thorne as Riri Williams / Ironheart, Florence Kasumba as Ayo, Michaela Coal as Aneka, Tenoch Huerta as Namor, Martin Freeman as Everett Ross, and Angela Bassett as Ramonda and focuses on the surviving friends and family of Wakanda who are mourning the death of T’Challa after he passes from an unspecified illness.

Queen Ramonda has taken the throne of Wakanda and has been doing everything in her power to protect the nation of Wakanda while dealing with the loss of her son. Shuri has also been struggling with the death of her brother and she refuses the idea of Black Panther altogether. However, a new threat in the form of Namor threatens to attack Wakanda because he blames them for exposing his people and the home of Talocan. This starts a brutal war between the nations of Wakanda and Talocan. Shuri and Ramonda must learn how to overcome their grief and believe in the Black Panther again to save Wakanda from destruction.

I loved the first “Black Panther” because of its strong message, story, and most importantly, Chadwick Boseman. His performance as T’Challa is what made the first movie very memorable seeing him pass was very devastating for me. When the sequel was announced, I was very nervous at first because I wasn’t sure how Boseman’s passing would be handled, because making a sequel without Chadwick is a difficult hard task, as Marvel had to find ways to make a great story while at the same time respecting the legacy of Chadwick. When I saw the sequel, my fears were put to rest, and I thought the film was very good. It handles Chadwick’s very respectfully by incorporating the death of T’Challa and using it to tell a story of grief. This was a smart move because it helps both the characters and the audience find closure to Chadwick’s passing.

I also felt the performances were very well done. Specifically, I enjoyed Letitia Wright’s performance as Shuri. She is the main character of this film and has an arc that involves mourning the death of T’Challa. This arc gives Shuri a huge character development that I thought was done well. She starts as a sad character mourning for her brother, but she eventually develops into a strong character who learns how to move on. This was done well, and it served both Shuri and the rest of the story.

Another performance I enjoyed was Angela Bassett as Queen Ramonda. Her character portrayed the theme of grief well because her arc involved carrying Wakanda’s weight on her shoulders as the new leader while mourning the loss of T’Challa. Ramonda is stressed and angry for most of the film and she portrays it to a degree where the audience can understand her pain. I thought Bassett did a great job with her character and arc. The performances of Letitia and Angela also show that their acting is genuine because they are handling the death of Chadwick both on and off the screen, which shows that they both cared about respectfully handling Chadwick’s passing. I also enjoyed the villain of the movie, Namor. Tenoch Huerta portrays Namor as a sympathetic villain because all he wanted to do was protect his home and people from being destroyed. I thought his fight and action scenes were well done because of his fighting skills and ability to fly. This made Namor both a fun and complex villain to watch on screen.

Some other things parts of the film I enjoyed were the cinemaphotography and special effects. The shots in this movie looked good and beautiful to watch and the special effects and CGI were better than the first film, which had unfinished, messy-looking CGI. The fight scenes were also a highlight because of the choreography, camera techniques, and use of slow motion.

Although I thought the movie was good overall, there were still a few things I didn’t enjoy about the film. One thing I didn’t like was a subplot that involved Martin Freeman’s character, Everett Ross. I felt both the subplot and Everett Ross were unnecessary to the story and they should have been removed from the movie altogether. I also felt like the third act of the movie felt rushed because it followed the typical MCU third-act formula where there is a big final battle, and the protagonist wins. I felt this was too safe of a third act and there should’ve had higher stakes.

Overall, this movie was a great send-off for Chadwick Boseman. It takes time to tell the story of grief to help both the characters and the audience find closure. The performances and emotions of the cast are strong and genuine because they are also trying to mourn the passing of Boseman and show that they miss him both on and off-screen. This made the story more powerful and emotional because the story was told well, and the characters have the time to develop.

I felt this was the best film of Phase 4 in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Other Phase 4 films have been a hit or miss mostly because of messy writing, weird-looking CGI, and unlikeable characters. However, this film managed to avoid that by telling a simple story without setting up anything bigger further down the line and had better CGI and likable characters that audiences will enjoy. Although it does get dragged down by the unnecessary subplot and rushed third act, the film still manages to hold strong.

“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” manages to carry on the legacy of Chadwick with its themes, story, characters, and emotion. Boseman’s impact made on me and the rest of the world will be remembered for years to come and would make Chadwick proud if he saw it today.

For Chadwick Boseman
1976-2020
You will be missed.