“Wakanda Forever” is an emotional, excellent sequel

The film honors the legacy of the late Chadwick Boseman, who starred as the Black Panther in the first film and other Marvel films

Written By Dan Russo, Staff Writer

Regardless of what happened outside the expansive world of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever was a movie that was always going to have high expectations. 2018’s Black Panther is a solid movie and one of the best solo romps the MCU has to offer. The first film also cracked over a billion dollars worldwide and was nominated for Best Picture, a deserved award for the films cultural significance alone. So when in 2020 we got news of Chadwick Boseman’s lost battle with cancer, everyone was shocked and saddened. How do you carry on without such a commanding on screen presence, and how do you replace Chadwick Boseman? You simply don’t.

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever succeeds in nearly every aspect. We get a touching tribute to Chadwick, lots of action and a lot of heart. Despite the passing of King T’Challa, we see Wakanda more vibrant than ever. Pretty much all of the characters from the first film returned, in better form than ever. This film features some of the best performances in the entire MCU. Angelia Bassett and Danai Guerra notably put in great performances. The script is wrought with emotion due to the subject matter of loss and coping in the film. It’s a really powerful and uplifting watch at times.

Among some of the new faces are Dominique Thorne and Tenoch Huerta. Thorne potrays newcomer Ironheart, and she does a great job adding some comic relief to what is at times a heavy plot. Fun fact, Thorne actually auditioned for Shuri way back when, so it’s cool to see her feel so at home with another role. I love her suits design and I am looking forward to seeing where she goes next in the series. Winston Duke as always is a joy to watch. But who really stole the show for me and many others was Tenoch Huerta, who plays Wakanda Forever’s villain, Namor.

A lot of times in comic book media, we are met with a dilemma: the villain. So many super villains, especially Marvel ones, usually boil down to an evil version of the biggest floating head on the poster. Namor breaks this trope for the first time in a long while. Through Wakanda Forever’s two and a half hour run time, we get to really get to know Namor and see the underwater city of Talokan. It also helps because above all else, Namor is pretty cool.

My main issue with Wakanda Forever is pretty much my main issue with the first Black Panther. Martin Freeman’s CIA plot is once again tacked on. It feels like he was only in this movie because he appeared in the previous one. While we get some fun callbacks to Falcon and the Winter Solider and Black Widow it’s honestly not enough to justify his inclusion, and his plot feels noticeably unfinished. It’s not like the MCU has never done that before, it’s more so his character always felt so “whatever” to me. He’s not exactly a high tier character. There’s also one scene at the end which I’m not the biggest fan of, but no spoilers here.

Overall, Black Panther Wakanda Forever is an emotional and awesome ride and certainly the best feature length marvel film of the year. Go see this over thanksgiving break if you’re looking for an excuse to leave that Thanksgiving Dinner you’re not having a blast at.