Chadwick Boseman may no longer be with us but the legacy of King T’Challa lives on in Marvel’s Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.
Of all the Marvel films I’ve written about in my lifetime, this is the toughest. We’ll never know what could have been had Chadwick not died from cancer. Obviously, the film’s plot would likely be different to an extent. That we’ll never know is the part that truly sucks. That being said, Ryan Coogler does his best to make this film a tribute to Chadwick’s legacy and impact as the Black Panther. May Chadwick Boseman’s memory be a blessing.
There is a mid-credit scene.
If you’re a longtime reader of Solzy at the Movies, I’ll discuss the film in-depth below the logo. While I’m not discussing the major spoilers, there will be light spoilers ahead so please read at your own risk. If it is not in the synopsis, I’m not really writing about it in terms of plot.
The film picks up on the events that transpired at the end of the first film. If you recall, King T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) announced Wakanda’s true nature to the United Nations. Of course, the film picks up on it some years afterwards because of the blip. More importantly, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever has the hard duty of writing T’Challa’s death into the film. I will not reveal the specifics of how this happens. Going into the film, I kind of had an idea that it would be in there. Otherwise, they would have to come up with a reason to explain his absence.
A year after T’challa’s death is when the film really begins to kick into full gear. Queen Ramonda (Angela Bassett) is having none of it when it comes to sharing vibranium with the rest of the world. Because of Wakanda, other countries are now looking for the coveted mineral. This is where Namor (Tenoch Huerta Mejía) enters the picture and sets foot in Wakanda because he wants vengeance. Unfortunately, he does so while the queen and Princess Shuri (Letitia Wright) are on a retreat to mourn T’Challa on the one-year anniversary of his passing. Can they not mourn in peace?!? It is a Wakandan ritual but Shuri is unable to let go. Instead, she’s still holding onto the past. The scientist that she is, one gets this sense that she feels responsible for not finding a cure.
Namor’s need for vengeance forces Wakanda to act accordingly. For one, they must find an American scientist before anybody else does. Of course, they’re in for quite the surprise when they meet Chicago native Riri Williams (Dominique Thorne) aka Ironheart. Will they be willing to turn her over or will there be a war between the two peoples? One thing is for certain, Queen Ramonda, Shuri, M’Baku (Winston Duke), Okoye (Danai Gurira) and the Dora Milaje must protect Wakanda by whatever means necessary. Both War Dog Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o) and Everett Ross (Martin Freeman) aid them in this mission.
Where Black Panther dealt with fathers and sons, the focus here is on mother and daughter. The relationship between Ramonda and Shuri is what drives the plot forward. They both have different ways of dealing with Namor, too. At the same time, again, they must honor the legacy of T’Challa and the Black Panther mantle. In terms of the snap, there’s not much discussed on its impact on Wakanda. The big thing is that M’Baku, the leader of Jabariland, is no longer an outsider because of his presence during the blip. He’s a full-fledged member of society and a part of the Wakandan council.
With the rights returning back to Marvel, we’re finally able to see Namor in a film. Back when Avi Arad was running the show, the rights were licensed by Universal Studios. After many attempts, the film never got off the ground. Namor’s presence in the comics dates all the way back to Marvel Comics #1–the comic book that started it all for Timely Comics. In bringing the Sub-Mariner into the MCU, they do make some changes to the character, for better or worse. Perhaps the biggest change is the character has nothing to do with Atlantis. Instead, Namor is the King of Talokan. True to the comics, Namor is another mutant in the MCU.
Marvel, Coogler, and company could have scrapped the film and walked away. Instead, they make the best of a bad situation by making a film worthy of his legacy and impact on the world. Black Panther wasn’t just an Oscar nominee for Best Picture but T’Challa himself was a role model. It was a long overdue film but as the saying goes, it was better late than never. There’s been a movement to recast T’Challa and after watching the film, I’m still not sure that would have been the best idea. I understand why people wanted the recasting and it wouldn’t be the first time that they recast a role. It’s going to be one of those forever what-if’s. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is best served by focusing on the grief by those who were left behind and how they move forward in the world.
DIRECTOR: Ryan Coogler
SCREENWRITER: Ryan Coogler & Joe Robert Cole
CAST: Letitia Wright, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, Winston Duke, introducing Tenoch Huerta Mejía, Dominique Thorne, Florence Kasumba, Michaela Coel, Alex Livinalli, Mabel Cadena, with Martin Freeman and Angela Bassett
Marvel Studios will release Black Panther: Wakanda Forever in theaters on November 11, 2018. Grade: 4/5
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