Review: ‘Blank Panther: Wakanda Forever’ delivers a powerful, emotionally resonant story

Review: 'Wakanda Forever' delivers powerful story

The sequel to 2018's "Black Panther" acts as both a strong superhero film and a tribute to Chadwick Boseman.
Published: November 17, 2022
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever premiered on Nov. 11, 2022.
"Black Panther: Wakanda Forever" premiered Nov. 11.

The long-awaited release of Wakanda Forever finally arrives with anticipation and questions: how could Marvel make a second movie without their leading man, Chadwick Boseman? How would they honor his memory while advancing the story?

It took five years, but Marvel struck the appropriate balance with Wakanda Forever. The film goes beyond a superhero story – again highlighting Black stars as royalty and heroes. This message became all the more imperative after the loss of Boseman.

The movie starts right back in Wakanda, with Shuri, played by Letitia Wright, desperately trying to save her brother, King T’Challa, played posthumously by Chadwick Boseman in 2018. When T’Challa passes, the film transcends fiction. Yes, Wakanda was mourning their king, but the Black Panther cast was also mourning Boseman and wanted to honor him in the best way possible. With its traditional African dances, a black-panther-engraved coffin and a mural of Boseman, it was a powerful scene.

Throughout the film, Shuri struggles with the death of her brother. She is not ready to lead, be in the spotlight or take on missions. Queen Ramonda, played by Angela Bassett, takes over as ruler of Wakanda. The queen tries to guide Shuri to peace and help her move forward, but the more Shuri thinks about her brother, the angrier she gets.

Wakanda Forever is not only an homage to Boseman but to the female cast that carries the film: the queen, Shuri, Okoye (played by Danai Gurira) and Nakia (played by Lupita Nyong’o). After T’Challa’s death, they become the leaders of Wakanda, protecting its people and each other. They are not weak or vulnerable now that T’Challa is dead — they are strengthened by their shared grief and culture.

Our heroes take on a new villain in Wakanda Forever: Namor and the Talokans, an undersea tribe with access to vibranium. A war breaks out between the two peoples, who each have their own relationship to war and conflict.

Shuri has a choice: does she lead with the grace that her brother and mother always had? Or does she follow a new path when it comes to protecting her people and putting an end to Namor’s chaos?

Ultimately, Shuri finds her purpose again, honoring the ones who have fallen and protecting the ones that remain.

A thrilling, emotional and unpredictable film, Wakanda Forever answers the questions fans have been asking while allowing the characters, and viewers, to mourn Boseman and what the franchise might have been.

Check out Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, in theaters now.