Strong performances highlight challenging sequel

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is surprising amid difficult circumstances.

Chadwick Boseman (1976-2020)

A sequel will not be able to make up for the heartbreaking loss of Chadwick Boseman, who played King T’Challa in the first Black Panther movie and passed away in 2020. Ryan Coogler, a veteran director, wisely refrains from attempting to do so.

While other Marvel films can spin themselves out of death-related issues if they so want, Coogler taps into the sorrow felt by both Boseman’s fans and his coworkers to create an unexpectedly solemn film that examines the grieving process.

The Wakanda nation is threatened by a race of turquoise aquatic warriors, led by a mutant god by the name of Namor (Tenoch Huerta), who is rather perplexing and inconsistent in his reasons for conflict. Despite the fact that not everything works, the emotional core of the film is raw, credible, and affecting.

Angela Basset (Queen Romanda)

This is largely due to the inspiring performances of Letitia Wright as Shuri, T’Challa’s younger sister, and the incomparable Angela Bassett as the queen who must weigh her grief against her responsibility to her people. Shuri develops as a character from the mischievous prodigy to a lady who has been changed by her pain and loss. She is tortured by the knowledge that her abilities in science and technology were insufficient to save her brother. Riri (Dominique Thorne), an MIT undergrad who has created a vibranium detector and inadvertently signed her own death warrant at the hands of the enraged blue fish people, steps in to fill the void left by the teenage girl science prodigy.

Letitia Wright (Shuri)

In some of Wakanda Forever’s most moving scenes, Shuri must come to terms with the angels and devils she carries. She must also face her sadness, which intensifies as Wakanda engages in a conflict with Talokan that is fueled by hatred and misunderstanding and results in more deaths. Shuri is more against her late brother’s military restraint as a result of the traumas, a strong conflict that makes her question what it means to remember a loved one who has passed away.

Anyone seeking some form of closure following the passing of the man who played T’Challa can look to Wright’s mounting rage and repressed grief as a stand-in. These quiet introspective moments are when the film really shines, but they don’t happen often enough since other plotlines that advance the goals of the Marvel Cinematic Universe take precedence over the major storyline involving the main protagonists. To introduce the newest superhero franchise, Ironheart, a drawn-out narrative element about a 19-year-old science prodigy who created a device that can detect vibranium feels forced in at the expense of the movie’s pacing and texture.

Tenoch Huerta (Namor)

A popular MCU antagonist might emerge as Namor. Namor is given a lot of screen time where the audience gets a sense of who he is as a character, in contrast to Gorr the God Butcher in Thor: Love and Thunder. A lengthy segment explores his background about colonization and how he came up with his moniker. While he doesn’t elicit as much sympathy from the audience as Killmonger did in the previous movie, both of them use violence to transform from being the oppressed into the oppressor. He may be strong and complex while also being likeable. The movie’s fundamental weakness, familiarity, is part of how he is used in it.

Additionally, the pace of the film slows down whenever it returns to the subplot with Everett K. Ross (Martin Freeman). Compared to the last movie, he has a considerably smaller part in this one, and only one of his sequences advances the story. You can see how some edges may have been taken off in a 161-minute film. But Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is still a triumphant follow-up. Wright has a fantastic lead performance, and Bassett also gives a performance deserving of an Oscar. It’s typically well-paced. This sequel succeeds despite having some difficulties to overcome.

Black Panther : Wakanda Forever (2022)