Black Panther: Wakanda Forever


A worthy sequel that honors the late king of Wakanda.

The death of Chadwick Boseman has not gone without a whimper, as his legacy portraying Black Panther, Jackie Robinson, James Brown, and Thurgood Marshall has kept people inspired. His last two movies “Da 5 Bloods” and “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” were both riveting final masterpieces for him, and we’ll never forget him. The memory of Boseman still lives on.

The 2018 “Black Panther” was an MCU masterpiece that even made it in the Oscars Best Picture category. So, when we found out that a sequel with the subtitle “Wakanda Forever” would still go into effect without replacing Boseman, we were all pondering how the studio was going to manage that.

Well, they were going to kill off King T’Challa with a serious illness, which not even his brainiac sister Shuri (Letitia Wright) could cure. Now, the African country Wakanda is in a state of mourning. And that’s why the sequel begins with a funeral and a somber Marvel Studios logo. And I really wouldn’t blame them.

Writer/director Ryan Coogler may not outdo the original, in terms of some difficult moments, but he does honor the original movie and the original actor, and he keeps up the good work by pushing his special effect team to new limits and guiding his supporting cast on the right track.

I’ve never seen a DNA chain in the form of glass bulbs that turn white, red, and green before, and the minute I see them, I’m dazzled. And the way Shuri works with them is so exhilarating and risky.

The returning actors also consist of Lupita Nyong’o as T’Challa’s love Nakia, Danai Gurira as his faithful guard Okoye-the head of the all-female special forces the Dora Milage, Angela Bassett as his mother Queen Ramonda, Florence Kasumba as the Dora Milage’s second-in-command Ayo, Martin Freeman as cCIA Agent Everett K. Ross, and Winston Duke as the mountain tribe leader M’Baku.

And newcomers to the cast include Michaela Coel (“I May Destroy You”) as Wakandan warrior Aneka, who is eager to defend her country, Dominique Thorne (“If Beale Street Could Talk,” “Judas and the Black Messiah”) as MIT student Riri Williams, who specializes in Vibranium technology, and Tenoch Huerta (“Sin Nombre,” “The Forever Purge”) as Namor, the leader of an underwater kingdom, known as the Talokan. This girl’s work gets discovered by the feds, and this king wants declares war on land.

And that’s why Shuri, Okoye, and Nakia must take some action before it is too late.

Some of the difficult moments regard Julia Louis-Dreyfus (whom I love as Elaine Benedict on “Seinfeld”) as the smart ass contessa Valentina Allegra de Fontaine. I’m not a fan of her, and there’s something about her I just don’t like, but I can quite put my finger on her just yet.

Because this is an MCU movie, and you fans want to be taken by surprise, I won’t spoil anything else for you. But because I’m a film critic, I will let you know how this sequel does. Coogler wants to push the story of Wakanda’s most honorable people and their new directions since they lost their king as we did.

A few things you should know about the Talokan people. They’re blue, they can only breathe underwater, which is why on land they wear breathing masks, and their combat is not to be taken foolishly. They will strike you, unless you have what it takes.

And the performances from the remaining members are universally excellent. Wright shines, Bassett explodes, Duke has some tickles, and Gurira transcends. And even the newcomers Throne and Huerta both have their valuable traits.

“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” doesn’t top the original, but it does continue the story with challenges, character development, and dazzling images. You know it ain’t over until it’s over.

Wakanda Forever!

Rating: 3 out of 4.

Categories: Action, Adventure, Drama, Fantasy, Sci Fi, Sequel

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