Review: “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever”


In the wake of Chadwick Boseman’s tragic passing, there were questions as to whether or not “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” would be capable of successfully paying tribute to the beloved actor while also moving forward with the franchise. Being able to follow up one of Marvel’s most iconic movies was a tall order, and the fact that they were capable of producing a solid movie and a heartwarming tribute to Boseman should be respected. 

The movie starts with an immediate deep dive into King T’challa’s death. The movie sets it up as a shock event, catching everyone by surprise, just as Boseman’s death did. Throughout the movie, Shuri (played by Letitia Wright), T’Challa’s sister and the main protagonist in this film, struggles to deal with her grief, forcing herself into her technology as a way of escaping the pain. 

Throughout the story, Shuri battles with her own grief while also putting pressure on herself to stop the antagonists of the movie, Namor and the people of Talokan. Namor’s initial motivation is the pursuit of Vibranium, Wakanda’s greatest asset. 

The movie highlights a number of characters from the previous film, such as Okoye (Danai Gurira), M’Baku (Winston Duke), Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o) and Everett Ross. It also features the new, but vital character Riri Williams (Dominique Thorne). 

Apart from a compelling plot, the real significance of the film is how it commemorates Chadwick Boseman as an actor and as a man. The way Wakanda is in mourning after King T’challa’s death mirrors real life, and it doesn’t feel like Marvel is making any effort to try and move on without Boseman. His absence throughout the movie is felt, and intentionally so. 

Personally, the way in which T’Challa’s death is portrayed and mourned throughout the story reminds me of how the world was when we heard the news of Boseman’s death for the very first time. I’m sure many viewers of the movie remember where they were when they heard it and who it was that told them. 

The most impressive part of the movie is how grief changes each character throughout the story, especially Shuri. The way in which she deals with the events of the movie clearly backs up the way she talks throughout the movie, and it shows her character development. 

Once Shuri’s mother, the queen of Wakanda, is killed by Namor and the Talokan, Shuri has to step up as queen herself and eventually follow in her brother’s footsteps as the Black Panther. This leads to, in my opinion, the best scene in the movie. Shuri goes into a trance state that we’ve seen T’Challa in during the original “Black Panther.” In this state, one is supposed to see a deceased family member or an ancestor. The audience would have expected to see Shuri’s mother in this instance, and Shuri herself would have hoped to see her brother. However, instead, she saw an enemy: Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan). Jordan plays a small but brilliant role in the movie, convincing Shuri to not be “soft” like her ancestors and turning her guilt into a desire to kill Namor. 

Shuri does her best to navigate this experience. When asked about who she saw, she says “no one” multiple times, and during the final fight scenes of the movie, it’s clear to the viewer that she’s fighting with the burden of her dead family members, while also fighting against her urge to murder for revenge. In typical Marvel fashion, Shuri ultimately makes the choice not to kill Namor. 

Overall, “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” ticks all the boxes. It had a good storyline from start to finish, pushed political agendas in the subtle ways Marvel has been known to do (Captain America trilogy etc.) and most important of all, was a brilliant tribute to the beloved Chadwick Boseman, who will always be missed.