Black Panther: Wakanda Forever had a very difficult task to fulfill. Following the shocking and unexpected death of Chadwick Boseman in 2020, writer/director Ryan Coogler had to rewrite and deliver a believable new story taking the franchise in an unanticipated direction while also paying tribute to our beloved Boseman and T’Challa. Grief and loss are the main themes in this movie and are handled in a delicate and respectful way in Coogler’s capable hands. Wakanda Forever is a fitting eulogy and tribute to Chadwick Boseman but it also serves as the movie Marvel made to clap back at all the Phase 4 nay-sayers.
The ensemble cast is fantastic. Letitia Wright steps into the lead role effortlessly, Danai Gurira is fierce as Okoye and Dominique Thorne oozes charisma as RiRi Williams. However, none of these ladies hold a candle to Angela Bassett. In Wakanda Forever, Bassett gives one of the greatest performances in Marvel Cinematic Universe history. Bassett doesn’t hold back giving us a gut-wrenching, emotional, and Oscar-worthy performance as Queen Ramonda, a woman who has lost her husband and son. Bassett will certainly get a nomination and could possibly win. She is the heart and soul of this movie and I hope her performance is recognized.
Namor the Submariner, played by the fantastic Tenoch Huerta, is another highlight for Marvel fans. One of Marvel’s oldest characters finally makes his long-awaited debut and he didn’t disappoint. Huerta’s performance helps shape Namor as one of Marvel’s most compelling and sympathetic villains, so much so that I actually found myself rooting for him at one point.
Production-wise, the film is very impressive and an improvement from the first film. The Talokan sequences are breathtaking showcasing the incredible use of the newest technology. Coogler used a perfect blend of VFX and practical methods to craft some of the best underwater sequences I’ve seen in a very long time. The film’s script is not perfect, but it is credible and hits all the right notes when it comes to the emotion this story invokes. Coogler is a true visionary who knows what he wants and how he wants it. From the costumes and sets to the beautiful cinematography, this movie is meticulously crafted to provide us with an incredible and emotional cinematic experience.
The score for the film is wonderful and appropriately transcendental. Ludwig Göransson (Stay tuned for my full conversation with him later this week!) outdoes himself with Wakanda Forever and delivers an even better score than the original. Aside from his already great writing and producing skills, he adds in some new sounds to help elevate this soundtrack. Göransson’s score adds a lot to the overall experience and this movie wouldn’t be as impactful without him.
To say Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is great would be an understatement. This film did the unthinkable by creating a worthy sequel to one of the greatest superhero films of all time, while also allowing us all to collectively grieve the loss of T’Challa and Boseman, a real-life hero.