Finally, Disney brings us the second installment of the Black Panther. After the major success of the first installment, Black Panther (2018) starring Chadwick Boseman, and the untimely passing of Boseman in 2020, many wondered how the franchise would continue in his absence. First and foremost, this film did a wonderful job at being respectful and honored Boseman in an amazing way. It is heartbreaking and touching to see the sentiment and care in which his absence is shown. From the opening scene throughout, the original Black Panther is honored, mourned, but ultimately celebrated, which is incredibly moving. You could feel the heart and emotion from the entire cast.
The Next Chapter
Beyond the emotional tribute to Chadwick Boseman, there are plenty of subjects to dive into here. Wakanda is now in the public eye after revealing their existence to the entire world in the first film. They had also suffered many losses due to the infamous “Snap of Thanos”. Those lost included the Black Panther himself, King of Wakanda. The timeline of the film begins six years later, from the snap and ultimate return of those affected. It is clear, the problems that sprang from this wrinkle in time are still raw.
King T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) is gone, but his sister Shuri (Letitia Wright) remains. Not only is she disappointed in herself for not being able to save her brother’s life. She is disappointed that she failed to successfully create a synthetic version of the Heart Shaped Herb. Without the herb, Wakanda is vulnerable by the absence of the Black Panther. The herb is the key element to pass on the mantel of this protector. This leaves Wakanda vulnerable to the outside world. Wakanda is the only known civilization to possess the element of vibranium. This element is one of the strongest metals known to man and greatly coveted by every nation. Many countries, namely the United States and France, become interested in possessing this commodity and will do anything to do.
The Voice of a Nation
When Wakanda suffers an attack to steal vibranium, the queen and mother of T’Challa and Shuri, Queen Ramonda (Angela Bassett) makes her feelings known. She states that the negotiation of vibranium trade is off the table. She also states that Wakanda will protect the vibranium at all costs. Her point is extremely clear, leaving a threatening warning to all who would oppose them.
However, Wakanda is not the only place where vibranium is present. This is possible by the use of an illegal vibranium detector. This causes major chaos, with a mysterious new enemy clearly intent on protecting the vibranium at all costs. The creator of the vibranium detector is now Target Number One. It is up to Shuri and her guard Okoye (Danai Gurira) to seek out the inventor of the detector. Little do any of them know, they’re in for quite a ride.
The film leads us on a high speed adventure of mystery, action, and flurry of emotions. It is a fun ride to see Shuri develop a sense of confidence and understanding of herself. It is clear that she honors her people, but does not necessarily share their same beliefs.
On this ride, we discover another nation of people. This nation of people calls themselves the Talokan, and they also possess and highly depend on the element of vibranium for their way of life. Their leader is a newcomer to the MCU, and his name is Namor (Tenoch Huerta). Namor is a fierce warrior with a poetic way to his words. He has little room for empathy of the outside world. Namor is severely loyal to his people and way of life, and will do anything to protect it. The tension between the two nations, Wakanda and Talokan, is born. The underlying story of Shuri coming into her own and making her family proud interweaves nicely into the Talokan conflict.
Overall, there were some places that felt a little slow. There was plenty of dialogue between characters that span themes introduced in the first film. The length of dialogue adds to the length of the film. It is, however, equally matched by the action and beautiful cinematography. I appreciated the closer look at the character Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o). As she is the main love interest of King T’Challa. Wakanda Forever gave her plenty of time to shine. She is a big feature in the major plot twist surprise post credit scene. Nakia’s fierceness and loyalty to Wakanda is apparent by her actions. She is a strong character and intelligent character. Hopefully, there will be a future film that features her character in greater detail.
I like the film and shed a tear or two at the moving scenes of remembrance. I would highly recommend this installment of the Black Panther to fans of the Marvel Universe. Be sure to make a restroom pit stop before the show! Have plenty of snacks! The 2 hour and 41 minute running time is sure to test your limits, but the film itself is worth it! #WakandaForever
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Tess is an Alaskan artist and writer who sometimes talks to birds. She also enjoys tv shows (the vampire ones mostly), movies, cross-stitch, and traveling. When she is not rooting for the villain or dressing up to weird her neighbors out when checking the mail, she can be found attempting to be a decent mom to a small horde of goblins.