Much of the world was floored by the death of gifted actor Chadwick Boseman. As he was so well loved and respected, his loss has been a major blow to not only the hearts of his fans, but also to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Originally, the producers and filmmakers behind the Black Panther segment of the MCU probably hoped and envisioned further adventures with Chadwick’s Black Panther character remaining as the iconic symbol he earned with his first movie, and his appearances in other Marvel movies. This obviously proved challenging to Disney/Marvel, as they had to decide how to proceed after his untimely death.
Now, there are those who think that the MCU should’ve recast the role, but as much as Chadwick is adored and appreciated, the best move would be to honor what he meant to so many people. At the same time, the producers and filmmakers would also have to use this tragic loss as a way of advancing the story arc of Wakanda and their place in the MCU. That is quite to challenge to accomplish, and I do have to hand it to the filmmakers behind Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, because they have mostly succeeded in doing so.
Since T’Challa’s last appearance in an MCU film (Avengers: Endgame), he has suffered a horrible illness which actually proves to be a great challenge for his sister Shuri (Letitia Wright) and all of the incredible technology available on Wakanda. Sadly, the Black Panther’s sister is unable to save her brother, and this failure weighs on her quite heavily. Now that the powerful guardian of Wakanda has fallen, there are plenty of forces eager to exploit Wakanda’s sources of power and technology.
Various nations of the world, including the United States, try to take advantage of this situation and hope to acquire vibranium by any means necessary. In doing so, these countries discover that there is another underwater source of the precious element controlled by another kingdom that has remained mostly hidden for so long. That kingdom is lead by a very powerful underwater being named Namor (Tenoch Huerta Mejia), a vindictive and seemingly ruthless leader who will use all of his power to protect his kingdom, even if he must wage war on all of the land dwellers on Earth.
I tried to keep my synopsis mostly short, but that actually proved somewhat difficult in that this movie has so much going on that it is a rather epic story. While I very much like and admire most of what happens in the movie, I feel that the desire (of the MCU producers) to accomplish a lot with movie, left this installment stuffed and a tad rushed. It is an ambitious, and perhaps overzealous attempt, but I feel that the potential for two excellent movies exist within all that they wanted to accomplish.
The movie still succeeds on certain levels. As a beautiful tribute to the magic and excitement that Chadwick Boseman brought to the world, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever works beautifully. The closure and catharsis that the film delivers is a wonderful testament to his talent and how he made the character of T’Challa his own. Also, in introducing the Namor character and his world, director Ryan Coogler and his writers have done an exceptional job of reenvisioning the Marvel Comics property in ways that are inventive and visionary. Much like the first Black Panther movie, this sequel delivers so much lovely culture, it truly is an experience to behold.
In addition the film features an incredible cast of both returning and new talents that put much heart into this project that Chadwick Boseman would appreciate. While this sequel is not as extraordinary as the first film, it should be lauded for attempting to deliver something wonderful despite the reality in our world. And for those people who feel that the MCU offerings have been way too silly recently, this movie should be a breath of fresh air. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is serious in most of the best ways and is very ingenious in taking the MCU in some exciting directions.