Wakanda Forever Review


Kalia Bell

A POWERFUL CLOSE: As the movie comes to an end, Rihanna’s ballad “Lift Me Up” backs a display of T’Challa’s outline, to pay tribute to Chadwick Boseman. Following an emotional ending to the film, it wraps up with a beautiful title sequence.

On Feb. 14, 2018, Black Panther was released in theaters. Being the first big-budget superhero movie with an African American lead and cast, it gave representation that was missing in Marvel for years. It quickly became one of Marvel’s most successful films, grossing over 1.3 billion dollars. However, tragedy ensued when the Black Panther himself passed away due to colon cancer two years later.

Chadwick Boseman, who played T’Challa in the film, was a leading factor of the movie’s success. His performance touched millions of people in more ways than one. His passing was heartbreaking for anyone that knew him or his work. When Black Panther 2’s release date was set, excitement arose, but everyone knew that Black Panther wouldn’t be the same without T’Challa.

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, directed by Ryan Coogler, released in theaters on Nov 11. In the beginning, the iconic Marvel intro became a collage of T’Challa’s best moments, paired with silence to honor Boseman. The movie starts with members of T’Challa’s family in panic as it is revealed that T’Challa is ill, and shortly after, he passes away.

In many Marvel films, it is common for main characters to die and leave their family and friends to grieve. However, with Boseman passing away in real life, the emotion the actors display is on a different level. Their acting is genuine and derived from their sadness and mourning, bringing real feelings into the film. Letitia Wright, who plays T’Challa’s sister Shuri, has the best performance, as her tears reflect sadness of losing a friend, while also sadness on behalf of her character for losing a brother. Her variation of grief, anger and guilt was portrayed impressively. Acting can bring any movie to life, but in this case, it can also expand on real emotion.

This film’s soundtrack is no less impressive than the first and will likely be a top contender for the upcoming Oscars. The score throughout the film is excellent and has a great variation between slower and quicker songs for each scene, whether it be a tribute or fight scene. The soundtrack lifts the movie with exceptional artists, such as Rihanna and Future, singing the songs. The score makes the film significantly better as it brings you to tears and puts you on the edge of your seat at just the right times.

Many features of this movie are beautifully moving and exciting. However, certain functions of the plot were missing Marvel’s usual detail and depth. The film was dependent on the concern of T’Challa’s death. However, before this concept had the chance to extend and develop, a new plot line was introduced with extensive new characters and a whole new kingdom, Talokan.

Namor, the antagonist of this film, has a great backstory and introduction to explain how he became the king of Talokan, an underwater world that has been hidden from society. However, the conflict that arises between Wakanda and Talokan sprouts from seemingly nowhere and doesn’t have much depth or reason. The conflict ends abruptly without much build up, making it feel very rushed and sudden. With all of the possibilities that the first Black Panther developed, it feels like there were better choices for the plot development and the way that it was brought about. Regardless, the plot is still entertaining and exciting throughout most of the film, but it had more potential that it didn’t reach.

As a whole, the film is a beautiful tribute to Boseman and a great sequel to the successful original. The soundtrack alone is one of a kind, and the acting takes the realism in the film to another level. Despite the lacking depth in the primary plotline, other elements of the film are still great and make this film a must watch.