Movie Review: "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever"
By: AMAYA HENRY/ ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT EDITOR
The long awaited sequel to Black Panther, sequel Black Panther: Wakanda Forever was released on Nov. 11 much to the anticipation of fans everywhere.
According to CNBC, as of Nov. 23, the film has already grossed a whopping $552 million with $293 coming from Thanksgiving weekend alone
The Black Panther franchise has dealt with much grief since the release of its first film, when in 2020 lead actor Chadwick Boseman died from colon cancer at the age of 43.
This was devastating for all the fans who had come to love the actor who had children and adults alike in awe at the emergence of a new age Black superhero.
The two-hour and forty-one minute long film would be the last time that fans would see the beloved actor on screen, and the film gave them just that, making every minute worth it.
Right off the bat, the characters are seenreacting to T’Challa’s death, showing the funeral and all of his family members mourning his loss.
T'Challa's death was similar to how Boseman died in real life. Shuri, played by Letitia Wright, explains how she was feeling saying she was "heartbroken."
After seeing the forces that Namor and his tribe of Talokans had on the U.S. ship, I knew that they were dangerous and that a battle between them and the Wakandians would have me on the edge of my seat.
Seeing that the brains behind the machine that the U.S. was using to find the vibranium was a young Black girl, Ironheart, resonated with me. It was heartwarming to see a young Black girl in collegeat MIT, be incredibly smart, beautiful and valued for her talents.
Although her smarts almost caused her death, the representation is very important for Black children to see someone who looks like them be successful.
Speaking of representation, I loved how Nakia, played by Lupita Nyong’o, represented Haiti. I’ve seen comments from people that are from Haiti say that it was great to see their country being represented in a positive light.
At the start of their relationship I actually shipped Namor and Shuri. When he was showing her his land and detailing where his family came from it felt very real and authentic. Additionally, when he gave her the bracelet that his mom had I was sure that they were going to be together.
Then he killed her mom and that possibility was thrown out the window.
Queen Ramonda’s death was completely unexpected. When I tell you I didn’t see this one coming I mean it. My heart hurt for all the pain that Shuri was going through. Her dad had already died, her brother had just recently died, and now her mother was taken away as well.
I felt like she didn’t have the time to properly grieve their deaths until the end of the movie because she had to make sure that Wakanda was protected and safe.
While this movie was a tearjerker, I was happy to see Killmonger, played by Michael B. Jordan, make an appearance. When he first appeared on screen, my friend and I grabbed each other’s arms and looked at each other with mouths agape.
Since he died in the previous movie, it was unknown if he was going to be featured in this one and although he was only seen for a quick scene, my eyes are thankful nonetheless.
With Shuri becoming the newest Black Panther, this ties back into the importance of representation. While there are female leads in the Marvel universe, Shuri is one of the only Black women superheroes in the franchise.
Black women have been featured in Marvel movies as aliens, like Zoe Saldana in Guardians of the Galaxy and Tessa Thompson in Thor: Ragnarok, but never as the main figurehead. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever changed this.
Showing that a Black woman can lead her people and do the same things that a man can do, has power beyond description.
The strength that Shuri had to spare Namor’s life after he killed her mother, the Queen, is beyond me. I know that “an eye for an eye” doesn’t solve anything, but that’s easier preached than practiced.
This is especially true given that at the end of the film Namor is seen conversing with a fellow Talokan and while he expressed that he was grateful that Shuri spared his life, he spoke with a tone that made it seem as if fighting against Wakanda wasn’t completely off the table, even though he had made amends with Shuri.
With this being a Marvel movie, everyone, even me, knows to stay after the first set of credits rolls through. This is where the waterworks really kicked in.
During the movie, Queen Ramonda visits Nakia in Haiti before her death.
When she arrives she is greeted by a young boy at the school that Nakia now works at. The Queen then asks Nakia why she didn’t go back to Wakanda for T’Challa’s funeral, as he was the love of her life. She explained that she felt like it was too soon for her to return and that she wasn’t ready. These answers were nice to hear but were vague and didn’t provide much clarity.
Fast forward to the post-credits scene and Shuri is in Haiti visiting Nakia. Shuri has been on the beach conducting a ceremony in her mother’s honor when Nakia comes walking onto the beach hand in hand with the same little boy that greeted Queen Ramonda when she first came to Haiti.
Nakia reveals that the young boy is her and T’challa’s son, Prince T’challa. This is why she didn’t return back to Wakanda for T’challa’s funeral because she wasn’t ready for everyone to know about him.
To know that the Queen got to meet him before her untimely death brought tears to my eyes. To hear that he was named after his father is what really got the tears flowing.
Personally, I am not a huge fan of the Marvel movies. I have nothing against the franchise as I have watched some of the movies here and there, but at this point there are so many movies, currently 30 and counting, and various storylines to keep up with that I feel like I’m past the point of trying to watch them all and catch up.
That being said, I loved this movie. A cinematic masterpiece to say the least.
I already knew the movie was going to be amazing, but when it was announced that Rihanna was coming out with a single for this movie, the movie’s greatness was solidified.
While Rihanna has sung in a couple of features in past years, most recently in PartyNextDoor’s song “Believe It” in March 2020, she hadn’t released a single since her album Anti in 2016.
Rihanna’s single “Lift Me Up” was released on Oct. 28, I heard it before I saw the movie.
The song brought tears to my eyes so I knew that with the context of the movie Black Panther: Wkanda Forever was sure to be a tear jerker.
As Black Panther: Wakanda Forever won’t be in theaters for forever, I highly recommend you see it while you can.