Coogler and company’s approach to this emotional story is handled with great care, and love for the late Boseman. Here’s a review from contributor Nick Blair.
Black Panther Wakanda Forever: The King is Dead, Long Live His Kingdom
With the sudden, tragic passing of Chadwick Boseman back in August of 2020, Marvel Cinematic Universe fans were left in a state of shock and mourning. Passing at just the age of 43 to a rare form of cancer, Boseman left behind unfillable shoes, not only as a husband and actor but as the King of Wakanda, the mystical and technologically advanced kingdom of the MCU hidden deep in the heart of Africa.
As the fans adjusted to his passing, fair questions were soon asked about how the planned sequel to director Ryan Coolger’s smash hit would be handled. Who would bare the mantle? Would Boseman be recast similar to Don Cheadle taking over the role of Robert Downey Jr.’s best friend Rodie when Terrance Howard started making waves? Would CGI be used to recreate Boseman’s likeness as it was for Carrie Fisher when she suddenly passed while J.J. Abrams was filming the Rise of Skywalker back in 2018? Well actually, none of the above…
Director Ryan Coogler and company’s approach to this emotional story is handled with great care, and love for the late Boseman. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever looks the audience straight in the face, and addresses the loss of Boseman straight out of the gate, opening the film by addressing his passing in a respectful, thoughtful manner. As the film progresses, there is never a moment where the loss of Boseman is not felt by the characters onscreen, but in a wholly respectful, loving manner.
Wakanda Forever is a visually stunning film that takes full advantage of a wide color palette found in new locations, from the depths of the Atlantic Ocean to the shores of African rivers.
The emotional heavy lifting is bared by many, but none more than by the talents of Letitia Wright, and Angela Bassett who reprise their roles as the princess and queen of Wakanda, respectively. Both Wright and Bassett share many powerful emotional scenes together as their characters come to grips with the loss of Boseman and the power vacuum created by the passing of the king. There was not one moment across the film’s 2+ hour runtime where their performances felt inauthentic or formulaic. Likewise, Coogler presents the film in a far more visually appealing manner than his first.
Wakanda Forever is a visually stunning film that takes full advantage of a wide color palette found in new locations, from the depths of the Atlantic Ocean to the shores of African rivers—the film pops off the screen, especially in IMAX format, in a way that only James Gunn’s Guardian’s of the Galaxy Marvel films have before. Likewise, “Mandalorian” veteran composer Ludwig Göransson returns as the maestro of music and outdoes himself with a powerful, emotionally driven score that always feels creative and appropriate. The other great power of this film comes from the MCU’s latest antagonist.
When the Walt Disney Company acquired 20th Century Fox back in March of 2019, fans were hungry for the eventual addition of the X-men properties to be folded into the blooming MCU. While that moment has yet to fully come to fruition (though we grow closer with films like Deadpool 3 on the horizon staring Hugh Jackman as Wolverine once more) Wakanda Forever does take us one step closer to the permanent addition of Mutants in the MCU thanks to the film’s antagonist Namor, portrayed by Tenoch Huerta.
This mutant leader of a technologically advanced undersea civilization is the perfect Ying to Wakanda’s Yang, and mercifully, he is not just another wasted villain, as so many MCU films have squandered. Huerta plays a conflicted leader with a real concern for his cause; he is easy to empathize with and frightening to behold. Namor easily joins the ranks of the likes of Josh Brolin’s Thanos and Tony Leung’s Wenwu as one of the best villains Marvel has ever pushed to the silver screen as of late.
Ultimately Ryan Coogler and the talented cast of Wakanda Forever put forth a remarkable effort – not only in paying a resounding tribute to their lost friend but in delivering one of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s strongest entries to date. The king may have passed on, but his kingdom is stronger than ever, and Wakanda is truly Forever.
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