“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” honors its fallen hero


Lucas Jablonski, Staff Writer

It’s been four years since the first installment of Black Panther was released.  It’s been two years since actor Chadwick Boseman, known for playing the titular Black Panther, lost his four year battle to colon cancer.  The monumental task of honoring this fallen actor, and continuing the legacy of a movie that previously grossed 1.3 billion dollars worldwide, fell on the shoulders of director Ryan Coogler.  In a recent interview with “Variety,” Coogler said of the challenges of creating this new installment, ” ‘For us on that movie, the interpersonal and the professional are fused together, which happens sometimes,’ he says. ‘It’s a human thing. We caught it with the cameras. ‘It was a real thing happening there,’ he continues, speaking of the deep familial bonds built between the cast. ‘Specifically with Letitia[Wright] and Chad[Boseman], you know. Specifically with them.’ ”  After the shocking death of their lead, and close friend, the cast and crew of Black Panther had to react and adapt to bring this new iteration to the big screen.  And they did, with striking results. 

Warning: there are (minimal) spoilers ahead

From creating an underwater, Mesoamerican city, to depicting a battle between two powerful, advanced civilizations, this movie was a success.  Opening on the frantic efforts of l Wright’s Shuri trying to find a cure for her brother(T’challa)’s ailment and the subsequent Wakandan funeral celebration, Chadwick Boseman is honored.  Reflecting real life, this movie shows the pain and grief that followed Boseman’s death, especially affecting Angela Bassett (Queen Ramonda) and Letitia Wright who share the focus throughout the movie. 

Not only does this movie honor its fallen hero, but it also introduces a new civilization with historical significance and power.  The kingdom of Talocan, a Mesoamerican city deep underwater,  brings a new Vibranium-fueled city to the Marvel Universe.  Led by Tenoch Huerta’s Namor, a thousand year old mutant with wings on his ankles and the ability to travel both underwater and on land, the people of Talocan bring a war to the Wakandans.

After the first battle, spurred by the killing of one of Talocan’s own, in which the Queen is slain and Wakanda is flooded, Shuri decides  to take on the mantle of the Black Panther.  The newly invigorated Wakandan nation set on revenge takes the fight to Talocan, and before the casualties mount, Shuri and Namor make a truce and further damage is averted.

Overall, this movie is a superb example of what a group of people, dedicated to their craft and their message, can accomplish even when they lose their leader.  With stunning visuals, a fantastically well-developed story, and multiple additions to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, this movie deserves all of the praise it receives.

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is in theaters now.  To read the full Variety Interview of Letitia Wright, Angela Bassett, and Ryan Coogler, go to Black Panther Interview.