The positive word-of-mouth for Ryan Coogler’s “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” ( a Disney and Marvel Studios production) is spreading and at a whopping 160 minutes it appears that the emotional tug has done its job with the first reactions for the film being overwhelmingly positive.
The first installment, “Black Panther” was one of Marvel Cinematic Universe’s biggest hits, reportedly earning $700 million at the domestic box office and $1.3 billion worldwide and became the first comic book film to be nominated for best picture at the Oscars.
The sequel is powerful and emotional and pits the African nation of Wakanda against the South American/Mexican nation of Namor, an advanced and cleverly hidden nation of Talokan. The film stars Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, Winston Duke, Letitia Wright, Dominique Thorne, Florence Kasumba, Michaela Coel, Tenoch Huerta, Martin Freeman, and Angela Bassett and follows the unexplained death of King T’Challa (the late Chadwick Boseman).
As expected, the film correctly honors the late Boseman who appeared in previous Marvel movies and who passed in power in 2020 after a private battle with colon cancer.
Coogler has paid great attention to honoring Boseman and was so deeply impacted by his passing that he contemplated leaving the franchise because of his deep-seated grief. The end result is a moving tribute to Chadwick Boseman and another shining example of how our culture shows respect for our lost loved ones.
Across the board, the critics have been consistent with their praise including Variety’s Clayton Davis who praises Angela Bassett’s performance saying that the veteran actress is “commanding every scene she inhabits.”
Academy Award-winning costume designer Ruth E. Carter (“Black Panther”) is back for “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” teasing the details of the new Black Panther suit on the red carpet, pointing out the details seen in the trailer where the new costume highlights golden accents which are different than T’Challa’s purple-accented suit. The new suit also shares similarities with Shuri’s from the comic.
Power-hungry nations are attempting to find other sources of vibranium which is a deep concern for the African nation of Wakanda who, without the power and commitment of The Black Panther, has become vulnerable to seen and unseen opponents.
What makes this installment so exciting is the introduction of the underwater King Namor (Tenoch Huerta), a powerful mutant whose love for his people and his promise of keeping his hidden underwater world safe, is what drives all of his actions. To the world, he’s called K’ukulkan, the feather serpent god, but to his enemies, he is known as amore (love).
For comic book lovers who have followed these characters, the storyline in “Deadliest of the Species” by Reginald Hudlin and Ken Lashley (2009) shows Shuri wearing the Black Panther suit. A hint that’s built into the universe.
Buckle up because “Black Panther Wakanda Forever” is going to shake you up and make you think.
“Black Panther Wakanda Forever”—Here’s the final trailer: