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Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

Synopsis:
The people of Wakanda fight to protect their home from intervening world powers as they mourn the death of King T’Challa.

Table of Contents

The mourning kingdom of Wakanda faces a threat coming from the oceans in . One year after King T'Challa (Chadwick Boseman) suddenly died of an unexpected illness, his mother, Queen Ramonda (), resumed her previous role as the ruler of Wakanda. At the same time, his guilt-ridden sister Shuri () distracts herself with her technology. However, a new threat arises from the underwater kingdom of Talokan, led by Namor (), who wants the Wakandans to locate Riri Williams (), a student who created a device able to detect vibranium under the ocean. When General Okoye () brings Shuri to location Riri, the latter two end up being kidnapped by Namor's people. This results in Ramonda seeking the help of T'Challa's former love, Nakia (Lupita Nyong'o), to save her daughter.

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is the sequel by co-writer and director Ryan Coogler to 2018's Black Panther, which remains the only film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe to receive an Oscar nomination for Best Picture. Pre-production of the film was struck by tragedy in 2020 when star Chadwick Boseman suddenly died of colon cancer. The decision was made to continue the movie without recasting the role of King T'Challa, so the film was refocused to centre on the people of Wakanda as a whole. This includes Queen Ramonda, Princess Shuri, Nakia, General Okoye, and M'Baku (). Also returning from the original Black Panther is CIA agent Everett Ross (), who helps the Wakandans to locate teen tech prodigy, Riri Williams.

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever introduces a sympathetic antagonist, played by Mexican actor Tenoch Huerta Mejía, in the form of the aquatic mutant Namor, referred to by his people as the feathered serpent god K'uk'ulkan. Also known as the Sub-Mariner, Namor is typically depicted as an anti-hero, which is the case in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, as he is ready to declare war against the surface world to protect the underwater kingdom of Talokan, which turns out to be the only place in the world other than Wakanda where the powerful metal vibranium can be found. Namor requests the people of Wakanda to join him in this fight or risk eternal war.

SPOILERS Ahead

Presumably to honour Chadwick Boseman's memory, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is the most standalone film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, even more so than the original Black Panther. The only real connective tissue featured in the film is Julia Louis-Dreyfus' recent recurring character of Valentina Allegra de Fontaine, who is revealed to be not only CIA agent Everett Ross' boss, but his ex-wife. Otherwise, the film featured entirely on the conflict between the people of Wakanda and Talokan, with there not even being the traditional post-credits scene.

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever ends up being a very emotional film when it comes to honouring Chadwin Boseman, with the film opening with King T'Challa's funeral. Part of the film's narrative involves who or if T'Challa can be succeeded as the Black Panther to protect Wakanda. While the film's marketing answers the latter question, the former is relatively easy to guess for those who are paying attention.

It remains to be seen how Black Panther: Wakanda Forever would have been like if Chadwick Boseman had lived. However, the film ends up being a solid sequel and a very emotional tribute to the fallen hero. In fact, it is quite likely that the final moments of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever will shed some tears.

Trailer for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

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Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly is a freelance film critic and blogger based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.