Wakanda Forever- A time of healing
Wakanda Forever, the sequel to Black Panther, is back! This time without its star Chadwick Boseman who tragically passed away in 2020. Wakanda Forever addresses his death by also killing his character T’Challa. Shuri (Letitia Wright) who is distraught that she is unable to save her brother and tries to recreate the herb that was destroyed by Killmonger in the first film. The funeral for her T ‘Challa is stunning and pulls on the audience heartstrings so much that we feel the loss with Shuri and Queen Ramonda (Angela Bassett), as well as all Wakanda.
Source: Marvel Entertainment Youtube Channel
Many people have had different reactions to Wakanda Forever, but overall people have said, and I agree that this was a beautiful tribute to Chadwick Boseman. The feelings of grief, pain, and anger that Shuri goes through in the movie are parallel to Killmonger’s motivation in the first movie to “burn the world”. It is this pain, grief and anger that drives Shuri throughout the move. Some of the characters from Black Panther, like Okoye (Danai Gurira), as we get to see more of her personality; but we forget that Queen Ramonda, is also grieving and when Okoye makes a mistake this changes Okoye’s direction and position in the Dora Milaje. There’s a scene between Okoye and Queen Ramonda (Angela Bassett) that is so intense that it's giving Oscar buzz.
Namor (Tenoch Huerta Mejia), like T'Challa, wants to protect his people, who are called the Talokan. The tie into Black Panther comes when Namor isn’t happy that T’Challa has let the world know about the vibranium in Wakanda, because of this, some nations are trying to find vibranium in other places, like underwater. Namor asks Queen Ramona and Shuri to find the maker of the machines that can find vibranium underwater and bring her to him. He is talking about MIT student Riri Williams (Dominique Thorne).
Wakanda Forever’s theme is family, loyalty, and unity. Shuri endures so much loss both personally and amongst the people of Wakanda. One of the relationships that surprised me was between Shuri and M’Baku (Winston Duke). M’Baku takes more of a leadership and Uncle role to Shuri this time and even states to her that her brother wanted him to be there for her. The Dora Milaje without their leader Okoye, find new leadership with Ayo (Florence Kasumba) and Aneka (Michaela Coel) see the force of the Talokan people but like Okoye do their best to keep them safe. Shuri also finds comfort with Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o). We learn that Nakia has secrets of her own.
There was plenty of action in this movie. The fight scenes between the Talokan’s and the Wakanda Warriors and Namor and Shuri were so well choreographed. Shuri and Namor both learn that protecting your people may lead to you putting your feelings and pride aside and working together is better than working against each other. Wakanda Forever takes you on an emotional rollercoaster. From the start of the movie, we, the audience along with Wakanda deal with losing our King T’Challa to Namor coming to the realization that being an extremist with protecting his people may not be the best thing for his people; along with letting us grieve T’Challa with Shuri and Wakanda.
Wakanda Forever gives us a peek on what this movie ties into in the Marvel Universe. There is a potential show highlighting Dora Milaje, featuring Okoye, Ayo, and Aneka. We will also see Riri Williams again in the Disney Plus show Iron Heart. Riri had some great one-liners and broke the tension of this heavy movie. Some people didn’t see the point of her in the movie. I saw her as a light for Shuri, who was in a dark place due to the recent losses she endured. Riri of course was there for audiences to become familiar with her. We also know that this is not the last time we will be seeing Shuri and Namor. I look forward to seeing them both again. Tenoch has a big screen presence, and he commands your attention every time he is on the screen. Is Wakanda Forever a perfect movie? No! It does feel a little long but overall, it is a solid sequel to Black Panther and the progression of the Black Panther story in the marvel Universe, but this movie is a wonderful opportunity for fans of Chadwick Boseman, our T'Challa to say goodbye!