A Legacy That Lasts “Forever”

“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” tells a story of loss and survival that makes it one of MCU’s best releases yet


"Black Panther: Wakanda Forever" / Marvel Studios / Disney Press / Fair Use

“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” (2022) continues the legacy of the Black Panther started by Chadwick Boseman, while tackling heavier themes such as navigating grief and loss. “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” came out on Nov. 11 and received mixed reviews from critics and fans alike.

Diya Maheshwari, Lead Copy Editor

This article contains spoilers for the Marvel Studios film “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.”

“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” is one of the most highly anticipated movies of 2022. As the final Phase 4 film of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the movie closes this chapter of the beloved mega-franchise in a way that excites fans, casual viewers and critics alike.

Faced with the challenge of continuing the Black Panther legacy while honoring Chadwick Boseman’s legacy was taken into severe account while re-writing the movie. Director Ryan Coogler made the highly controversial decision to not recast King T’Challa, and pass the mantle of Black Panther on to a different character.

The film opens with Princess Shuri (Letitia Wright), struggling to find a cure for her dying brother’s mysterious illness. Up until the last moments of her brother’s life, she works diligently to cure him, but her efforts are in vain.

A year passes and the rest of the world still wants their hands on Wakanda’s valuable metal, Vibranium, but throughout the course of the film, it’s revealed that a secret underwater kingdom, Talokan, contains Vibranium deposits as well.

Princess Shuri and Queen Ramonda (Angela Basset) discover that Wakanda is not the only kingdom that has Vibranium. There’s a secret underwater kingdom named Talokan with Vibranium deposits as well.

The king of the underwater region, Namor (Tenoch Huerta) asks the Wakandans to find the American scientist and inventor of the Vibranium technology, Riri Williams (Dominique Thorne), and kill her to keep his kingdom a secret from countries who want the metal.

However, as the movie progresses, tensions between Talokan, Wakanda and the United States grow, as do the tensions between their respective leaders: Princess Shuri, Queen Ramonda (Angela Basset) and the king of the underwater region, Namor (Tenoch Huerta).

Throughout its tightly-paced narrative, “Wakanda Forever” tackles the themes of grief, vengeance and legacy while engaging viewers emotionally and visually.

The CGI in this movie is phenomenal and adds to the grandiose and cinematic nature of the film. The underwater kingdom of Talokan looks like something out of a dream, and the capital city of Wakanda radiates a feeling of strength and royalty. Compared to other MCU projects in which the CGI has been lacking (see “Thor: Love and Thunder” and “She-Hulk”), “Wakanda Forever” does an amazing job of telling a story through visual effects alone.

The action scenes are fast-paced, and the newly added element of water never fails to keep us on our toes. From the motorcycle chase at the start of the film, until the final battle, each fight scene is choreographed in a way that is unique to the characters fighting.

However, the film did not feel like a “superhero” movie. It addresses darker and more mature themes that don’t fit in place with the run-of-the-mill comic book movie. The movie is also muted in humor, action and fun, and rather depicts a much more serious story than the first film.

Personally, I felt the movie was more of a story about loss and coping mechanisms rather than saving the world from a typical bad guy, which is probably why it’s received many mixed reviews.

Namor is a king who only has his people’s safety and secrecy in mind, which makes him a great ruler, but also a dangerous figure for the Wakandans. Riri Williams adds a well-needed sense of reality and humor to the movie.

Angela Basset as Queen Ramonda arguably delivers one of the best performances in the film. She radiates royalty and serenity in every scene she is in, counteracting to the aggression of Shuri’s character.

Shuri, however, is the shining gem of this film, and Letitia Wright does a phenomenal job of portraying a grieving sister and daughter. Witnessing Shuri give into vengeance and not choose the noble path made her real rather than some super-human god who always makes the right decision. Watching the main character of a movie lose everything and chose to deal with it humanely is why this movie works so well for me.

Living up to Chadwick Boseman is something nobody can and will do, but “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” honored both him and his legacy.

“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” is currently in theaters and will be available to watch on Disney Plus in February 2023.