Warning: spoilers ahead

A beautiful dedication to Chadwick Boseman, “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” pulls on all the heartstrings and honors the legendary actor and hero. The first film, “Black Panther,” was released in 2018 and was the first leading African American superhero movie. Gaining a 96% on Rotten Tomatoes, the film focused on the rise of King T’Challa and his home nation of Wakanda. Unfortunately, Boseman passed away in August 2020 from colon cancer. His death shocked the filmmaking community. Having kept his illness incredibly private, Boseman had told few of his affliction. His passing, having come before the second film had begun shooting, left open a mantle to be filled in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

The “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” poster showcases the intense conflict between the Wakandans and Atlanteans.
Credit: IMDb

Director Ryan Coogler, who has written and directed both Black Panther movies, has spoken about the emotional, dedicated work and his final conversations with Boseman. People reported that their final conversation was for Coogler “to ask if he [Boseman] wanted to read [the script] before I got notes from the studio.” Mourning his loss and fighting agony through filming, Coogler worked tirelessly to craft a loving homage.

“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” focuses on the Wakandan nation gripping with the passing of their King. An opening that will definitely have audiences in tears, the film begins with a funeral ceremony for T’Challa. The film continues into the story of the Wakanda people, under the leadership of Shuri and Queen Ramonda, against Namor, the king of the Atlantean people. This 2 hour 40 minute blockbuster has not only awesome action-packed sequences, both at sea and in Wakanda, but also draws on all sentiments of audiences. I enjoyed the film, seeing Shuri take on the mantle and honor T’Challa properly. The final sequence on the boat includes a full battle between the Wakandan and Atlantean warriors, completing an exciting MCU Phase 4. Another great addition to the cast was the new hero: Ironheart. Playing a college student, Dominique Thorne dons her own Iron Man suit and utilizes her incredible technological intelligence. The post-credit scene, only one for this film, sets up a future filled with legacy generational success: a young T’Challa, heir to the throne of Wakanda.

This is a unique superhero film. One that is filled with seriousness, heartache, action and powerful relationships. We see how T’Challa has influenced his family, the Wakandan community and fans of the hero. Sitting in a filled theater, I earned a rare event in this post-COVID world. I saw people of all ages come together around film, proving a true cinematic experience.

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