Concluding with a tribute

‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’ stays true to origins and remembers Boseman

Laynie Clark, Managing Editor

Rating: 4.0 stars

“Without the Black Panther, Wakanda will fall.”

Marvel Studios shocks the world yet again with their newest release, “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.” The highly-anticipated film has audiences weeping in their seats and well after their departure from the theater. 

After the heartbreaking passing of Chadwick Boseman in 2020, fans were skeptical about how Marvel would be able to continue the “Black Panther” legacy. Fortunately, Marvel decided to proceed with making the new film without recasting Boseman, which left fans wondering how they would honor Boseman’s presence without forgoing the storyline. 

“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” begins in the Wakandan nation on a somber note as the characters are seen mourning the death of their fallen Black Panther, who is represented through hand-painted murals on the sides of buildings and personal engravings on the casket. Music by Ludwig Göransson drifts throughout the scene, leaving the audience in a nostalgic state of remembrance and sadness as they recall the brilliant work Boseman accomplished for the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). 

In the film, the world is converging on the vital vibranium resource housed inside Wakanda. Queen Ramonda — played with power by Angela Bassett —consistently converses with other nations to reassure them Wakanda is not dangerous and will not use their abundance of vibranium to create weapons, though the other nations have discreet plans of their own. 

The antihero, Namor — played by Tenoch Huerta — is introduced to the audience as the leader of a population native to the ocean. His people’s history is tied to greater Mesoamerican history, which is seen in their costumes and language. Like Wakanda, the underwater city, of Talokan also happens to be rich in vibranium, and Namor will go to great lengths to protect it. 

Unlike the previous film, “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” centers its storyline around Shuri — played by Letitia Wright — and a new face to the MCU in RiRi Williams, played by Dominque Thorne. The pair feed off one another perfectly as they weave their way through persistent raids by the government. Additionally, Shuri’s relationship with Ramonda is the stronger link in the film. As a mother, Ramonda urges Shuri to search for a way to create another Black Panther, but Ramonda is aware of the greater forces at play with Namor. 

While the film exceeded all visual and emotional expectations, the action scenes were rather lackluster. Outside of a few notable fight sequences at the beginning, the action lacked originality and depth, leaving a stench of dissatisfaction in the air; however, this is not surprising, seeing as this is a running theme in the newer Marvel productions like “Thor: Love and Thunder.”

“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” is a film that pays its respects to Boseman while staying true to the original content. With a step up in visual quality and attention to legacy, the film nicely concludes this fourth phase of the MCU.