Review: Black Panther legacy lives on

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Second Black Panther movie “Wakanda Forever” moves on after the loss of actor Chadwick Boseman Source: Marvel Studios

Crystal Garza, Writer

The highly anticipated sequel to “Black Panther” was released on Nov. 11, 2022. After the release of the groundbreaking first movie, many people have been looking forward to watching “Wakanda Forever”. The Black Panther films are some of the first to feature a black main lead character in the Marvel franchise. They are directed by Ryan Coogler, who also made the decision to cast a majority of the characters as Africans. In 2018, the release of the first movie brought in $202 million in its opening weekend. Although the second movie did not acquire as much revenue as the last, the 2022 film almost matched the last domestic debut bringing in an estimated $180 million. The 2022 film has more than 10,000 ratings on Rotten Tomatoes and has earned a 95% audience approval rating.

Around two years ago on Aug 28, 2020, Chadwick Boseman, who played T’Challa in the first Black Panther movie, passed away from colon cancer. This film has been significant to many people because it has given the audience as well as those who knew the actor a chance to mourn Boseman. Kevin Feige, the producer of the film, had previously stated that neither a digital nor recast version of his character will be used in the film. Letitia Wright played the role of Shuri– T’challa’s sister, her role in this movie has certainly increased compared to the first movie. Tenoch Huerta played Namor and discussed how “beautiful” it was to serve as a way to represent other Latino Indigenous people.

In “Wakanda Forever” the characters are put through tests to find out who they really are and show how they want the people who follow them to recognize them as they grieve the loss of loved ones. At the beginning of the movie, they show Wakanda’s people mourning the loss of the Black Panther. During T’Challa’s funeral the cast is seen dancing and wearing white, an homage to African culture, symbolizing purity and rebirth. This scene was a way of honoring Boseman’s significant legacy as well as the important character he played. One of the opening songs of “Wakanda Forever” dedicated to the mourning of T’challa was Rihanna’s new song “Lift Me Up.” When T’Challa passed away, the Wakandan people came together for a funeral procession. Soon, it became clear to the audience that his sister, Shuri, would succeed him as Wakanda’s leader.

Queen Ramonda, played by Angela Bassett, is a ruler who exemplifies Wakanda’s vibranium-tough resilience following the death of king T’challa. Shuri, who was once a rule breaking and carefree younger sister, is now portrayed as a fearless leader. In the film Shuri initially used her despair and anger as her driving force until she found herself once more. M’Baku, played by Winston Duke, and Okoye, played by Danai Gurira, fight to protect their nation from foreign intervention. War Dog, played by Lupita Nyong’o in the role of Nakia, must work with the heroes to defend the Kingdom of Wakanda. Tenoch Huerta, who protects his underwater world Tālocān, which is also rich in vibranium, is in conflict with all of these characters. He offers an allyship with Wakanda, yet turns on the nation when his initial efforts are rejected. 

Wakanda, with their advanced technology and strong leaders, fought against intervening powers in attempts to save their home. Freshman Addy Schroht said, “With the amount of culture and technology differences among the Wakanda nation and myself, I ended up with questions through the film and researched for answers after the movie.” In addition to demonstrating the extent of Wakanda’s power, most of the technology shown in the film demonstrated Shuri’s immense power over the male leaders of the other nations.

While sharing many of the same morals and values as the original Black Panther film, this culturally active and technologically advanced Marvel film has emphasized the protection Wakandans have for their land and what they want for Wakanda. They frequently ask Shuri how she will represent her people and preserve T’hhallas’ legacy without losing herself. This movie is for any fan of the Marvel franchise, due to the ability of keeping the audience emotionally engaged with the heroes and plot. 

Fans of the film do not have to worry about this being the end of this groundbreaking storyline due to the message, “Black Panther will return”, shown at the end of the film. Wakanda Forever will be showing at the Northwoods Cinema from Nov. 15 to at least Nov. 24.