Black Panther sequel does beloved legacy justice

On Nov. 11, 2022, the long-awaited sequel of Black Panther, “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” was released. This movie beautifully marked the end of phase four and the beginning of phase five in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

The film addresses the death of Chadwick Boseman, the actor who played the original Black Panther, T’challa. They laid down his legacy by continuing to speak about his character and his character’s life, allowing Chadwick’s legacy as Black Panther to live on.

In the beginning of the movie we learn that T’challa had a disease that he kept hidden from his family. The movie then sequences to his funeral, where actresses Angela Bassett and Letitia Wright, who play Ramonda and Shuri, expertly portray the loss of a brother and a son. As an audience member, you can feel their grief through the screen. 

The movie begins with a group of researchers using a vibranium detector before they are attacked by the “villains” of the movie, the Talokanils, who are “powerful” underwater beings. The movie portrays the Talokanils as if they are this unstoppable force, but I never got the sense that they were that powerful. The weapons they used seemed ineffective and not as modernized or more advanced than the Wakandans’. 

This is also where we are first introduced to Namor, the main antagonist. Namor comes out of the water and speaks to Ramonda about joining forces to protect their land’s vibranium, which is a great deal – Wakanda and Talokan would be obnoxiously powerful together. 

Ramonda is rightfully cautious about his presence. Namor tells Ramonda that he will kill the scientist who created the vibranium detector and leaves the cliche, basic marvel open offer for Ramonda to either help him or not get in his way. Shuri ends up going to go protect the unknown scientist which doesn’t make sense because Namor just threatened them. 

Shuri and Okoye find out the scientist is an MIT student named Riri Williams (my favorite character), played by Dominique Thorne. Thorne’s depiction of a teenager is one many actors can’t portray as accurately. Whenever Riri is on screen I find myself laughing at her one-liners. Her action scenes don’t bore me and I don’t find her to be as cringy as I do when other movies try to incorporate a “relatable” teenage character. 

Shuri and Okoye inform Riri that they need to protect her from danger. However, they could have avoided this whole conflict if they just let Namor kill her. But they are good and believe innocent people don’t deserve death. 

Riri and Shuri end up getting kidnapped and the scene changes to Shuri and Riri waking up in Talokan, where Namor takes Shuri to show her the beautiful underwater city and his point of view, which is to protect his people and their most used material. Even though Namor is the antagonist of the movie, he has excellent points.

When Riri and Shuri are rescued from Talokan they are attacked by Namor and his army as they flood the city of Wakanda and the palace, sadly killing Ramonda in the process. Shuri then spirals into a completely valid mindset of revenge and decides to take the mantle of Black Panther herself. This transformation was exhilarating, surprising and satisfying. 

This gives us a kind of mediocre basic marvel fight scene, but the part I enjoyed was when Shuri dragged Namor to a desert, which left him weak and vulnerable. Right when it seems Shuri is going to rightfully kill him, she ends up showing him mercy. This results in a powerful alliance formed between Wakanda and Talokan. Shuri heads to Haiti where it is revealed that T’challa had a son with Nakia named Toussaint or his Wakandan name T’challa giving a sense of continuation of the Black Panther mantle. 

My overall score of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is an 8/10. Even though this was one of the better Marvel movies recently, it still has the generic fight scenes and most of the same familiar Marvel comedy.  Some comedic lines were funny so it does still have the comedy property to it which boosts its score. 

The only big gripe is that the movie hyped up the “bad guys” too much. Nevertheless, this was one of the better Marvel movies because it was able to bring excitement and a new, fresh feeling to the audience. The message of the movie was also very compelling in the way it took us through the loss of people dear to us and the path that can lead us down, one of spite, hatred and revenge. The end also shows us that we can show mercy and alliance even to the ones who have wronged us. The end of the movie also gives us more to hope for and a sense of acceptance and opening a new chapter in life.