By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs
We lost so much when the enormously talented Chadwick Boseman,
died in 2020.
However, his legacy, and particularly the Black Panther/King T'Challa character he portrayed in the 2018 blockbuster film "Black Panther," lives on in director Ryan Coogler's
stunning and epic sequel: "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever."
Coogler, once again teams with Joe Robert Cole,
and they have created a remarkable film. "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever" masterfully balances spectacle and humor with grief and mourning in such a dignified and exemplary fashion.
From the heartbreaking opening frame of "Wakanda Forever," to its shocking ending--and really everything in between this sprawling, 160-minute cathartic story--Boseman's presence is deeply felt.
The movie begins with news that T'Challa/Black Panther has an unknown illness. Everyone is distraught. His sister, Princess Shuri (an astounding Letitia Wright, "Black Panther") is working feverishly to find a cure to save him, but she can't.
Now, the nation of Wakanda is without its fierce leader and protector. That leaves T'Challa's mother, Queen Ramonda (a superb Angela Bassett, "Wendell & Wild" and TV's "9-1-1"), as the new ruler of the Kingdom. She tries to assure everyone that T'Challa will always be with them and Wakanda will maintain its powerful standing in the world.
But will it really?
Princess Shuri is doubtful, and she can't imagine a world without T'Challa. She feels responsible for her beloved brother's death and hates that she wasn't able to find a cure in time to save him.
Wakanda is soon facing another major crisis. Some nations believe it isn't the superpower it once was. They are also eyeing its enormous and coveted supply of vibranium. Unlike her son, Queen Ramonda doesn't want to share Wakanda's vibranium. She informs prominent, greedy American leaders and others from the United Nations, that they aren't about to strip Wakanda of its pride or its precious commodity.
However, they aren't the only threat to Wakanda. France is also trying to steal its vibranium and are making a concerted effort to find it anywhere they can.
Also lurking in the shadows, or rather the water, is a powerful leader named Namor (Tenoch Huerta, "The Forever Purge"). He rules an ancient deep-sea Mayan civilization of pale, blue underwater dwelling people known as the Talokans. His people also have and use the life-sustaining coveted, vibranium. Namor, tries to convince Queen Ramonda and Shuri it's in their best interest to become allies with him. Should they really trust this pointy eared, ankle winged guy? Clearly, he has ulterior motives.
Namor wants Queen Ramonda's help to capture and kill the scientist who created a vibranium detection device. It turns out, the inventor is a spunky 19-year-old MIT student from Chicago named Riri Williams (a scene-stealing Dominique Thorne, "Judas and the Black Messiah" and the "Ironheart" Disney+ series).
With the help of their CIA Agent friend Everett K. Ross (Martin Freeman, "Black Panther" and TV's "Breeders"), Shuri and Dora Milaje leader Okoye (Danai Gurira, "Black Panther") head to Boston to meet Riri. The youngster is surprised to see them at her dorm, but soon realizes the magnitude of the situation when other FBI and CIA Agents including Ross's ex-wife and CIA director Valentina Allegra de Fontaine (Julia Louis-Dreyfus, "Black Widow") become involved in the twisty plot. Things take an alarming turn, when Namor's warriors, defeat Okoye and they take her and Shuri to Namor's underwater world.
When Queen Ramonda reaches out to Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o, "US")--who has been in Haiti for six years--to find Shuri, it's on. It also sets up a battle royale between the powerful M'Baku (Winston Duke, "Nine Days") and female driven Wakanda army and Namor's fighters.
There is so much to take in and love about "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever." The cinematography is exceptional, the costume designs from Oscar winner Ruth E. Carter
are dazzling and so are the set pieces from production designer Hannah Beachler.
Then there is Rihanna's
touching lead single "Lift me Up"
from the movie soundtrack. That, along with the dynamic final scene with Lupita Nyong'o and Letitia Wright, really makes "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever" a truly profound and Marvel-ous experience.
Behold This Trailer For "BLACK PANTHER: WAKANDA FOREVER"
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