Nathan is a film critic and aspiring author with a true passion for the film industry who hopes his writings will help launch his career.
Marvel made it clear from the start that T'Challa would not be recast after the tragic passing of Chadwick Boseman. It's no surprise that this decision divided fans. Many believed it was important to keep T'Challa alive in order to preserve Chadwick's legacy. Others believed it's a good thing that the mantle would be passed on so that Chadwick is forever memorialized as the first MCU Black Panther, one we can all look back on and remember rather than feeling he was replaced. Both sides have valid points. But it's not for us to decide.
I feel that the Black Panther sequel Wakanda Forever paid tribute to Chadwick in a beautifully heartfelt way and that Marvel made the right decision in not recasting. Before I jump into the film like usual, I'm going to do something a little different. I'm going to start with a little praise for the cast.
Letitia Wright was outstanding. As close as everyone was in the first film, I imagine the loss of Chadwick Boseman was like losing a brother, or at least a close family member. Letitia channeled her pain, her sorrow, her grief all into this performance. Everything she expressed throughout the film felt raw and real, probably because a lot of it was. Angela Bassett as Queen Ramonda also had some particularly moving scenes that were incredibly emotional and heartbreaking. Danai Gurira was more than a badass warrior this time around. She was someone who was recovering from losing her best friend, and having that headbutting with the Queen who had lost her son made the film feel all the more personal. That's why, lastly, I'd like to give Tenoch Huerta praise as well. The film was framed to feel like we had all lost our best friend, so Namor's invasion was like an invasion on our friend's home...a move that we all in the cast and audience took personally. Tenoch was able to make his villain intimidating without being disrespectful, something that would have been a difficult task for anyone to take on in this film. I look forward to seeing what Tenoch's future in the MCU will hold.
The film opened with Shuri desperately trying to recreate the plant that gave the Black Panther his powers. She wanted to use it to save T'Challa from an unspecified illness that was rapidly killing him, a parallel to the reality of Boseman's passing. One year later, Wakanda is still recovering from the loss of T'Challa and many wonder who will be their protector now. Meanwhile, it's discovered that sea-dwellers have been attacking Wakandan ships, trying to find the location of a scientist that had created a machine capable of detecting vibranium. Caught between protecting the scientist and protecting her country, Shuri now has the burden of Wakanda's future on her shoulders, and Namor isn't one to be trifled with.
It's hard to think of any other storyline being as perfect as this one was to honor Chadwick Boseman all the while propelling the MCU forward. A nation under attack, a unified people grieving... And hope being restored with the introduction of Riri Williams aka Ironheart and an echoes from the past piecing together Shuri's heart and soul. Chadwick would be proud and I hope he can see how loved and missed he is.
In conclusion, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is a remarkable film, perfect in every way, and its credit scene is one you will not forget. I give the film a 4 out of 4.
© 2022 Nathan Jasper