REVIEW: Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

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Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios
By Vianney Morales

Marvel Studios’ ‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’ hit theaters this past weekend for a remarkable debut at the box office.

The film served as an honorable tribute to the late Chadwick Boseman, who portrayed the dearly beloved Black Panther in the Marvel Cinematic Universe up until his death.

The script underwent a massive rewrite following Boseman’s death, which could have turned out messy. However, the writers did the utmost justice to him.

 Shuri (Letitia Wright) is in full focus as the story’s lead protagonist. After losing her brother she goes through a spiritual crisis while trying to comprehend the loss. Her journey with grief was portrayed so honestly and beautifully. 

The movie shows Shuri struggling to choose between vengeance and honor in wake of her loss.

I genuinely took so much from this film. The message of something beautiful coming from such profound loss felt like something I could hold onto. The story at its core is extremely human.

It definitely outshines the previous Phase 4 movies. This movie didn’t feel like a money grab like other Marvel Studios movies lately. The story sprouted from genuine heartache and I think viewers would agree that the film captures how much Boseman meant to his co-stars.

Behind the message of grief, there was a captivating story of two nations that have been historically brutalized being attacked for their resources. There’s one moment in particular where there are clear parallels shown between Shuri and the film’s antagonist, Namor (Tenoch Huerta). It was one of the numerous moments where the impactful storytelling shined through.

The film functions remarkably well as a social commentary on solidarity between people of color. Without giving too much away, it sends an important message about marginalized communities rising against the oppressor rather than against each other.

Though it goes without saying, the cast is filled with enormous talent. Angela Bassett, who plays Queen Ramonda, delivers an incredible monologue. Letitia Wright admirably takes on the role of Black Panther.

Tenoch Huerta’s mere presence on screen felt so sacred and special. I have never seen Indigenous men star in powerful leading roles in Mexican films, let alone in Hollywood films. Namor’s character arc sheds a much needed light on Mexico’s brutal colonial history. I would consider him to be one of Marvel’s best villains because despite how he executes his actions, his thought process is well-understood for the most part.

While the film feels personal, it makes for a superhero film that anyone can enjoy.

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