High Five Review: Black Panther: Wakanda Forever embraces its legacy

by Matthew Escosia
Black Panther Wakanda Forever still
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By: Alissa Evangelista

 

Wakanda Forever sets a different tone for the Black Panther franchise. Photo by Marvel Studios

SEA Wave shares its High Five review for “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever”, the latest film from Marvel Studios and final entry on its Phase 4 line-up.

 

Note: This article contains spoilers from Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

The much-awaited sequel to the 2018 film, Black Panther, was made available on big screens, revealing the biggest question fans had for the longest time.

How would they portray King T’Challa now that Chadwick Boseman has passed?

Mysteries solved

It did not take long for the viewers to find out as the first ten minutes of the film satisfy the curiosity of fans. “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” reveals the expected news that King T’Challa, played by Boseman has fallen ill from an unknown disease.

Shuri, T’Challa’s sister, played by Letitia Wright, was asked to replicate the heart-shaped herb, but fails to do so in time to save her brother. Now, Wakanda falls under her and her mother’s hands, and these women need to battle the looming global threat of acquiring Vibranium, a powerful metal that was known to be only present in their land. Not to mention the certainty among fans that there will be a new anti-hero introduced.

Interestingly, the said anti-hero may be contrary to expectations. As a tribe hidden underwater, Talokan has a lot of similarities with Wakanda. Their unbeatable strength and myriad of superpowers may raise eyebrows, but their backstory was well-crafted and took inspiration from the actual Mayan culture.

Hallmark of representation

With this given standpoint, Wakanda Forever proves to be the hallmark of representation in the MCU. The film goes beyond Black representation by creating the nation of Talokan, which champions Latin American representation. Coupled with a female-dominated Wakanda leadership and Shuri mastering the STEM field, the film also did not overlook women empowerment even through the small details.

Lingering grief

What makes Wakanda Forever stand out among others in the MCU is its lingering grief throughout the movie. The 2-hour and 41-minute runtime felt necessary to give the characters time to grieve in the film. Yet, seeing the aftermath of the film, it was not a lot of plot building to allot that much time for Wakandans to mourn in the film. It might have been more for the benefit of the viewers to digest all the events that occurred in Wakanda, knowing that their leader is gone even outside of the film universe.

At the end of the day, tributes cannot be rushed, and Wakanda Forever teaches us to embrace just that. The film weaves its tribute-on-tribute narrative as it opens with the traditional Marvel title sequence dedicated to Boseman, tackles the plot with respect to the memories and legacies built by T’Challa, and finally closes with a post-credit scene as a tribute to Boseman’s contributions to the MCU.

Loose ends for the future of MCU

As the film wraps up, it left a few loose ends where the next film installment may pick up from, excellently transitioning to the future. Namor, the leader of the underwater kingdom of Talokan, implies that the war waged with Wakanda and the surface world has yet to end, as he reassures his cousin Namora after he surrendered. On the brighter side, it was confirmed that T’Challa’s son lives far from Wakanda. With the next films potentially set in the future, we will sure see more of Wakanda and how T’Challa’s son will play out as their leader.

Photo by Marvel Studios

Initially doubting himself due to the emotional costs brought about by producing another Black Panther film, Director and co-writer of “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever”, Coogler returns in production. He says, “I decided that it made more sense to keep going.” after taking a trip down memory lane on his friendship with Boseman.

Verdict

Previously faced with uncertainties, “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” managed to restore a clean slate for its future installments. With Boseman’s T’Challa plotline coming to an end, we can expect to see new faces lead the installment as it traverses the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Even with Boseman forever gone from the film, the collective efforts of the cast and production made Wakanda Forever a film to remember.

SEA Wave rates the movie a 4.5 out of 5 waves!

“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” is now showing in cinemas nationwide!

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