Black Panther: Wakanda Forever – Film Review

I would be lying if I told you that I wasn’t overwhelmed with superhero movies as of late.

When I remembered that Black Panther: Wakanda Forever was around the corner from its cinematic release, admittedly, my first initial reaction was that of exhaustion and feeling underwhelmed. However, I must confess that when it comes to Wakanda Forever specifically, I am relieved to share that this movie is refreshingly different, and with so much heart.

Directed by Ryan Coogler, with its screenplay by Ryan Coogler and Joe Robert Cole, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever doesn’t shy away from the reality that Chadwick Boseman is no longer with us, and it takes that fact and runs with it. No weird twists or spins as to why T’Challa is no longer around. In fact, the film is a very sweet, honest, loving, and respectful tribute not only to Chadwick Boseman’s incredible legacy, but to the Black Panther saga as well, and I would be surprised if there was even a dry eye left in the room.

Wakanda is just as beautiful as you remember; a wonderful cultural and technologically advanced city surrounded by a lush green forest, with its people prosperous and content. If it were real and if the country was open to visitors, you’d want to travel there and be a tourist because of how colourful and stunning Wakanda appears to be. The visuals, both the special effects and costuming make Wakanda such a gorgeous, stylish, and desirable place, and it perfectly sets the backdrop for our long-awaited sequel.

Our favourite Black Panther characters return to the big screen including fierce warrior Okoye played by Danai Gurira, Lupita Nyong’o as Nakia, Angela Bassett as Queen Ramonda, and the almost scene stealing Winston Duke as M’Baku. But it is Letitia Wright who shines in this film the most as Shuri, stepping up from only being T’Challa’s science savvy sister, to being, I daresay, the finest female superhero lead in Marvel cinematic history.

The new characters including Dominique Thorne‘s Riri Williams, seamlessly fit into the Black Panther world, and while it is great to see fresh faces in the Black Panther franchise, their presence never takes attention away from the already established characters, which they all share in equal amounts.

While many superhero films focus on providing an action-packed adventure, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is so much more. Much like how the first Black Panther had so much more to say regarding politics, prejudice, and inequality, Wakanda Forever homes in on love, loss, change, anger, and grief.

What I love about this is that unlike many superhero films which display the hero almost being godlike and throwing them on a pedestal, Shuri feels human, different, and very relatable. Wakanda has lost their king and ruler, but Shuri has lost her brother and best friend. We’ve all lost (or will lose) a dear and beloved family member at some point, and I could see myself in Shuri’s anger and grief. Everyone mourns and deals with loss differently, and this film shows us just how Shuri deals with it.

Spanning 2 hours and 41 minutes, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever never feels long. Although there were moments where I feared the film would lose me, judging from the overall product, Wakanda Forever in the end did not disappoint, is uniquely charming, emotionally inspiring, and it moved me to tears.

Essentially a heartfelt coming-of-age story that boldly addresses sorrow and passionately honours Chadwick Boseman, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is a feisty, female, and ferocious film that is better than the original, and arguably one of the best in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever hits Australian cinemas this Thursday the 10th of November.

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