The death of Chadwick Boseman is the most tragic event related to the reality of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The actor was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2016, but he kept this fact a secret from almost everyone. And he accepted the role of Black Panther with a clear awareness of his illness, without warning anyone at Marvel and Disney. So Boseman’s death in 2020 was a shock for everyone and forced the film crew to reconsider plans for the sequel to “Black Panther”, which was then planned specifically for Chadwick. The script had to be completely redone. How such changes were made in the final version of “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” – read in the review below.
“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” / Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
Directed by Ryan Coogler
Starring Letisha Wright, Danai Gurira, Dominic Thorne, Tenoch Huerta, Martin Freeman
Release year 2022
The death of King T’Challa, who was also the Black Panther, due to an unknown disease was a shock for all of Wakanda. Mourning within the state lasts about a year, and Shuri (Letish Wright) also personally blames herself for the death of her brother, because she could not quickly find a cure. The death of the Black Panther also weakened the position of the Wakandans in the geopolitical arena, because of this, many states renewed their attempts to invade Wakanda for the rare mineral vibranium. But it turns out that vibranium can be found in other parts of the world. And this brings Wakanda into conflict with the underwater state of Talokan and its harsh ruler Nemor (Tenoch Huerta).
The film sets its minor tone from the first frames. The opening few scenes of Wakanda Forever are a farewell to T’Challa, staged as beautifully and authentically African as it is sad. Basically, the entire movie is a two-hour epitaph to Chadwick Boseman. And this fact was reflected in all elements of cinema.
At the very least, it affects the humor that the Marvel Cinematic Universe has always been known for. Sometimes with comedy, individual directors frankly overstep, as, for example, in “Thor 4”. “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” against this background seems as serious as possible. There are almost no jokes here, and those that are present are presented as unobtrusively as possible and are based on non-standard situations rather than on the internal clowning of individual characters.
Most of the film comic in principle feels quite down-to-earth and even personal. The key driver of the story this time is not some large-scale event or supernatural threat, but the death of T’Challa. The heroes do not forget about her for a moment, and the strongest moments of the movie unfold not in large-scale and creative battles, as it is established within the MCU, but against the background of touching heartfelt dialogues.
However, the authors did not forget about action. He especially surprises and entertains in the first half of the film – at the expense of all the same down-to-earthness. The local scene of the city chase gives the spirit of “Jack Reacher” and the first parts of “The Fast and the Furious”. And it ends with a duel battle, in which every blow is felt almost tactilely. Which testifies to the competent staging of the entire battle.
Excellent production is one of the main strengths of the entire film. Coogler here mixes slow-mo, unusual cinematography, colorful plans and elaborate choreography in neat proportions. He does not forget about ethnofuturism, which made the first “Black Panther” famous. Watching Wakandan traditions and technology on film is very interesting and at a high level aesthetically.
Moreover, the ideas of ethnofuturism find their development in the state of Talokan, which was presented in the film. Wakanda is an interesting contrast to him. Talokan was also based on an ancient civilization (Aztec), but instead of technology, he followed a mystical path. However, its population also tries to live happily in isolation. It would seem that they should quickly get along with the Wakandians, but some ideological differences do not allow them to coexist peacefully.
In the clash between Wakanda and Talokan, the geopolitical themes of the Black Panther sequel are also revealed. After all, we are shown that two similar peoples can go to war against each other due to the presence of external threats or valuable resources. At the same time, the rest of the world will use the situation for their own purposes. The implications of these questions do not go further, but against the background of the latest Marvel films, it is extremely pleasant to watch something like this.
But the final battle, for the sake of which someone may go to the new “Black Panther”, is rather disappointing here. The background itself is very boring for her, because an iron pillar in the middle of the ocean is not the most creative location for a pathetic battle. The battle itself quickly turns into a ruckus, and the scenario justification of the forces of the inhabitants of Talokan turned out to be very strained. And in some places, it will be possible to find huge plot holes without any problems.
But Nemor turned out to be an excellent antagonist. He looks menacing in every appearance, but at the same time his goals and motives are as logical as possible. As in the comics, Nemor in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is more of an anti-hero than a full-on villain. And I want to see him in future Marvel movies.
Also, the second “Black Panther” introduces another important character from the comics to the film universe – Riri Williams (Dominic Thorne), also known as Iron Heart. In the comics, this is the heiress of Iron Man, who managed to assemble her own armor. In the film, she has almost no connection with Tony Stark, although there are some homages to the character of Robert Downey Jr. But Riri herself, who was suddenly drawn into the conflict between two mega-powers, is interesting to watch. Dominic Thorne managed to embody a charismatic character on the screen, which also has an interesting dynamic with Shuri. Unless Riri’s new armor turned out somehow too cartoony.
The entirety of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever can also be seen as the story of Shuri, her acceptance of her brother’s death and her legacy. The entire Wakandan people took T’Challa’s death hard, but it was Shuri who took the loss at the level of personal responsibility. Every decision she makes in the story is based on the bitterness of loss. And it adds extra depth to the film.
“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” stands out not only among the rest of the films of the fourth phase, but also against the background of the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe. There are jokes, and battles, and fanservice, and the development of MCU storylines. But still, every minute of the movie is permeated with melancholy and sadness. Be prepared that traditional popcorn entertainment will not work here.
And immediately about the scenes after the credits. She is the only one here, and in the middle of the credits. So there is no need to wait until the end. And the scene itself reveals one important fact that shows that Marvel has ambitious plans for Black Panther.
Pros: melancholic tone of the story, pleasant down-to-earthness, good graphics, quality production, interesting antagonist Cons: plot holes, boring final battle Conclusion:
“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” is a unique comic book, but the circumstances that allowed it to become so are very sad. It has objective flaws, but I don’t want to emphasize them too much. After all, as a farewell to the talented actor Chadwick Boseman, he succeeded 100%