Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

Black Panther is a 2018 American superhero film based on the Marvel Comics character of the same name. Produced by Marvel Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, it is the 18th film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  

The story line revolves around T’Challa (Black Panther) recently being crowned king of Wakanda following his father’s death, and the challenges he faces from Killmonger (Jordan), who plans to abandon the country’s isolationist policies and begin a global revolution.

The film was directed by Ryan Coogler, who co-wrote the screenplay with Joe Robert Cole, and it stars Chadwick Boseman as T’Challa/Black Panther, supported by other notables including Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, Martin Freeman, Daniel Kaluuya, Letitia Wright, Winston Duke, Angela Bassett, Forest Whitaker and Andy Serkis. 

Chadwick Boseman began his career in theatre, winning acting and directing awards. His first major film role was as a series regular on the NBC drama Persons Unknown (2010). His breakthrough performances were as baseball player Jackie Robinson in the biographical film 42 (2013), and as singer James Brown in Get On Up (2014). He achieved international fame for his role as the superhero Black Panther in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (2016-2019).    

In 2016 his final film Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom was released to critical acclaim, earning him Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations for Best Actor, and the award for Male Actor in a Leading Role from the 27th Screen Actors Guild Awards. Boseman was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2016, but continued to act until his death in 2020.

Black Panther premiered in 2018 with praise from critics for its direction, writing, acting (particularly that of Boseman, Jordan and Wright), costume design, production values, and soundtrack. Many critics considered the film to be one of the best in the MCU, and it was also noted for its cultural significance.  

It broke numerous box office records, becoming the highest-grossing film directed by a Black filmmaker, and the ninth-highest-grossing film of all time.

Given that the first Black Panther was a roaring success (no pun intended), it makes sense that the people in charge of Marvel Studios wanted a sequel. That sequel, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, deals with the death of T’Challa and a war that Wakanda fights with the underwater kingdom of Talokan. Wakanda Forever puts all of the female characters from the first film center stage, and while the actors who play them are excellent, none of the women in Black Panther were particularly well-drawn, so it is difficult to care about most of the heroes in this film, except for Queen Ramonda of Wakanda, played well by Angela Bassett.

The other stand-out performance in the film is Tenoch Huerta, who plays Namor, the charismatic king of Talokan. Huerta is a Mexican actor who has starred in a number of feature films in Latin America and Spain. He is wonderful in his role as the proud monarch Namor, to the extent that it made me cheer for Talokan to triumph over T’Chala’s homeland.

Two thumbs up for a great viewing experience!