The final movie in Phase 4, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever released this week. I was looking forward to this more than usual, simply because I wanted to know how they were going to address the surprising passing of Chadwick Boseman in 2020 of colon cancer and who would pick up the mantle. I was glad that they didn’t choose to recast, and had my idea of which character would be the next Black Panther… but, Killmonger burned the garden of Heart Shaped Herbs in the first Black Panther film. I had questions.
Heading to the theater, my son and I talked about how we thought or hoped they would do it. Would they show Black Panther die in battle with some crazy CGI or would they honor him with something better?
Director Ryan Coogler dives right into that topic as the movie starts and leans right into the pain of loss shared by the other actors and fans and paints a sober picture that explores the grieving process. Bring some tissue, this is the most emotional MCU movie by far.
Angela Bassett was once again outstanding as Queen Ramonda, dealing with so much loss herself while balancing her duty to the people of Wakanda. Letitia Wright’s Shuri has evolved from the young innocent science wiz and grown into a woman filled with sadness and loss.
Winston Drake was great and funny again, as M’Baku. Danai Gurira (Okoye) was as badass as always.
Tenoch Huerta was awesome as Namor. I felt a lot of similarities of his character to the recently released DC movie, Black Adam. He makes a great anti-hero. They changed his backstory around to not sound like another Aquaman and his drive is that he wants Talokan to remain a secret from the rest of the world like Wakanda used to be. I wish we would have seen more their kingdom and how it grew to what it is, but the movie ran a little longer than it needed to already.
They introduced Riri Williams (Dominique Thorne) who will become IronHeart in her own spinoff series on Disney+ in the Fall of 2023. The character felt underwritten a bit in the movie, but they will obviously explore her story more next year.
I’m glad that T’Challla’s death wasn’t just addressed and then you move on and the rest of the movie happens. You grieve along with the characters throughout the movie. You see the cycle of pain and retribution, as a war between Wakanda and Talokan is on the brink, and then you see T’Challa’s philosophy and legacy kept alive.
The movie was good, I’ve seen it twice now. I think Shang-Chi is still my personal favorite Phase 4 movie, but this is right behind it with Spider-Man: No Way Home.
There is only a mid-credits scene that is pretty surprising, nothing after-credits this time.
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I only have one burning question, that I hoped I would see the second time I saw the movie, thinking I might have missed something. If Shuri was trying to recreate the Heart Shaped Herb to save T’Challa… does that mean he had his powers stripped from him again which then led to him getting sick because they didn’t have more herbs?
Shuri didn’t show up for the coronation party as she went to Haiti to see Nakia. M’Baku shows up to the ceremony though, and asks if anybody wants to challenge him for the throne. So will she rule, or he? If she is stripped of powers, she probably won’t beat him in battle. Does he not challenge her? Does she not challenge him? Either way, this all apparently leads up to Toussaint/T’Challa Jr. in the future as another Young Avenger in the MCU now.
Mick Lite served for 12 years in the military and is now an entrepreneur and photographer. Has worked as the official scorer and social media manager for the River City Rascals, Statistician for the Missouri Monsters and St. Louis Attack arena football teams, and as the Team Photographer and social media consultant for the St. Charles Chill, SLU Hockey, St. Louis Slam, and Gateway Grizzlies.