Remembering Chadwick Boseman: 'Black Panther: Wakanda Forever' review

Kristofer Purnell - Philstar.com
Remembering Chadwick Boseman: 'Black Panther: Wakanda Forever' review
Scene from "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever"
Marvel Studios

(Minor spoilers)

MANILA, Philippines — Some time has passed yet the world is still feeling for the tragic loss of Chadwick Boseman, but director Ryan Coogler has pushed on to continue the story of the hero Boseman once portrayed while also paying tribute to the late actor in "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever."

Uncertainty was already at hand following Boseman's death especially when he was so associated with the figure of the Blank Panther on a nearly mythic level; that is why Coogler deserves so much commendation for navigating us through that grief.

"Black Panther: Wakanda Forever" follows the remaining characters in the fictional African country, dealing with the passing of T'Challa, all while the world has their eyes on the advanced nation and new threat emerges from the oceans in the face of an equally-driven leader.

Coogler and co-screenwriter Joe Robert Cole don't hide the fact this film is driven by many emotional beats, and it starts with the off-screen death of T'Challa later mourned separately by Letitia Wright's Shuri and Angela Bassett's Ramonda.

This heartbreaking sequence is then followed by the now-iconic Marvel Studios title card, which for this film is completely silent to let audiences better embrace the images of Boseman (akin to the Stan Lee tribute from 2019's "Captain Marvel").

These are just a few moments that show just how pivotal Boseman and his T'Challa was to the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) and specifically Wakanda, whose protection now lies in strong female figures.

With that, Wright, Bassett, Lupita Nyong'o, and Danai Gurira must be praised for rising up to high expectations, able to display strength while clearly hurting in their own ways.

Wright, in particular, was brought to even bigger territory, and putting aside her off-camera issues, her Shuri has dealt so much blows, it is amazing to see her push through to find the closure she seeks.

Related: Lupita Nyong’o on how Black Panther 2 brought healing after Chadwick Boseman’s passing

Nyong'o and Gurira both display their prowess and camaraderie quite well, even Michael Coel as Aneka even with limited time, and one cannot help but be excited for what more is in store for Dominique Thorne's Riri Williams or Ironheart.

But rivalling Wright in performance is Bassett, who on at least two occasions dominated the screen with powerful words. No one has gone through pain as much as her Ramonda, but she never faltered in putting her people first.

Comparisons will be drawn out from Tenoch Huerta's Namor — who is more like Michael B. Jordan's Killmonger than any character in DC's "Aquaman" — but the similarities in his Talocan kingdom and Wakanda show Marvel is better handling the framing of antagonists.

Speaking of, "Black Panther" was a cultural display of excellence and this sequel only amplifies that further with incredible world-building, more beautiful costumes by Ruth Carter, stunning sets by Hannah Beachler and Jason T. Clark, and touching music by Ludwig Göransson.

Talocan alone is such a well-crafted world that puts DC's Atlantis to shame, almost a preview of the upcoming "Avatar: The Way of Water," it's almost unbelievable that it's just one of several eye-catching set pieces throughout "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever."

The film does shift locations numerous times, which can be forgiven since the cast is spread out, but the runtime and editing do not take away from the emotional journey Coogler is asking audiences to go on.

There are points in the movie that show how people deal with loss and grief, some with techonology, others through tradition, and few spiral into vengeance, and all that come together to build what is another excellent Marvel movie.

People may forget that this is the final film in the MCU's fourth phase, and there are several things to be excited about given the film's subtle details and surprise appearances, but at its core, "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever" is helping us find closure.

Boseman's presence and soul beats through the film even if he is longer with us; for that we will remember him as a man taken from world much too soon, but not before he changed it for the better, something we can hopefully aspire to do as well.

RELATED: Wakanda Forever draws inspiration from Mayan and Mesoamerican culture









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