Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
This is a brilliant film that makes its length of 2 hours, 41 minutes fly by. See it at an IMAX, if possible.
I embraced this film from beginning to end. Sure, there were some complicated subplots combined with multiple characters that were tough to follow, but the film never loses its focus.
To begin with, it starts by honoring the late Chadwick Boseman, who played King T’Challa in the original film. Like many of us who respected Mr. Boseman for his great work in a series of films, the residents of Wakanda embraced our collective agony.
In any event, Angela Bassett, who played T’Challa’s mother Ramonda, emerges as the leader of Wakanda. Seeking to protect her country’s unique source of vibranium, she is forced to confront world leaders to eliminate future attacks across her country’s borders.
Good people die in this film, so I dare not give anything away. However, since it had a domestic first weekend gross of $180 million, a November box office record, most of you will want to see this movie.
Forced to emerge as Wakanda’s leader, T’Challa’s sister, Shuri (Letitia Wright), leads a group to fight off an invasion of an undersea nation led by Namor, played by Tenoch Huerta Mejía in an unforgettable role. Seldom will you be so mesmerized by such a hateful character.
To Director Ryan Coogler’s credit, this film is filled with some fantastic battle scenes, both on land and at sea. In addition, an all-star black cast fights to save their home country. Danai Gurira stands out in her role as the bald-headed Okoye, Shuri’s assistant and Lupita Nyong’o displays her talent as the war dog Nakia.
Ironically, there are a couple of small roles by white actors, which includes Martin Freeman as a CIA ally Everett Ross and his nasty boss (and ex-wife) played by Julia Louis Dreyfus. You have a feeling both will likely appear in any future films.
Let me close by noting two things. The first is that Wakanda joins The Woman King and Till as two great films with a cast dominated by African American actors. This is a significant social step forward for Hollywood.
Secondly, like The Woman King, Wakanda focuses on the role that racism played as Europe began conquering North and South America beginning in the 1500s. The undersea nation led by Namor was originally from the Yucatan until driven to the sea by the Spanish to escape the spread of smallpox.
This is an entertaining film that has meaning.