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Review: ‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’ exceeds expectations

Graphic by Sarah Irwin

On Aug. 28, 2020, beloved actor Chadwick Boseman tragically passed, and his death left many wondering if another Black Panther film could ever be created that would credit his excellence. The recently released “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” did just that, paying respect to Boseman while also exploring the shared experiences of Black and Latinx communities.

Boseman was a talented actor and his role as Black Panther inspired the Black community in a way that had never been done before. Being the first major Black Marvel hero to receive their own movie was a big deal for representation. The character King T’Challa was not recast after Boseman’s passing; instead, he also faced an on-screen death.

The film opens with clips of Boseman as T’Challa inside the Marvel logo instead of the traditional montage of superheroes. T’Challa’s death is grieved throughout the entirety of the film. His family copes with his passing differently, which adds realism because people deal with grief in unique ways. The consistent honoring of his memory definitely includes a few tear-jerking scenes.

Because of T’Challa’s death, the outside world feels as if Wakanda has lost its leader. As a result, government officials attempted to steal their most powerful resource, a metal called vibranium. 

This leads to the discovery of the Talokan as they are revealed to also have access to vibranium. Their leader is Namor, who goes on a quest to keep government officials at bay while proposing a partnership with the Wakandans which eventually starts a war between them.

The Talokans are based on ancient Mayan and Mesoamerican civilizations, and they’re all cast with Latinx actors. The introduction of the Talokan was a great decision for the MCU because it allows for a positive representation of the Latinx community. They wear culturally significant clothing and speak their own language.

The conflict between the two nations and the eventual resolution was beautifully done. It addresses racial division in a way that can be easily understood. The surface world divides the two groups similarly to the way communities of color are often turned against each other. In the end, they realized they had the same enemy with different methods of resolving the problem – similar to T’Challa and Killmonger from the first film.

The movie ends with a heartwarming scene that, again, might require a few tissues. The attention to detail and preservation of the cultural richness of the original film makes “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” an incredibly sentimental piece.

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