Review: Black Panther: Wakanda Forever


This haunting photo was one of the first released by Marvel, illustrating the gap made by Boseman’s death.

The long-awaited Black Panther: Wakanda Forever was finally released on November 11, 2022, having been delayed a few times due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The movie had its production troubled by the death of its main star, Chadwick Boseman, in 2020, and the grief from that seems to be hovering around the movie. But director Ryan Coogler managed to use that to tell a fitting story that not only paid tribute to Boseman but made sure to move the story forward in the passionate way that Boseman would have wanted. I went to see the movie on opening day, and here are my thoughts.

In the movie, King T’Challa is dead and the world is looking to Queen Ramonda to lead Wakanda. In the year since T’Challa died, Ramonda has been struggling to deal with keeping Wakanda a sovereign nation, as well as dealing with her grief. Queen Ramonda, Shuri, M’Baku, Okoye, and the Dora Milaje have to fight to protect their nation from intervening world powers in the wake of King T’Challa’s death. As the Wakandans try to move forward, a new threat arises, making the possibility of Wakanda being conquered very real.

I went into this movie expecting a sad tribute to Boseman while having some kind of small story. Instead, the cast and crew managed to craft an amazing film that did exactly that, while moving the legacy of the Black Panther forward in an amazing way. The screenwriters and cinematographer gave the movie great dialogue and visuals to enhance the story even further. The movie revolves around the gaping hole that needs to be filled by the death of T’Challa, both as a king and as the Black Panther. The characters who now stand in his shadow, almost all of them women, are desperate to fill the void, and they’ll need all the courage to do this. Due to this, this movie is less a typical Marvel movie, driven by light-and-magic effects, than an exciting and engrossing geopolitical movie. 

While this seems amazing, the movie does have its weaknesses. The runtime is far too long. Some scenes feel unnecessary, and the movie feels slow in general. But, “Wakanda Forever” has a slow-burn emotional suspense, which was necessary due to the circumstances. Once the film starts to pick up speed, it doesn’t stop, making the film even better. The main character is now Princess Shuri, and we travel with her through her evolution from sorrowful tech-head to a forced politician to the carrier of her brother’s legacy as the Black Panther. But it isn’t all sadness and gloom; M’Baku manages to bring some humor into the movie, giving the movie some scenes where the theater will laugh out loud. 

In the climax, the heroes of “Wakanda Forever” are fighting for their lives, their nation, and their fallen king, and the movie lets us touch the ruthlessness of their devotion. They eventually manage to fill the void left by Boseman, and you just know that T’Challa is happy wherever he is. With brilliant cinematography, dialogues, and cameos (especially that villain), this movie is definitely the best movie from Marvel Phase 4, and a must-watch for all.