Black Panther: Wakanda Forever Review


Photo Courtesy of Marvel Studios

***Spoilers for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever ahead***

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is the final installment in Phase 4 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I was not impressed with the last two Marvel movies (Doctor Strange: the Multiverse of Madness and Thor: Love and Thunder) so, I was hoping that Black Panther would make up for the last two. Thankfully my hopes came true. 

I had heard many theories about how they would handle the storyline after the passing of the lead actor, Chadwick Boseman, who passed away in 2020. I heard things like recasting or even going as far as CGI. I didn’t like either of these options as I thought it would be improper to recast, and unrealistic to try to CGI the whole movie. However, many people looked through the cast to see if an existing character could fill the role, and many thought that King T’Challa’s sister Shuri would make a fascinating choice to fill the role of the Black Panther. I had to agree as I always liked her character and thought she could give an interesting take to the role. I haven’t read the comics, but there was a comic issue where Shuri did become the Black Panther, so it was even comically accurate. 

If you’ve seen the movie you know that this is the direction they chose for the movie and I don’t think it could have gone better. They kept T’Challa’s death fairly vague, however, they hinted that the character died in a similar way to the actor, which I thought was appropriate and thoughtful. They also had this lead into an arc for Shuri as she tried to save her brother and failed, causing her guilt throughout the movie. 

With both Shuri’s father and brother dead, this leaves her and her mother, which is an unexplored bond that we get to see much of in this movie. 

The movie’s main conflict starts when Shuri and her mother are visited by a man that comes up from the sea, named Namor. He asked them to bring him a scientist that made a vibranium detector, because some people were snooping around in the ocean for vibranium and he wanted to kill the scientist. He said they weren’t allowed to tell anyone outside of Wakanda and if they didn’t do this he would go to war with them.

Okoye, the Wakanda general, takes Shuri with her to go find the scientist. Turns out she is a 19 year old college student, Riri Williams, who is an engineering genius, (her character will later become the superhero Ironheart from the comics). After meeting her they decide there’s no way that they can just hand her over and let her die, but not complying with Namor could lead to a devastating war.

Namor gets angry over these events and later in the movie starts war with Wakanda, and through a battle the queen dies saving Williams, making Shuri the queen of Wakanda.

After this tragedy, we see how Shuri reacts to the grief. She is hardened and becomes cold, and withdrawals from many. I don’t know that anyone could blame her though, as she had just lost her one remaining family member.

She focuses all her time trying to recreate the heart shaped plant that gives someone the power of the Black Panther, since Killmonger burned it all in the first movie. After much time she thinks that she accurately replicated it, and then tests it on herself.

When drinking the plant, one goes into the spirit realm. There they meet with an ancestor. In the first movie, T’Challa sees his father. It is heavily implied that Shuri will see her mother. However, when she goes into the realm she sees her cousin, Killmonger. I think this was such a good choice by the writers because it gives a great surprise most didn’t see coming, and provides an amazing cameo. The best part about this is that the cameo isn’t just a crowd pleaser, it has a great purpose. Killmonger asked Shuri what she’s going to do in her situation. Is she going to be noble like her brother, or seek out vengeance like him? I think this is the moment where we see the difference between Shuri and T’Challa, and where the writers make sure it is known that they are two very different Black Panthers. 

One thing I liked about Shuri’s pick for her Black Panther suit is the gold detail on it. This points to Killmonger’s Black Panther suit and shows again their similarities and it’s interesting that she chose the suit most similar to her cousin.

There is a big final battle to the end of the movie, there is a big battle, where Shuri almost kills Namor but she decides to show him mercy in exchange for peace. 

I think this is a good conclusion to show that even through the hardships Shuri is still a good person and can make logical decisions past grief. 

This movie was a great sequel to the iconic first Black Panther and left a lot of ends loose for more plots and later movies. It brought lots of emotion and I thought it left a great tribute to Chadwick Boseman. 

I think it shows a great insight to culture and fascinating dance and rituals. It had many bright and vibrant colors and visuals, and had a beautiful representation of how grief affects people. It was an inspiring movie that I think many Marvel fans were happy, and a bit teary, to see.