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‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’ — Marvel’s Near-Perfect Sequel

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It’s been just over two years since Chadwick Boseman’s untimely passing, and the world is still mourning his loss. As the star of Black Panther and one of the most beloved actors in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), Boseman left a massive impact on audiences worldwide and his death shocked many; leaving fans wondering how Marvel would move forward with Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.

Fortunately, Marvel handled the situation with grace and respect by facing the daunting sadness head on. It gave its cast members and audience time to process. In a difficult decision, the studio decided against recasting the character of T’Challa and to move forward with the film regardless, but they also took the time to honor Boseman‘s life and legacy. The story opens with the death of the Black Panther at the forefront, beginning with T’Challa’s sister Shuri (Letitia Wright) praying to Bast, patron god to the Wakandans, for strength and then moving into a stoic yet celebratory funeral procession filled with Wakandan customs and flair — a fitting tribute to an actor who was the face of the franchise.

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Meet Namor the Sub-Mariner & Ironheart in their MCU debuts

Marvel’s Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is already making waves, in part due to the arrival of the anti-hero character Namor (Tenoch Huerta). The King of Talokan is named after the Aztec underwater realm of Tlaloca. He has had a long and storied history in Marvel comics, dating all the way back to 1939. Since then, he has been a major player in the Marvel comics. He often crosses paths with the likes of Black Panther, Iron Man, and Captain America. With his arrival in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, fans can finally see Namor on the big screen and learn more about this fascinating character. The character is the perfect balance of reality and fantasy, born from centuries worth of tradition through director Ryan Coogler tying Namor’s story to Mesoamerican history as well as Spanish colonization and is truly one of the highlights of this film.

 

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We also see the arrival of another brand-new character, Riri Williams, aka Ironheart (Dominique Thorne). She is a brilliant young scientist studying at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). She inadvertently created a machine that can detect vibranium, the valuable resource thought to be exclusive to Wakanda. This causes some of the issues early on in the film. She’s also notable for her self–made suit of Iron-Man-like armor which she’ll feature while headlining her own Disney+ TV show called Ironheart debuting in the Fall of 2023.

 

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Black Panther: Wakanda Forever has Outstanding acting performances from lead cast

Since King T’Challa’s passing the previous year, his mother Queen Ramonda (Angela Bassett) assumed the throne and has been trying to maintain Wakanda’s reputation as a world power. She is clearly still grief-stricken and devastated at the many losses among her family. For instance, she also lost her husband during the events of the first film. Nevertheless, she continues to fulfill her duty of leading the people of Wakanda and keeping their best interests at heart.

 

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On the other hand, we see Letitia Wright’s character, Princess Shuri, who is also dealing with the loss of her brother and throws herself into her work as a method of escaping her grief. It’s an interesting look into Shuri’s character as, according to Producer Nate Moore, the film explores Shuri’s character as “this woman who has all the tools to invent anything she wants but wasn’t able to invent a cure for her brother’s illness.” The film really follows Shuri’s emotional journey and explores how T’Challa’s death has affected her relationship with her mother Ramonda. We see her relationship to her kingdom and its ideaologies as well. This eventually leads her to come to terms with her brother’s death and taking on the mantle of Black Panther.

Other notable members of the cast that returned include Danai Gurira as Dora Milaje General Okoye, Wisnton Duke as Jabari Tribe leader M’Baku, Lupita Nyong’o as undercover spy Nakia, Florence Kasumba as Dora Milaje General Ayo, Martin Freeman as CIA agent Everett K. Ross, Michael B. Jordan as Erik Killmonger, and newcomer Michaela Coel as Dora Milaje member Aneka.

Audiences are praising this stellar sequel

Now that the film has been released to the public for a few days, here’s what audiences have been saying during Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’s $180 million domestic box office opening weekend:

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Have you seen Black Panther: Wakanda Forever yet? Let us know what you thought by tweeting us at @hollywood_com.

Looking for other movies out now? Take a look at the newest releases currently playing in theaters.

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