The story of the Black Panther has always been more than just the origins of another superhero in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The film itself has become a symbol of grace and beauty; a wealth of black pride that celebrates African culture through the fictional country of Wakanda. Chadwick Boseman was the face of that country; the perfect embodiment of what the Black Panther was meant to be. As an actor, he possessed such a quiet, gentle, yet commanding presence. He could convey so much with the slightest movement or expression and when he entered a room you knew you were in the presence of a king.

I’ll admit that I was a bit apprehensive to watch a Black Panther film devoid of Chadwick Boseman. At the same time, I was curious to know how the film could honor his memory while passing along the mantle of the Black Panther. I can say that the film achieves both tasks beautifully.

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever  begins with Shuri (T’challa’s younger sister) pleading internally with whatever powers that be that her brother be saved, only for her prayers to be met with silence. In the first five minutes of the movie, it’s made known that the Black Panther, the protector and king of Wakanda, has passed. It’s heartbreaking enough when it’s purely a fictional death. However, both the audience and cast aren’t simply mourning a fictional character, but Chadwick Boseman. The film portrays a hauntingly beautiful funeral ceremony in remembrance of their leader and then the screen transitions into the Marvel logo. However, instead of the usual frames of marvel movies appearing in the lettering, all the frames were of Chadwick in the original Black Panther film. It was a beautiful tribute that assured the audience that this film would not be brushing past the death of it’s hero.

Throughout the film, we see how different characters struggle and process the grief of losing such an important figure in their lives, however it’s made clear that as important as the Black Panther is, Wakanda is not any weaker because of his absence. The entire world is after vibranium and certain powers believe that they can simply walk into Wakanda and take what they want. However, they are brought to justice swiftly and easily. It’s a beautiful scene in which the audience realizes where Wakanda’s power lies. It doesn’t exist in one person alone, but in all of Wakanda. The country is in mourning, and there is no weakness in that grief. The film makes a point of Shuri not taking on the mantle of the Black Panther until the very end of the movie.

Wakanda is clearly the most powerful country to exist. And yet, a new power lies beneath the depths of the sea, a power that may rival even Wakanda; the civilization of Talokan. Talokan is another Vibranium rich civilization that is deeply inspired by Mesoamerican peoples.  There are beautiful parallels shown throughout the film that tie Wakanda and Talokan together. Both are proud civilizations and both have reason to despise the rest of the world. There is turmoil, there is anger, grief, and human weakness, but there’s also a strength that persists; a strength that exists in seeing the suffering and pain of those around you, having the ability to seek retribution and choosing mercy despite it.

It’s a beautiful film that touches on aspects of material power; what people will do to obtain it and what people will do to protect themselves from others greed.






Ruth is studying architecture at the Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning. She enjoys reading, drawing, and singing when no one's around to hear her.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *