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Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (2022) Review

Writer-director Ryan Coogler's Black Panther was a meaningful push for BIPOC visibility in comic book film and television media as the leap to live-action demanded that all aspects of comic books were reflected in their reenacted counterparts. While Marvel Comics may be closely associated with its most popular heroes such as Iron Man, Captain America, or Spider-Man, Chadwick Boseman was responsible for bringing Marvel's first Black superhero, the Black Panther, to life. Boseman's noble, poised, and pricelessly impactful role of King T'Challa was not only a necessary figure in the Marvel Cinematic Universe but became an icon who was greatly adored by all. The actor transcended his Marvel Cinematic Universe stardom and lead through an example of unwavering humility. The wake of his passing still leaves the world in mourning.

While there is time to mourn, there is also time to celebrate life. Coogler's sequel to Black Panther, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever takes time to both mourn loss and celebrate legacy with heartfelt sincerity. This worthy sequential entry into the Black Panther series matches the original at times, though at others, successfully exceeds what Black Panther first achieved. Marvel Studios has faced disapproval in the aftermath of sharky and uneven output in its most recent era, though Black Panther: Wakanda Forever replenishes what the ongoing phase has missed so significantly. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is a truly soulful approach to tackling grief through catharsis. The secondary chapter in the Black Panther saga can be praised for its groundedness and somber self-reflection. Its deviation in tone, while still hitting some Marvel predictability, is flattering to the narrative that Coogler crafted with great care.

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever anchors itself in international relations between Wakanda and Talokan, thus illustrating the vibrant cultures, rituals, traditions, and customs that are founded by each. Coogler's delicate hand guides a story to weave around the unique civilizations explored, as well as its people. Multicultural diversity honors every root of heritage-based inspiration. Letitia Wright's Shuri undergoes incredible character development: the opening scene sets the film's tone while exhibiting her maturity. Danai Gurira's Okoye and Tenoch Huerta's Namor are exceptional among a talented cast, with Dominique Thorne's Riri "Ironheart" Williams promising that her Disney+ series could be worth its wait. It'll be exciting to see powerful young women in fiction inspire a new generation of moviegoing Marvel fans. The political angle taken in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is not rare in the comic book genre, though the conversation over import-export trade and natural resources mesh particularly well.

Long-winded at times, the film attains majority over Marvel's current work. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever balances ongoing plotlines while managing to streamline each harmoniously so that the film's conclusion satisfies itself. Its pacing may feel a bit undercalculated as some scenes consume too much screen time, though unsure footing can be forgiven by closed chapters and new beginnings. 7/10.

There is one (1) mid-credit scene.

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