Columnist reviews Marvel’s latest movie “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.”
BY THEA POSTALAKIS ’24
Watching Marvel movies on opening day has al-ways been a tradition for me and my family. Through their failures and successes, their re-lease of tv-shows and throughout the pandemic, we’ve always made it a priority to go. Therefore, when “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” was announced, my family and I immediately bought tickets.
I was apprehensive going into this movie. As most know, beloved actor Chadwick Boseman, who played Black Panther, or T’Challa, died in 2020 due to complications with his health. Instead of cutting the movie, Marvel rewrote some of its previous script to incorporate T’Challas death. I was very nervous to see what exactly that meant. I didn’t feel that this story needed to be told, on behalf of honoring Boseman’s character as it was.
For the sake of the Marvel fans reading this, I won’t go into spoilers, but I will say that I was pleasantly surprised with the way that Marvel handled this turn of events. The way they dealt with Boseman’s death was extremely touching, and they definitely did a great job honoring him. The movie entered with an emotional beginning and kept that somber reminiscent tone through-out.
Focusing on a smaller, much more personal story, the film centered around the main themes of loss and despair. It was refreshing to see a change of pace within Marvel since they seem to have pivoted to flashy visuals and shock factors in their latest films.
Some Marvel fans might be disappointed to hear that “Wakanda Forever” does not follow suit, as it has few moments of comic relief and is more focused on world-build-ing and storytelling. I, however, felt that it was much needed- to maintain sensitivity in talking about Boseman’s death.
Recently, it’s been difficult for me to fully appreciate Marvel movies. Phase Four, which included movies such as “Black Widow”, “Doctor Strange: Multiverse of Madness” and “Thor: Love and Thunder” was very hit or miss to me. However, I thoroughly enjoyed “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever”, and felt that it had a special touch that the others were sorely lacking.
While I agree that the movie was not perfect; the villain was not great, and it definitely had some slow parts, I enjoyed that more than the over-done version that Marvel has been doing nowadays.
The performances were incredible, with Letitia Wright and Angela Bassett giving some of the best performances I’ve seen in Phase 4 yet. They both provided an element of deep emotion and were extremely powerful in their roles.
“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” was the 30th movie in the Marvel franchise, and the seventh in Marvel’s “Phase Four” installment. With a 161-minute runtime, this was one of the longest movies Marvel has made. I only felt the film dragging toward the end, otherwise, it had relatively good pacing. While the exact budget has not been determined, it’s estimated around $200 million was spent on this film. Since releasing, “Wakanda Forever” has produced $205 million domestically and $176 million internationally.
Honoring Boseman was one of the main things that director Ryan Coogler wanted to make sure was key when rewriting. In a message on Marvel’s social media platforms, Coogler wrote that he hoped the movie would also serve as something to be remembered for a long time. “Something to be quoted and discussed. To be debated. Something to make people both physically and emotionally feel seen,” Coogler said.