Standing strong

‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’ interprets mourning those who are gone after the passing of Chadwick Boseman


Screengrab from the official movie trailer

After the loss of Chadwick Boseman, Black Panther strives to stand strong. In “Black Panther,” viewers were introduced to a new Marvel world, Wakanda. Wakanda is the strongest nation in the world but only they know of it, being classified as a “third world country” by others. Other nations are not aware that Wakanda sits on the strongest substance known to man called vibranium. Vibranium enables Wakanda to live a lavish lifestyle where technology is ten times or more advanced than the rest of the world. The introduction of Wakanda was eye opening to the marvel series. There has never been a marvel movie that centralized their story based on African-Americans or African culture. 

The main conflict of the first movie starts when Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan), challenges the king, King T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman). Although the two are cousins, Killmonger disagrees on how Wakanda is using its most valuable resource. He argues that every African descent should be armed with vibranium weapons so that they could rule the world instead of suffering under other people. King T’Challa has a desire to help those in need, but he knows exposing the rest of the world to vibranium would cause greed amongst other nations and bring war to Wakanda. New to the throne, King T’Challa contemplates what is right and what is wrong. Does he wish to follow his father’s traditional route of keeping vibranium a secret or does he wish to share for those in need?

Eventually, King T’Challa defeats Killmonger. After his defeat, he reveals the truth about his nation and aids others in need using Wakanda’s wealth. He knew it was right to help others, but Killmonger’s way of bringing war upon other nations was brutal and would only cause further damage in society.

Shadowing the real life story of Boseman’s death due to cancer, King T’Challa from Wakanda passes away due to an illness in “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.” Wakanda remains strong under Queen Ramonda (Angela Bassets), T’Challa’s mother, despite other nations sneakily running behind their back while trying to extract vibranium. Princess Shuri (Letitia Wright), blames herself for not being able to save her brother. She focuses on technological advancements in order to prevent potential challenges in the future. However, with her brother gone, Princess Shuri needs to stand sturdy and fill in her brother’s shoes for her mother and Wakanda. 

In the second movie, a mysterious kingdom, Talokan, is presented. This time, the nation lies under the Atlantic Ocean. Surprisingly, Wakanda was not the only place that had access to vibranium. With this access to vibranium, the nation’s beauty is truly a wonder. It is embedded with Aztec and Mayan culture, something viewers have never encountered in the Marvel world. Similar to the early days of Wakanda, Namur wishes to keep the secret that his kingdom has vibranium. However, his vision is immediately destroyed when he heard of an MIT student named Ironheart (Dominique Thorne) has created a vibranium-detecting machine. Protected by the power of vibranium for centuries, the leader of Talokan, Namur (Tenoch Huerta), asks for alliance with Wakanda in fear that his people may be in danger.

 The people of Talokan have an intriguing backstory. The ancestors of Namur fled away from their home due to smallpox being introduced by Spanish colonizers. They resided underwater after one of the tribesmen was directed toward a vibranium plant. The tribe all consumed the vibranium plant and lost consciousness. After gaining consciousness, they found themselves with blue skin and gills gasping for air. They immediately ran towards the water and began their settlement under the Atlantic ocean. Namur is a special leader, because his mother ingested the vibranium while she was pregnant, he was born with special features and talents. He has strength similar to a Black Panther with features like ankle wings that give him the ability to fly.

Although Namur wishes to make an alliance, things did not go according to plan. Princess Shuri takes the lead in the movie as she and Namur try to resolve their differences and conflicts. With her significant lead in the movie, Shuri delivered what the audiences expected of her. A humorous girl who often made jokes with her late brother uses her technological intelligence and strength to deliver a woman hero in the movie. 

It has been two years since the passing of Boseman and four years since the last Black Panther movie. Ryan Coogler, director of the movie, interprets history while giving an epic story. The new kingdom he introduced was overwhelmingly stunning. Its contrast from Wakanda’s kingdom is visually phenomenal. His way of embedding Boseman’s passing into the story is emotionally scarring and wholesome, all at the same time. He shows how the absence of Boseman greatly affects the movie by constantly exhibiting grief. 

Most importantly, the post-credit scenes of the movie is one of the best yet. It showcases the future of what Wakanda may be under. Just as its title speaks, Wakanda’s story did not end in the first movie. Viewers can predict the second will not be its last.