The release of Black Panther was unprecedented before and after it. The impact is immediate and long-lasting, and it is enormous. The film premiered during the Trump administration, a dystopian time in 2018 when black lives were more precarious than usual and calls for black superheroes were more urgent, giving its message a special edge. significance. It’s a phenomenon that triples — a commercial, critical and cultural triumph.
King T’Challa is a new age hero for a new, uncertain age. Chadwick Boseman is no stranger to legendary roles, with roles including Lupita Nyong’o and Michael B. Jordan Together, the all-star ensemble brought poise and charisma to the show. Black Panther has teeth, and it’s smart enough to bypass the pitfalls of representation that are easy to come by in an industry that craves color and meaning. To the credit of director Ryan Coogler and co-screenwriter Joe Robert Cole, this movie isn’t just a marvel of recognition; it’s a measure of true progress. It speaks to us and we answer. A new black future—intricate, colorful, free—is opening.
One of the unforeseen was the 2020 death of Boseman from colon cancer. Franchises are built on star power without Boseman, one of the brightest and most promising minds at Marvel, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever for him haunted by his absence, cloaked in a sadness that cannot be ignored. Rarely does an MCU movie convey the turmoil of grief with such unflinching focus (WandaVision
comes close to this). Positioning is weird but effective. I hesitate to call Wakanda Forever a new kind of superhero blockbuster – it doesn’t quite reinvent the wheel – but it comes close . Coogler equips his sequel with an altered vocabulary: It’s told from a place of loss as much as from a place of triumph. Sadness is its mother tongue.
The king is dead, and the eyes of the world are once again on Wakanda. Queen Ramonda (Angela Bassett Angela Bassett) succeeded to the throne, and in the year after the death of her son, she did her best to maintain the sovereignty of the African country. Wakanda, the only country known to have it, is still rich in vibranium — a mysterious ore used to create cutting-edge weapons and technology — and refuses to share its resources with allies (in one early scene, French soldiers try to Steal some and get them quick ass kicked by undercover Dora Milaje agent). Greed has been the flashpoint of conflict throughout history, and Cooler and Cole are keen to open the story that way. The U.S. government begins a vibranium tracking operation across the Atlantic Ocean, but is mysteriously thwarted by unknown forces – the Talocans, an underwater empire that possesses the only other source of vibranium on Earth.
Namor (Tenoch Huerta Mejía) is their wounded leader, bent on keeping the Talokan’s existence a secret. He possesses mutant superpowers—enhanced strength, aquatic regeneration, and flight (thanks to wings on his ankles)—and commands his nation with a meticulous but powerful hand. (In the comics, Namor is known as the Sub-Mariner, from Atlantis.) The mining operation threatened to expose his marine utopia, so he devised a plan to stop it: kill the genius who made the Vibranium tracking device The scientist (Riri Williams, who introduced Ironheart into the MCU) and allies with Wakanda against the surface world. But Wakanda refused. The two countries found themselves almost staring at a war.
As it turns out, war isn’t as convincing as the animation principles behind it. Like the US government’s relentless pursuit of global influence. Or, Shuri’s (Leetitia White) overwhelming anger over the loss of her brother, and the real ways that anger drives her to action. Or how Namor’s villainy, if it should even be called that, is rooted in something deeper, something more human. He’s a departure from the classic MCU anti-heroes. Such as Wanda. Like Kang. Namor is content in his contradictions, and not entirely unjustified in his anger. It all depends on how well supported his backstory is: he’s descended from a 16th-century Mesoamerican tribe who escaped enslavement and were forced to seek refuge underwater. He is the survivor of a people who have learned to survive under dire conditions. His morals carry weight.