Black Panther – A Near Impossible Mission

Black Panther – A Near Impossible Mission

Wakanda Forever Film Review

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As far as action movies are concerned ‘Black Panther’ (2018) was a cultural phenomenon. It tackled issues to do with politics, integrity, colonial history, international relations and had an emotional weight to it. The recently released ‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’ continues its predecessor’s gritty storytelling. Just to let you know, a new Black Panther shall be crowned!

On the 28th of August 2020 the world was shocked at the death of Oscar nominated actor Chadwick Boseman. Boseman stole the hearts of millions for his portrayal of the superhero Black Panther who guards the fictional African kingdom of Wakanda. One thing about Boseman is that he owned his part and catapulted himself into our collective memory. It was announced that his role would not be recast for the movie’s sequel; proverbially they say the show must go on. Audience members such as myself bit their nails in anticipation of what the movie would offer, some even say the creators of the movie had a near impossible mission to accomplish.

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The film starts with Princess Shuri (Letitia Wright) frantically trying to concoct an antidote to heal her dying brother. Her efforts are in vain because her mother Queen Ramonda (Angela Bassett) informs her that her brother has passed on. In the wake of the king’s death the nation of Wakanda now faces a new danger that could rival its own indomitable strength. Throughout the film we come across action sequences, leadership changes, a surprise cameo appearance, kaleidoscope of incredible costumes, a heartbreaking death and a host of other thrills. The film is about two hours and forty minutes long. The power of grief, loss and pain hangs heavy thought the whole movie.

The movie successfully makes use of a false protagonist technique so skilfully and keeps audiences hanging from beginning to end. The costumes (designed by Ruth. E. Carter) are superior to first instalment of the film. Carter won an Oscar for her work in the first film and has outdone herself with borrowing influence from African and Mesoamerican sources.

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The production design was also wonderfully done and the viewer is easily transported to the different locations that the actions take place. The film’s soundtrack is also a delicious treat with songs from African stars such as Burna Boy and Fireboy DML and of course Rihanna with her soulful rendition of “Lift Me Up”. The movie score composed by Ludwig Goransson (a frequent collaborator of the director Ryan Coogler) comes up with a great masterpiece, blending influences not just from Africa but also from Mexico.

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The movie weighs heavily on the gifted Letitia Wright. In the first instalment she plays a supporting role and often provides comic relief and in ‘Wakanda Forever’ she has a more central role and commanding part which gives her the chance for her talent to be on full display. Angela Bassett is a certified acting legend, she is arguably one of the most accomplished actresses of her generation and she can be trusted with a performance and she does not disappoint in her role as a grieving mother and leader. Actor Tenoch Huerta Mejia takes on the antagonistic role in this film and he is a great revelation and exciting to watch in his character’s complicated story. Meijia plays Namor the king of the underwater kingdom of Talokan. Familiar faces such as Danai Gurira, Lupita Nyong’o and Winston Duke return in solid performances (though the fate of Gurira’s characters might add some shock value to some viewers). While new faces such as Michaela Cole and Dominique Thorne are wonderful editions. The cast as a whole was spectacular.

In conclusion the movie is great escapism and top quality entertainment. It is sure to absorb and enchant lovers of the first movie. There are also reports of a follow up movie. Well for now all we can say is “Wakanda Forever!”

Kudzai Mhangwa

Kudzai Mhangwa is a writer, actor and musician. He writes poetry, plays, essays and short stories. His work has been featured on House of Mutapa, Atrebla Magazine, Ka'edi Africa, Poetry Soup and elsewhere.

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