Wakanda Forever non-review


wakanda foreverI saw the movie Black Panther: Wakanda Forever back in November. Yet I didn’t review it because, in some ways, I found it almost unreviewable.

It was challenging to separate the death of T’Challa from the passing of the first film’s star, Chadwick Boseman. Even before the film was released, ABC-TV was plugging the stars, writers, and director on a primetime special, saying they were trying to make sure they honored the late actor. It succeeded at that.

Think Christian ran a spoiler-laden but touching piece,  Mourning Chadwick, Mourning T’Challa, back in November, which you should read unless you haven’t seen the film. Back in 2020, the publication ran Chadwick Boseman’s Sacrifice.

Also, there was a pre-review by Joshua Adams, who made a point of NOT reading any analyses of the new film. He commented that “some of the reactions towards the support of the first film left a bad taste in my mouth.” Specifically, “all the people (across the political spectrum) who implied or asserted that Black Panther was only popular because of black identity politics.” While I had not thought about it before,  I got that feeling too.

The other factor is that I went to see Wakanda Forever at the neighborhood Madison Theater. The marquee did not reflect that the film was even playing there. As a result, I was the ONLY person in the theater. I’m not much for private screenings because I like getting the audience’s reactions.


The one part of the film I will comment on is the introduction of Namor (Tenoch Huerta Mejía). He’s not exactly the villain, as he’s trying to protect his homeland. The emperor of Talokan, a hidden undersea kingdom, offers to fight with the Wakandans against the folks threatening both of their cultures.

The Mayan ancestry backstory worked for me. It was compelling and as logical as a narrative about a secret group of underwater humans could be.

They are not the blue people that Bill Everett drew in the 1940s  and again in the 1970s. I’m a huge fan of that Sub-Mariner published by Marvel and its predecessor. As I’ve noted, the comic book universe and Marvel Cinematic Universe are destined to be different, and I’m all right by that.

I read a reprinted column that the late Greg Hatcher wrote about Batman, where he counted eight different iterations, and that was just between 1964 and 2005.

Back to the film, maybe it was the lack of an audience in the cinema, but I started to find the fight scenes, which were well-choreographed, not so interesting, except for the one-on-one near the end. still, it was well done, and I’m glad I saw it.

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever received decent reviews, 84% positive on Rotten Tomatoes. It’s done over $446 million at the domestic box office.

Chadwick Boseman – Wakanda forever

learned to T’Challa

Chadwick BosemanI’ve been musing on why I found the death of Chadwick Boseman so affecting. Only recently I noted three films he starred in. “MARSHALL (2017) a biopic starring Chadwick Boseman as Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall I had intended to see.” Ditto for the film GET ON UP (2014), about the Godfather of Soul James Brown that I had coincidentally recorded to the DVR last month.

I had started watching 42 (2013) the movie about Jackie Robinson. It was the day I was being discharged from the hospital after a health scare. I think I tried to stall my release time to finish watching it.

Cancer. As the Chicago Tribune noted, “The cancer was there when his character T’Challa visited the ancestors’ ‘astral plane’ in poignant scenes from the Oscar-nominated ‘Black Panther,’ there when he first became a producer on the action-thriller ’21 Bridges,’ and there last summer when he shot an adaptation of a play by his hero August Wilson…”

The South Carolinian died at the age of 43 of colon cancer, only a couple years older than my brother-in-law John when he died of the same damn disease in 2002. And while I knew of John’s struggle, most of us didn’t know Chadwick had been diagnosed at stage 3 in 2016. It was none of our business, but I’m always surprised when something can remain a secret in Hollywood.

A bit of Killmonger

I totally get this quote. Boseman said he “more easily identified with” Black Panther’s “antagonist, played by Michael B. Jordan, who had been cut off from his ancestral roots: ‘I was born with some Killmonger in me, and I have learned to T’Challa throughout my studies.'”

“‘It’s the place where you start. All African Americans, unless they have some direct connection, have been severed from that past. There are things that cannot be tracked. You were a product, sold. So it’s very difficult as an African American to connect at some points directly to Africa. I have made that part of my search in my life. So those things were already there when I got into the role.'”

In my review of Black Panther, which I LOVED, that Chadwick Boseman had the less showy part. That’s not meant as a knock on the actor. The “villain” often gets the juicier role.

Incidentally, the Howard University graduate noted on Stephen Colbert’s show his roots. DNA testing indicated that his ancestors were Krio people and Limba people from Sierra Leone, and the Yoruba people from Nigeria.

His unexpected death brought out tons of tributes. “Marvel Studios president and CCO Kevin Feige called Boseman’s death ‘absolutely devastating,'” and I would agree. “‘Each time he stepped on set, he radiated charisma and joy, and each time he appeared on screen, he created something truly indelible.'” As a good friend of mine and I said when we departed last month, “Wakanda forever.”

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