🚨Warning: This article includes major spoilers for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.🚨
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is not your typical Marvel film. In fact, it's unlike any superhero film ever made. Sure, there are the CGI battle scenes, universe-building cameos, and the very distinct MCU humor beats. But it deals with a real-life tragedy within the film, which gives the movie a meta feeling that borders on fourth-wall breaking.
Here is my in-depth review of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever!
The passing of Chadwick Boseman is a shared grief that the audience, the actors, and the MCU characters themselves mourn together. I don't think I've ever experienced a superhero film where actors, audiences, and characters were all interconnected through the shared grief of loss in this way.
Ryan Coogler was very aware of this. And although there were cries and petitions to recast T'Challa, the world needed this. We all needed an opportunity to grieve and celebrate both Boseman and T'Challa. Coogler provided this unique experience, and the stellar cast drives it home.
Side note: Can we get Angela Bassett that damn Oscar already? Ya'll tripping. This whole intro was low-key my elevator pitch for her Oscar award. Moving the hell on...
Letitia Wright puts the weight of this grief on her shoulders and delivers in a way I wasn't expecting. It was beautiful to see her character, Shuri, go through a similar arc of grief that T'Challa went through in Captain America: Civil War.
Can we all just marvel at the all-white funeral? I don't think anyone in the theater moved an inch during those scenes.
Black women take the center stage in this film, another perfect example of Coogler using real life to reflect his art. Too often, it is Black women who are left to pick up the pieces when our sons, brothers, and fathers die. Rebuilding what was broken on more than just a physical level, but a spiritual and mental level, is left in the hands of Queen Ramonda.
But grief isn't solely owned by Wakanda. In the depths of the ocean, we meet the Talokan people and their leader, Kukulkan, aka Namor.
Namor and his people were forced underwater during the Spanish Inquisition, which ravaged and enslaved entire civilizations. Much like Wakanda, the Talokan people have found a reliance on Vibranium. In fact, by ingesting their own version of the heart-shaped herb, the Talokan people developed their ability to breathe underwater.
I'm not entirely sure how I felt about this twist.
Namor's grief stems from his mother's dream of returning to her homeland. After the mighty mutant discovers slavers in the land his mother called home, he and the Talokan people murder them. His grief for his motherland then turns into vengeance for the surface world.
Namor's overall arc has Killmonger vibes, which I'm not mad it. It's a conversation that needs to be continued and elaborated on.