One of the many reasons I fell in love with the Marvel Cinematic Universe was for its unique sense of adventure. They took audiences to different planets and universes — making us fight for breath with their action-packed scenes. However at the center of the cinematic universe was heart. So much heart — whether that be in the form of found family, best friends or lovers. It was full of magic and superheroes, but it was also rooted in reality, touching all of us.
After the Infinity Saga ended, I sometimes struggled to find that same feeling. Not because the movies were bad, but because the characters I had grown up and fell in love with were not on-screen anymore. It’s difficult to move on when those movies symbolized your childhood and the moments you realized film was something magical — something powerful.
I’m so proud and happy to say that “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” gave me that feeling I’ve been searching for. It’s a full-circle moment — the first Black Panther is what made me a die-hard fan of Marvel. And here I am, having just watched the sequel and realizing that it doesn’t matter what movies Marvel will make, whether that be good or bad. I don’t plan on ever walking away.
The world was shocked when Chadwick Boseman passed away and even now — more than two years later — I’m having trouble grasping that truth. He was someone larger than life, someone I thought would live forever, so his death hurt more than I thought it would. I can’t imagine the pain and loss his loved ones and the entire cast of Black Panther felt, but that emotion is portrayed so brilliantly in this film.
It was the perfect send-off for his character. The Black Panther was a symbol of strength and pride. He was beloved by everyone in his nation, and it made me cry to see Wakanda honor their king and savior with such delicate respect and dignity. The rawness in everyone’s performances, especially Letitia Wright, who plays Shuri, elevated an already astounding movie. From what I could see, there was not a single dry eye in the audience.
But, of course, this is Marvel, and what kind of Marvel movie would it be if it didn’t have epic fight scenes and fascinating characters?
When an underwater kingdom called Talokan unleashes its wrath on Wakanda, chaos ensues. The film does a brilliant job of immersing the audience so that every duel, every battle made me move to the edge of my seat in anticipation. The action scenes were well-shot and while there were cuts to different locations, it never took me out of the overall experience.
This movie also continued shining a well-deserved light on the power of Black people. The first film gained such widespread recognition because of this, and the sequel does it just as well. The Black women were at the forefront of the fights, not only honoring Chadwick, but giving a voice to those who have been oppressed in the past.
I feel so lucky to have watched this movie during opening night, with an entire theater of fans who were just as excited as me to jump back into this universe. It was a wonderful way to end Phase 4 of the MCU, and I can’t wait to see where Marvel takes us next.
In the meantime, go watch Black Panther: Wakanda Forever in theaters now if you haven’t already. But be warned: you’ll need those tissues.