Among all the sorrow and grief, Coogler tries to make it a fun and exciting sequel, the one that was originally intended.
MCU isn't the same without T'Challa, he wasn't just a superhero he was an icon, an epitome of greatness. The same thing applies to Chadwick Boseman, who managed to leave behind an amazing body of work in his short lifetime. With Wakanda Forever, director Ryan Coogler tries to create a fitting homage while keeping the essence of an MCU superhero movie intact.
Light spoilers ahead, tread carefully...
At the very beginning of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, we see the country in mourning, shocked by the passing of their king. In these very closely rooted to reality scenes, it's tough to not think about the hours when the world lost Chadwick to cancer. Director Ryan Coogler makes sure to turn the King's funeral into a celebration of life with dance and music on the streets as the main projection of homage. With T'Challa gone, the movie focuses on those left behind. In the center of it all, is his sister Shuri played by Letitia Wright, and his mother Ramonda played by Angela Bassett. We soon skip to the next year, where we see Ramonda as Wakanda's leader since the country has decided against crowning a new Black Panther. Shuri has, as always, dedicated herself to crafting new technologies to protect the country. Meanwhile, we see the rest of the world concerned about Wakanda's monopoly on Vibranium and the power this secretive country possesses because of it.
We are soon introduced to the fact that Wakanda is not the only country with Vibranium but the country remains oblivious to the fact that they aren't alone. The search for more Vibranium threatens the underwater civilization of Talokan, which uses massive amounts of Vibranium and is led by their King Namor played by Tenoch Huerta. Namor meets Shuri and Ramonda, demanding they deliver him the scientist who has created Vibranium-seeking technology in the Outside world, in order to protect its people, or else he will wage war upon Wakanda. Basset's portrayal of Queen Ramonda is breathtaking, her performance gives the sense of fear and loss that was intended by Coogler. This movie also continues the Black Panther tradition of having some of the best-supporting characters in the MCU.
But by and large, Wakanda Forever relies on Wright and she does justice to the film and how! Wright takes the reins of this movie in a compelling way without any hesitance. Shuri personifies the pain, rage, and utter frustration and Wright does it all effortlessly and beautifully.
Among all the sorrow and grief, Coogler tries to make it a fun and exciting sequel, the one that was originally intended. That doesn't mean that this movie didn't feel unplanned, it certainly did, but Coogler embraces the doubt and uncertainty that came with the unprecedented loss. Wakanda Forever isn't perfect, but how could it be, without Boseman, Coogler's ability to handle this tightrope walk between loss- a very common feeling in life and a larger-than-life superhero movie makes this one of the most emotionally stirring MCU movies so far, and without a doubt one of the better films of MCU phase four.