Review: Black Panther Wakanda Forever: What Marvel Should Be

When the first Black Panther movie came out, it had an incredible impact on people of color, especially black people. Though there have been Marvel superhero movies in the past with black leads, such as the Blade movies, Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther was Marvel’s introduction to a world of amazing technology and African culture. He’s done the same in Wakanda Forever with Talokan, the underwater city based on Yucatec Mayan culture, and home to the movie’s primary antagonist, Namor.

            In comics, Namor is the ruler of Atlantis, but in Wakanda Forever, he is the ruler of Talokan, a Mayan underwater city with plenty of Indigenous inspirations. Without spoilers, the introduction of the Talokanil warriors was terrifying, showing their true power, and they only became more terrifying of a threat as the movie went on. Once again, Coogler has introduced us to a villain that many can sympathize with, as all Namor wants is to protect his people from the threat that those on the surface world pose, a threat that is clearly shown with scenes involving Queen Ramonda, who was portrayed amazingly by Angela Bassett. The introduction of other characters such as Dominique Thorne’s Riri Williams, A.K.A. Ironheart was smooth and comedic, though at times could be a bit too much.

            Despite the amazing graphics (which certainly are better than the first movie) and amazing storyline, one of the most important factors that makes this movie so significant is the representation. This is the first time we have had a Latino actor in a significant Marvel role in Namor’s actor, Tenoch Huerta, and other amazing Latino actors such as Mabel Cadena, who played his second-in-command, Namora. Time and time again in press interviews Huerta has mentioned how important this role is not just for him, but for all Indigenous and darker-skinned Latinos out there who can finally see themselves in their favorite movie franchise. An emphasis needs to be put on how important this representation is for Indigenous people, who rarely can see themselves painted in such a powerful light on the big screen.

            Overall, Black Panther Wakanda Forever was an amazing film and an amazing tribute to the late Chadwick Boseman, who passed away in 2020. It was an emotional journey that will likely bring out some tears and laughter in moviegoers, and has certainly earned the praise it has received. It is what Marvel movies should be: a movie with purpose that introduces beloved comic characters smoothly in the story, and with visual effects that don’t look like they were thrown together by a tired, overworked intern.

Julie Briones – Contributing Writer

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