Currently available on 4K Ultra HD, Bluray, and DVD from director Ryan Coogler and Marvel Studios is the return of BLACK PANTHER: Wakanda Forever.
King T’Challa has died from an unknown illness and Shuri (Letitia Wright) is in a spiral believing she could have helped him. Her anger comes from knowing that the stunning flower grown in Wakanda could have saved him, the same flowers destroyed by cousin Erik Killmonger.
A year has since passed and Queen Ramonda (Angela Bassett) is dealing with the pressures of other countries wanting vibranium. Appearing to answer questions at the U.N., she tells them that it is not about sharing what Wakanda has, it is about those who will take what does not belong to them. Proving her point, General Okoye (Danai Gurira) arrives with soldiers who had tried to steal vibranium.
Back at home, a new threat by the name of K’uk’ulkan or Namor (Tenoch Huerta Mejia) comes from the deepest part of the ocean in search of a school girl who he believes is threatening his people. Shuri and Okoye learn from Agent Everett Ross (Martin Freeman) that the girl is an MIT student Riri Williams (Dominique Thorne), but before they can get the story, the three women are attacked by Tamor’s warriors and taken.
Beyond upset, Queen Ramonda strips Okoye of her command with the Dora Milaje and looks for Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o). Below the surface, Namor is showing Shuri about his vibranium-rich kingdom and the story behind how all it came to be. Shuri knows that no matter what he tells her, he has other motives that are dangerous – like taking on the entire world beginning with Wakanda.
Nakia finds Shuri and Riri and takes them back to Wakanda which only sets off a battle between the two cultures. Shuri must decide if she is fighting for vengeance or finding a way to make it all work peacefully. Now is the time for Wakanda to cement their destiny – or are there more surprises?
Wright as Shuri is taking the reigns after the death of her brother but it is slow going. Dealing with what could have been puts her in a technological rut and avoiding everything. Wright plays it very straight forward without much in the way of emotion but more in the way of keeping her eye on the chessboard as all the pieces move about.
Mejia as Namor decides it is time to stop the land people from trying to not only take what belongs to his underwater kingdom but hurting his people. Mejia gives a strong performance of duality between hanging on to his ‘humanity’ as it were and being a vengeful leader of warrior people.
Bassett as Ramonda gets her chance to wear the crown of Wakanda and makes it clear to not be under estimated. Her role is piece-mealed out here but it finishes as I thought it would. Gurira as Okoye tries to keep the royal family safe but it is getting more and more difficult, especially when the threat is so strong and unpredictable. Gurira wields her weapon (what a shock right?) and deals with her own character demons.
Thorne as Riri is a smart young woman and Shuri can relate. Keeping her alive is the goal and no matter what Namor wants to do, it is not going to happen. Thorne is learning the Wakandan ropes and it is clear she has something to offer if there are more Black Panther stories to be told. Nyong’o as Nakia has run off to Haiti to deal with her own grief about T’Challa and help people as much as she can. Nyong’o also does not have much to say but she does the talking with a weapon in her hand.
Freeman as Ross is also flashing in and out of scenes but makes it clear he is there for his friends. Big shout out to Winston Duke as M’Baku – just love his character! He is bold, brazen and does not care what anyone thinks. In this film he is trying to guide Shuri away from her anger but it doesn’t mean he won’t get a chance to do a little fighting for himself!
Other cast include Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Valentina Allegra de Fontaine, Mabel Cadena as Namora, Michaela Coel as Aneka, Florence Kasumba as Ayo and Michael B. Jordan’s cameo as Killmonger.
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Bonus Features include a Gag Reel – Take a look at some of the lighthearted moments on the set of BLACK PANTHER: Wakanda forever, Listen to Ryan Coogler, Joe Robert Cole and Autumn Durald Arkapaw discuss the film, Envisioning Two Worlds – Uncover the making of BLACK PANTHER: Wakanda Forever through the lens and leadership of co-writer/director Ryan Coogler, Hannah Beachler and Ruth Carter, and Passing the Mantle – Follow the evolution of the Black Panther through films.
Also Deleted Scenes Outside the Scope – Okoye has a shocking standoff with Ayo and the Dora Milaje and Aneka makes a challenging decision, The Upstairs Toilet – Ross infiltrated the NSA in disguise in an attempt to uncover information, Daughter of the Border – After a conversation with her uncle, Okoye is faced with a daunting choice and Anytime, Anywhere – In Haiti, Shuri and Okoye share a bittersweet moment.
BLACK PANTHER: Wakanda Forever does a heart felt job of saying goodbye to Chadwick Boseman in the beginning and at the end of the film. That is a nice way for fans to have their opportunity to also send him off Wakandan fan style.
The film is full of action as two cultures that should share peace, seem to be on opposite sides as they want to protect their own people.
In the end – it is forever!