Black Panther: Wakanda Forever Honors its Fallen King While Namor Steals Scenes

At this point everyone everywhere knows actor Chadwick Boseman suddenly passed away putting a much higher level of difficulty onto Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige and writer/director Ryan Coogler for a sequel without their star. Scripts had to be changed and were done so in a way to honor the late actor.

BLACK PANTHER: WAKANDA FOREVER is a heart-felt homage honoring Boseman throughout the film. The movie has tremendous heart honoring him and how many of his fellows actors’ characters are responding to T’Challa’s death, which happens offscreen at the start of the movie.

I won’t get into big spoilers in this review, but I will say the death of T’Challa is due to an unknown illness. Shuri tries to save her brother but she fails to do so thus putting a lot of sadness, disappointment, and anger on herself as her mother Queen Ramonda tries to heal both herself and her daughter.

There’s a lot of crying, and pain, and emotion from these two women as well as for Nakia and Okoye. T’Challa was beloved in Wakanda and even M’Baku has sadness in his heart for the fallen King.

But then there's Namor, who steals every scene he’s in. He is very strong and powerful and could easily stand toe-to-toe with the likes of the Hulk and Thor. He has no fear. He’s been around for centuries. He’s really fast and can fly with his winged ankles, but he’s even faster and more powerful in the water.

Namor is angry at the surface world and it’s not for reasons you might think. It’s not because of the events at the end of THE ETERNALS, which would have made sense. He’s angry because his underwater kingdom of Talokan, which is literally the underwater version of Wakanda, is now seeing the surface world getting too close to discovering it so Namor and his army goes on the offensive to protect their secret. The fact it is literally an underwater version of Wakanda just seems a bit lazy to me although the film does successfully tell the origin story of Namor and his kingdom quick enough so the movie isn't too bogged down with all that new exposition in the second act of the film.

By being so aggressive in his defense of his home and his people, Namor drags Wakanda into the mix and asks if they are allies or enemies because of their common thread that I will leave for you to see revealed when you see it. This is the plot line between the two highly advanced societies. Namor wants a truce with Wakanda so they can both conquer the surface world together and protect each other from outsiders, too.

Wakanda resists Namor’s attempts to partner up and it has everything to do with Riri Williams (Ironheart) creating tech that threatens Talokan’s secret as well as the safety of Wakanda and the world. It is a fine introduction to Riri Williams, although she definitely does not look like she's supposed to be a 19-year-old college student. Sadly, she was somewhat of a disappointment being a new addition to the MCU, but her own Disney+ series, IRONHEART, should help fix that by building her character more.

The majority of the performances across the board are fantastic, however, Namor clearly stands out as the most intriguing new addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. His involvement in film's and possibly shows moving forward will be exciting as comic fans know it won’t be long until he is seen standing next to members of the Avengers either helping them or fighting against them. This is a movie about the passing of T’Challa but it is also a refreshing introduction of Marvel Comics’ first mutant, Namor.

In the end, many will enjoy this film for its heart and the sadness everyone has since Boseman passed away too soon. I thought the movie was just fine for the big task at hand it had to accomplish. But after seeing the sequel, a part of me wonders what it could have truly been to see Boseman's T’Challa as the Black Panther fighting against Namor and his army.

Reviewed by Daniel Wolf: Founder, Publisher, and EIC