1. "Black Panther : Wakanda Forever", A cast of stunning (and united) actresses
In the sumptuous first part of the Marvel blockbuster Black Panther (2018), two charismatic men stood out. We succumbed to the charms of the late Chadwick Boseman – who died of colon cancer at the age of 43 in 2020 – in his role as the majestic and wise hero T’Challa, aka Black Panther. Michael B. Jordan also excelled as the evil, terrifying, and bewitching Killmonger. But the sequel Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is above all a film about women. In a beautiful demonstration of sorority, they are the ones who carry this second opus, which witnesses the very technologically advanced kingdom of Wakanda threatened from all sides – notably by Namor, king of the fascinating underwater world of Talocan. After the death of King T’Challa, Wakanda goes through a period of mourning and Queen Ramonda (the sublime Angela Bassett) must take the throne, before being replaced by her daughter Shuri (the endearing and badass Letitia Wright). In the face of danger, they can also count on other forces, such as the cunning Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o), the fierce Dora Milaje, or the newcomer Riri Williams, aka Ironheart (Dominique Thorne), who possesses an extraordinary gift for computer science.
In the futuristic kingdom of Wakanda, women are rulers, warriors, technological magicians, or great scientists. Their powers equal or surpass those of men. All the actresses give their best to hold Black Panther: Wakanda Forever as a great feminist film, advocating for female independence and empowerment, while the film subtly evokes other themes such as the difficult process of mourning and the complex mechanisms at work behind the desire for revenge.
The video "Lift Me Up" (2022) by Rihanna
2. A captivating soundtrack
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is a story of resurrection that places motherhood and parenthood at the heart of its narrative. Barbados-born superstar Rihanna, who has recently became a mother herself and has been absent from the music industry for a long time, appeared to be the ideal artist to sign the final song of the film. The singer agreed to make her musical comeback with this film, as a tribute to Chadwick Boseman. Six years after her excellent album Anti, the Fenty Beauty boss moves us with her lyrical flights of fancy on the poignant, melancholic, and pure Lift Me Up. But that is not the only moment of grace on the soundtrack. The soundtrack features exciting artists, such as Nigerian singer- songwriters Tems, Burna Boy, rappers Rema, Stormzy, Future, and TikTok revelation PinkPantheress. Just like its cast and production team, the Marvel film devotes significant attention to featuring mostly black artists.
3. A vibrant tribute to Chadwick Boseman
After Chadwick Boseman’s passing, the director of Black Panther, Ryan Coogler, did not want to assign the role to another actor. He would rather create a completely different storyline, which we won’t spoil here. In order to pay the best tribute to the man who became a legend, he decided to start the second dark and intense opus of the saga with a particularly poignant farewell ceremony. We can see all the inhabitants of Wakanda dressed in impressive white costumes walking behind Black Panther’s black coffin, decorated with the famous panther symbol. The immense grief is then gradually transcended by music and dance in a series of breathtaking images and cathartic drums, magnified by the IMAX technology.
In the fragile yet strong looks in the actors’ eyes, one can feel that they had to mourn the loss of their partner and friend Chadwick Boseman on screen at the same time their characters are mourning the loss of their king. Later in the film, T’Challa’s handsome face subtly appears in flashbacks, triggering strong emotions in the viewer. However, the emotional climax will eventually peak in the post-closing credits scene. A major surprise awaits the audience, proving that the spirit of Black Panther is alive and well, and that it will roar for many years to come...
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever by Ryan Coogler, out on November 9th in France, and on November 11th, 2022, in the United States.