The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
In a struggling Marvel industry, where writers are expected to produce content under swift time constraints and animators are expected to create CGI better than ever, the MCU Phase four has been, for the most part, a bust. Beginning with Black Widow, a confusing and predictable retelling of Natasha’s story that didn’t make sense coming after her death, to the introduction of TV shows like Falcon and Winter Solider that included way too much plot and exposition that the real story became convoluted, Marvel’s newest movies have disappointed many fans who expected a great continuation after their biggest movie, Avenger’s Endgame. Spiderman: No Way Home was the only movie that lived up to this standard, with the introduction of the multiverse and by bringing back fan-favorites Andrew Garfield and Tobey Maguire to create a total box-office hit.
Despite the lack of competition, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever was expected to show obvious struggles with the loss of Chadwick Boseman. However, without the main character, Black Panther and King of Wakanda, the rest of the characters in this movie picked up the pieces right where the original film first left off and worked as best as they could.
The story takes place one year after T-Challa’s death, where an emotional and distant Shuri struggles with traditional Wakanadan culture, like understanding the purpose of the heart-shaped herb when the version she created couldn’t save her brother. This movie restores Wakanda as fans knew it to be: a world-dominating country where the saying “Wakanda Forever” never goes away, a tribute to Chadwick Boseman and his character. Every actor in this movie used their overflowing thoughts and evident devastating energy to carry forward. This movie brings back characters that fans loved, like Shuri and M’Baku, while introducing a crucial comic character, Riri Williams who is also known as IronHeart. As everyone works together to defeat Namor and his people who live underwater, the empathy and revenge in Shuri are constantly at odds with each other, where she is forced to choose whether to act like her brother with forgiveness or like her cousin Killmonger without mercy.
With a beautiful soundtrack featuring Rihanna and many other influential Black and Mayan artists, these songs and instruments create full images that directly parallel events happening throughout the movie that relate to Wakandan and Talokan culture. The cast, producers, and directors worked together to create a visually beautiful city in Talokan and an anti-hero we have seen in a long time. Unlike some previous Marvel villains, Namor appears to be a morally gray character whose motivations can be understood. Shuri’s empathy towards him portrays the difficulty in starting a way with the Talokan people.
In the wake of the recent the downward trend of Marvel movies compared with originals involving Tony Stark and Captain America, many audience members expected to be disappointed. A film without a Chadwick Boseman and an already overworked production team, with cringy and unappealing CGI, music, acting, and costumes promised to be another 5 out of 10 stars movie. But as a viewer, this movie reminded me of the initial phases, where the story ran the show. I can’t help but think this movie has been the second best of phase four.