“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” is an emotional tribute and worthy sequel.

Words fail when it comes to the loss of Chadwick Boseman. On the screen and off, he was our hero in every way.

Continuing the Black Panther journey without him seemed like an impossible task, however, Ryan Coogler carries on Boseman’s legacy and the rich storytelling of Wakanda in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.

In the highly anticipated sequel, Wakanda must band together to protect their nation from intervening world powers, while mourning the loss of their beloved King T’Challa.

It is the emotional core of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is what is makes the film so powerful. Coogler delicately explores the process of grief through a vulnerable and committed cast. It is rare to experience a film that is so dedicated to taking the audience through the process of loss. I was consumed with emotion throughout.

It was sort of like therapy. Knowing Wakanda can grieve and mourn the loss of their loved one means it is okay for us to, in our own way.

And as a huge fan of Black Panther and Boseman, I would have been happy to JUST FOCUS on watching Wakanda go through this process. I would have been content building out our beloved characters more and watching a nation unite.

But. This is Marvel.

And there’s marketing to be done.

And when Black Panther: Wakanda Forever starts getting into the more stereotypical “Marvel” bits — introducing new characters that will lead into Disney+ series and the never ending discussion of vibranium — it starts feeling busy and less special.

And although I criticize the decision to stuff subplots into this particulate narrative, I remain very impressed by Coogler’s world building and authentic representation in the undersea nation of Talokan.

It’s hard not to imagine what this film would be like if Chadwick Boseman were still with us. It’s hard not to wonder, “what if?”

But his spirit will always be there as the world of Marvel continues to grow.

Because Wakanda will always be forever.

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