Chadwick Boseman is dead, but Black Panther lives on. Loss has several meanings in the Black Panther sequel, which copes with Boseman’s untimely death from cancer in 2020 in ways that are both imaginative and moving.
Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther: Wakanda Forever takes us back to the titular kingdom, a fictitious Afrofuturist haven of cutting-edge science, moral integrity and vibrant fashion. Wakanada zealously safeguards its stash of vibranium, the wonder element that gave Black Panther his powers and the kingdom its technological prowess.
It isn’t just Black Panther’s absence that is roiling Wakanda. Even as his mother Ramonda (Angela Basset), inventor sister Shuri (Letitia Wright), lover Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o) and general Okoye (Danai Gurira) struggle to overcome their grief, the Americans hunt for an alternate source of vibranium. Teenage prodigy Riri (Dominique Thorne) plays a key role in aiding the American effort.
A new antagonist with winged feet and the power to pierce Wakanda’s defences rises out of the water and floats in the air like a god. Namor (Tenoch Huerta), who rules over an underwater kingdom of blue-skinned people, is this movie’s anarchist who will go to extreme lengths to protect his people.
If the first film foregrounded racial pride within a fantasy format, the sequel taps into climate change, the destruction of indigenous habitats, the exploitation of natural resources and…