While Black Panther: Wakanda Forever will, most likely, not get another Oscar nomination for Best Picture it is yet another triumph for not only POC but the superhero genre as a whole.
Just a little over two years ago Chadwick Boseman passed away and it shocked the world. But it’s safe to say no one was more surprised than Ryan Coogler who was deep in the throes of preparing to bring a sequel to the big screen. With Boseman’s death, he had to rewrite the story all within making sure Black Panther: Wakanda Forever was going to be finished by the time it would hit theaters this Fall. He succeeded brilliantly.
Phase 4 has had fans wondering whether the MCU had a direction anymore. But this movie proved that yes, it does. This phase wasn’t about giving us the next Infinity War or Endgame. It was about revisiting the characters and allowing them to process what had happened after those last two Avengers movies. All the while managing to set up threads for future projects.
In WandaVision, Wanda deals with her grief by creating a false reality in which she’s living as the perfect suburban housewife living with her husband and kids. Of course, it’s a fantasy. But instead of emerging out of the other side as a stronger person, she delves deep into the Darkhold, becoming corrupted by its teachings. This leads her into direct conflict with Doctor Strange in Multiverse of Madness who is dealing with his own layers of grief because he was the one who knew it would take so much death to defeat Thanos. He is also grieving his own place in the universe as he begins to realize how much he sacrificed by choosing the path of a hero. Instead of settling down with the love of his life, Christine.
Black Widow, despite being a prequel, introduces us to Florence Pugh’s Yelena Belova who must come to terms with Natasha Romanoff’s death. Her story merges with Clint Barton’s in Hawkeye who is trying to make up for lost time with his family after they vanished for five years. Not to mention, he’s still heartbroken that his best friend had to die to stop Thanos. Together, he and Belova clash over Romanoff’s death but end up finding an understanding as they grieve her passing together.
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier sees Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes having to move on in their duty to protect the world while dealing with a world without Steve Rogers.
Loki allowed us to break down Loki’s entire arc and transform him into a whole new character as he discovers love and moves on from his treasonous ways.
Spider-Man: No Way Home is hands down the saddest Spider-Man film ever created with Peter Parker not only losing his Aunt May. But he’s forced to lose everyone else in the process to protect them.
Thor: Love and Thunder, despite its comedic tone, was an entire story about grief. From Gorr’s mission to end the gods spurred on by his daughter’s tragic loss to Jane Foster’s battle with cancer to Thor trying to reconcile with losing all of his friends and loved ones.
THE CLIMAX TO PHASE 4
And then there’s Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. From the very first scene to the last it’s an emotional experience. It very well may be the most emotional superhero movie ever made. Especially considering that its cause of grief is based on a real-world death. But it only makes sense that this film which concludes Phase 4, a phase that was all about loss, grief, and finding the strength to move forward, would embrace those themes wholeheartedly.
So many characters in this movie are dealing with loss in different ways that you’re often watching the film with tears in your eyes. But that doesn’t halt the movie from being a rewarding spectacle in the same way that Black Panther was four years ago. Honestly, nearly everything about this film exceeded Black Panther. The music was more impressive and awe-inducing, the action scenes were grander and more visceral, the villain was better, and the heroes’ journeys felt even more powerful. There were moments when I was literally tapping my feet on the auditorium floor with excitement because what I was seeing onscreen was so electrifying.
While Black Panther: Wakanda Forever will, most likely, not get another Oscar nomination for Best Picture it is yet another triumph for not only POC but the superhero genre as a whole. As Zemo once said, “It’s a masterpiece. Complete, comprehensive.”
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is in theaters now. Book your tickets now.
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Hello everyone. My name is Annlyel James. I’m a young woman who loves movies of all genres (specifically ‘Star Wars’ and Marvel movies.) I am also a Senior Correspondent for The Future of the Force.