QUEEN RAMONDA. Angela Bassett created an aura of power and grace for the queen of Wakanda. (Disney Press Kit)
QUEEN RAMONDA. Angela Bassett created an aura of power and grace for the queen of Wakanda.

Disney Press Kit

[OSCAR REVIEW] Black Panther: Wakanda Forever: a refreshing addition to the MCU

March 11, 2023

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is one of the most recent Marvel Cinematic Universe films, released on Nov. 11, for the U.S. It is the sequel to the famous Black Panther (2018). Directed by Ryan Coogler, the movie is also the final installment of phase four of the MCU, featuring all the Marvel Studios productions released from 2021 through 2022. In 2020, Chadwick Boseman, who played Black Panther in the first movie, passed away. In place of him, Princess Shuri (Letitia Wright), the sister of T’Challa, takes the role of the main protagonist. The film has grossed over $858 million worldwide.

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is packed with action and drama, showcasing the most powerful nation on the MCU Earth: Wakanda. The many suspenseful scenes hook viewers from start to finish, and well-crafted shots between powerful characters leave lasting messages and add depth to the story. The movie also flows nicely, and even with never-ending action, the film still manages to create comedic and light-hearted moments.

The film’s timeline begins in May 2024 in the Wakandan lab. T’Challa, the Black Panther, dies of an unknown disease. One year later, the CIA and Navy SEALs find a vibranium deposit but are killed by water-breathing superhumans led by Namor (Tenoch Huerta). He demands that the Wakandan Queen, Ramonda (Angela Bassett), and her daughter, Princess Shuri, capture and turn in the scientist responsible for inventing the vibranium detecting machine or face war. This scientist is a young African-American student at MIT, Riri Williams (Dominique Thorne). Shuri and general Okoye (Danai Gurira) locate Riri but insist on protecting her, leading to war between Wakanda and Talokan. Throughout the rest of the film, Shuri steps up to show her nation and discovers her true desires and identity while facing the expectations of her family’s legacy.

The plot is a story about loss, vengeance, and, most importantly, family. Throughout the movie, Shuri faces expectations from her mother and herself as she respects and honors her ancestors. This respect for her family and fellow Wakandans turns into vengeful spite when Namor attacks Wakanda. Because of her desire to avenge her people, she is deeply conflicted because she wants to live up to her family’s nobility. However, throughout the movie, she develops her character and realizes what she wants, which is vengeance. But when faced with the choice, she chooses not to let her desire affect others.

So if there was one thing to take away from this film, it is to pave your path in life, but don’t bring others down while you do so.”

Angela Bassett has an excellent performance in the movie. She creates an aura of power and grace, but also hints at fear through her subtle facial expressions. The best example was when Namor threatened her on the beach after she confronted him. Another actor that stands out is Danai Gurira. She creates a fierce, noble, honest, warm-hearted, funny character. Her voicing, dramatic movements, and facial expressions add to Okoye’s personality. On the other hand, Tenoch Huerta’s acting for Namor was underwhelming. Namor is perhaps the most powerful character in the movie, yet when he speaks, it is more confusing than commanding. In the scene where he confronts Shuri and Ramonda, Huerta’s tone is incoherent, so it was hard to tell what Namor is trying to say. He also fails to create a distinct personality for Namor. As for the main character, Shuri, Letitia Wright’s acting was standard. She matches the drama and emotion of the scenes, but nothing is exceptional.

The development of the setting is one of the most impressive parts of the movie. Wakanda is a unique setting that adds a refreshing feeling to the film. It was easy to absorb the nation’s culture, and the Wakandan characters all feel connected. Talokan is also very unique, the underwater kingdom has a complicated history, and its aquatic setting has an evident impact on the behavior and culture of the people. Another thing that stands out about both Wakanda and Talokan is the beautiful landscapes and imagery.

Nevertheless, the film falls short in a few key areas. Like all Marvel movies, the CGI and effects are relatively nice. However, sometimes in Wakanda Forever, it looks a little funky. One example is when Wakandans are being lifted into the airships UFO style. One of the most significant issues is the need for more information on the events of the prequel. In the scene where Shuri sees Killmonger on the ancestral plane, it is confusing as to who Killmonger is and what he is doing there. Additionally, the movie feels emotionally dull. T’Challa’s death is brisk, and it feels like Ryan Coogler was trying to finish it quickly.

Overall, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever was a great movie. It was exciting and brought refreshing content to the MCU. Though there were some issues, they were minor and did not impact the quality of the movie significantly. The film had a powerful representation of Black Women, showing their strength, and resilience. It also had a lot of representation of younger people through Riri and Shuri. The movie is rated PG-13 due to violence and language, but it was not at all too graphic or explicit. Wakanda Forever is a good film for people of color, kids, teens, Marvel fans and anyone looking for action. If violence is not for you, or if you are looking for a more sentimental or romantic journey, perhaps look for a different movie.

Bassett dazzles in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever


OUTSTANDING ACTING: Angela Bassett successfully portrays the internal conflicts of her character. (Screen capture from “Marvel Studios’ Black Panther: Wakanda Forever | Official Trailer” by Marvel Entertainment on YouTube.)

The Oscars are coming up this Sunday and, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever received 5 different nominations in 5 different categories. The movie follows Wakanda after the death of King T’Challa and the discovery of another strong world power. Shuri, Queen Ramonda (Angela Bassett), and other Wakandans fight to protect their nation in and out of Wakanda.

Bassett has won two Golden Globes and 16 NAACP awards. She is a Yale graduate who has been acting since 1985. This year, she was nominated for Best Supporting Actress. This is her second time nominated, her first being in 1994 for Best Actress for her role as Tina Turner in What’s Love Got to Do with It. She has also played many other well-known roles such as Ramona Royale in American Horror Story, Dr. Catherine Banfield in ER, and Athena Grant in 9-1-1.

In her most recent film, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Bassett plays Queen Ramonda who is a strong, caring, and wise leader and mother. After the death of her son, she turns her attention to helping her daughter, Shuri, grieve and prepare to become a good leader. She does her best to protect her no matter what. Basset acted using a subtle yet enticing face and body language that displayed her internal conflicts. And when she spoke, she spoke with assurance and power. At one point in the movie, she delivers French soldiers to a U.N. meeting and lectures the leaders on their greediness for vibranium, a fictional metal in the Marvel world. She captivates the audience with her commanding line delivery, leaving the courtroom speechless. Bassett’s most impactful scene was after the first big conflict, when she gives another speech to the leaders of the Wakandan tribes. Basset does an excellent job of portraying a grieving mother who fears the loss of her daughter and is also trying to lead and protect a nation.

A common theme for the character of Queen Romonda is learning how to live and deal with grief while not letting it consume her and still being able to show up for those who need her. An example of this is when she had to be okay with her daughter Shuri going out in the field again. This was especially difficult for Queen Romonda because she did not want to lose another child after the death of her son. Bassett wonderfully portrays the character’s struggle to learn to live with the fear of the loss of Shuri, making the performance feel real and authentic.

Although the acting was genuine and enjoyable, the plot was hard to follow at times. Especially Shuri’s character arc. The confusing flashbacks did not help.

Angela Bassett wonderfully portrayed these mixed emotions, making it feel real and authentic.”

Overall the movie was a pleasant watch and leaves an emotional impact on the audience. I really enjoyed the acting in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, especially Angela Basset. She did a beautiful job displaying the internal struggles of her character mourning her son and needing to show up for her nation. She definitely deserves the Best Supporting Actress Oscar and viewers across the nation will be rooting for her. Her acting deserves a 5/5 and Black Panther: Wakanda Forever a ⅘.

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