This past year has seen a rather lackluster collection of films in theaters that have drawn my eye or attention. I think that this is largely the result of two-years of COVID placing a greater importance on streaming entertainment as well as the interruption to regularly scheduled film productions. So when I knew that we were expecting a second Black Panther, I was instantly excited.
Of course, that excitement turned to concern following the death of Chadwick Boseman. The death of a headline actor, the face of one of the superheroes, is something that the Marvel Cinematic Universe hasn't dealt with and how they handled it would have an enormous impact on the future of the franchise going into Phase Five and Six. Marvel made the difficult, but I think monumentally important, dicision to not recast T'Challa and instead focus the second Black Panther on exploring the passing of a superhero and how those who remain must learn to cope with the loss. It's a surprising fit for the rest of Phase Four, which I like to think of as the Post-Endgame phase or the Grief phase.
It is with that focus in mind that Black Panther: Wakanda Forever was released with huge expectations and a massive Sword of Damocles over its neck that would either push the rest of the universe into the trajectory necessary to make Phase Five a success or would make everyone question whether or not Boseman should've just been recast.
- Directed by Ryan Coogler
- Produced by Marvel Studios
- Runtime: 161 Minutes
- Rating: PG-13