Black Panther: Wakanda Forever Movie Review

When Chadwick Boseman passed away two years ago, it was more than the loss of an actor whose gifts were once in a generation. His portrayal of T’Challa/Black Panther in the original Black Panther film was groundbreaking and universally applauded.

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever was released in theaters this past weekend. It takes place a half dozen years after the first movie ended. It starts with T’Challa’s off-screen death from an unknown illness. The loss of both the King and protector leaves Wakanda in a state of mourning. While his mother Ramonda (Angela Bassett) steps up to lead the nation and deal with pressure from the outside, her daughter Shuri (Letitia Wright) tries to pretend that everything is fine.

Then a new threat emerges. Namor (Tenoch Huerta) is the king of an underwater Indigenous people. His ancestors were nearly exterminated by Spanish colonizers. Like the Wakandans, vibranium is part and parcel of their culture. Namor is threatening to wage war against the surface world. The only way to appease him is to bring him a young wunderkind scientist, Riri Williams/Ironheart (Dominique Thorne).

Ramonda and Shuri have a tough decision ahead. Do they sentence this young girl to death or do they work with Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o), Okoye (Danai Gurira), and M’Baku (Winston Duke) to stop Namor?

Wow. Like its predecessor, the film balances action, emotion, and timely social issues. This is Wright’s film. She carries it with everything she has. I was floored by her abilities as a performer. In addition to dealing with the grief (and the connected mental health issues) that come with losing a loved one, Shuri must protect her country.

As in Black Panther, it is the women who are in leadership roles. Each is human and powerful in her own right. She is also an important part of the narrative and is dealing with the loss of T’Challa in her own way.

My only issue is that it was a little long.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely. It is one of my favorite movies of the year.

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is presently in theaters.

P.S. As usual, stay for the mid-scene credits. It will make you cry.

Black Panther Wakanda Forever GIF by Marvel Studios - Find & Share on GIPHY
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Thoughts On Columbus Day/Indigenous People’s Day

We are told that education creates pathways to the future. That being said, how we are educated is dependent on who controls our what is or is not taught.

Yesterday was Columbus Day/Indigenous People’s Day.

Depending on where one lives within the United States determines if one and/or both holidays are listed on the calendar.

The purpose of both Columbus Day and Indigenous People’s Day is to honor and educate about the histories of both Italian Americans and Native Americans. But while Columbus Day has been part of our culture for generations, it’s Native American counterpart is relatively new.

The issue is that while we celebrate the “discovery” of America by Christopher Columbus, we are discarding the true history of the period. The New World, as it was known then by Europeans, was not empty. Nor was it waiting to be discovered. There were hundreds, if not thousands of Native American nations who lived and thrived on American soil long before Columbus “found” this land.

The “founding” of America by Columbus was the catalyst for colonization and the destruction of the Native American way of life.

The question is, how do we reconcile the truth of the past? The easy answer is nationalize Indigenous People’s Day as a holiday. But like many things that appear to be easy, the reality is that it difficult and complicated, especially in our current political climate. The truth is that I don’t have an answer.

But I do know that is time to give our Native American brothers and sisters the respect and the history they deserve.

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