It’s the fish-man! Exclaims M’Baku (Winston Duke), the leader of the Jabari Tribe, which is a group of Wakandans. Photograph: Eli Adé. © 2022 MARVEL.
American actor Chadwick Boseman, who died at the young age of 43, played the original Black Panther in the eponymous superhero flick from 2018 where the hero from a nation called Wakanda in Africa drank a magic potion from a plant to gain his superpowers and then after jumping into a catsuit equipped with high-tech became practically an invincible defender of his nation. (Not sure if Black Adam or Superman would have had a shot, though.)
In the sequel, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Boseman’s performance is beautifully remembered in the beginning credits when the first letter of the superhero franchise, Marvel, is illuminated with a flashback reel of his work as the original Black Panther.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, however, does not rely on mere nostalgia; it trusts in female power! The people of Wakanda fight once again to protect their home from intervening world powers as they mourn the death of the Black Panther (or King T’Challa).
Trusting the power of women is a familiar concept for director Ryan Coogler, who was also one of the writers of the first installment. In fact, with all due respect to Bosman’s efforts, the first part was lifted to another dimension with performances of the likes of Letitia Wright as Princess Shuri and Wakanda’s chief scientist. In the second installment, Wright manages to go still one better while Angela Bassett delivers yet another masterclass in dramatic acting as Queen Ramonda.
Danai Gurira, who plays General Okoye, the head of Wakanda’s military forces, brings a fiery adaptation of the fearless female fighter to the silver screen. She swings the spear crisply and smashes adversaries with sharp blows.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever rises above the action of the first part not only because of the committed female cast but also because of the antihero Namor (Tenoch Huerta), who coexists peacefully with the fish, marine life and his people, but wants to bring wrath upon the world. With wings in his ankles, he’s fast like a hummingbird; the look in his eyes is batshit crazy. What a villain!
But the question has emerged: Can the Wakanda-women send the fish-man back to the bottom of the ocean?
‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’ is in cinemas now.