Report Card: “Wakanda Forever” Passes With Flying Colors


Jasmine McIntosh

One of the most highly anticipated Marvel films of the year, “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” was released in theaters Nov. 11, 2022 and has set records at the box office since, earning $431.5 million domestically.

Jasmine McIntosh, Assistant Editor

Ryan Coogler has done it again. In his second directing job for Marvel, Coogler has lifted the sequel film “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” into well-deserved stardom. With a stellar cast that includes Letitia Wright and Angela Bassett, the film is nothing short of a masterclass in acting and impressive cinematography. 

With the main plot of the movie revolving around the introduction of the Talokanils people and superhero Ironheart, it is a treat for seasoned Marvel fans who are looking for a new fandom to delve into. 

Another main theme of the movie is the recovery of the nation of Wakanda after the death of their king, T’Challa, also known as Black Panther. Due to the death of actor Chadwick Boseman, who portrayed Black Panther, the new movie had to be rewritten and adapted. With so much of the first Black Panther movie revolving around Boseman, it was a difficult test for the Marvel crew to change the script for “Wakanda Forever,” but they did so flawlessly and with a great deal of respect for Boseman and his tremendous impact.

Being a big Marvel fan myself, I was excited to watch “Wakanda Forever,” but I had some reservations about all the new changes. I was still deeply saddened by Boseman’s death and questioned whether the franchise would be able to rebound after such a tragic event. I also wondered how the new characters would be written in. Despite all these doubts, I walked into the movie theater with an open mind. 

And I’m glad I did because I was thoroughly impressed. 

The acting was spectacular in its own right, but it was brought to another level with the sophisticated score and creative cinematography. I found very few flaws in the movie, and even in those shortcomings, I could understand the decisions behind them. “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” certainly makes a name for itself and should be considered in the conversation of top Marvel movies. 

If I had to grade “Wakanda Forever,” overall, it would earn an A+. To further break down the components of the movie, I’ve included my thoughts and grades below.

The Plot: A 

The plot of “Wakanda Forever” easily earns an A. It was a smooth transition from the first movie, and it introduced new characters in an intuitive way.

The movie is about the Wakandan nation discovering the underwater nation of Talokan. The Talokan people have access to vibranium, a powerful material that was once thought to be exclusive to Wakanda. It’s a bit surprising that the Talokans have access to vibranium because they reside deep underwater. With this shocking revelation, Queen Ramonda of Wakanda is faced with the difficult decision of whether she will work together with the Talokan people and their leader Namor or if she will stay independent. Not only does Ramonda have the fate of her country on her shoulders, but she also has to guide her daughter Shuri through the grief of losing her brother and protect Shuri from her own misguidedness. 

In the journey to defend itself, Wakanda finds out about a genius college student, Riri Williams, also known as Ironheart, who lives in America and has skills that would be very useful to them. They bring her along in the fight against the Talokan, and she works alongside Shuri and other Wakanda warriors to create a female super team that is destined to defend Wakanda and bring it to glory. 

The intended enemy in this movie is the Talokan people, but many fans consider them to be anti-heroes because of their relatable morals and family-driven motives. Throughout the film, we learn more about the leader of the Talokan, Namor. He has the typical villain arc — a sad childhood where his mother died and he was wronged by the world. He uses these tragedies to fuel his anger and motivation to overthrow the nations on the land and protect his people. 

Overall, the plot of “Wakanda Forever” is rock solid and free of any holes. It delivers an exciting, new storyline for the fans, while still keeping true to its original ideas.

The Score: A+

Ludwig Göransson delivers an amazingly serene soundtrack in this movie. He incorporates African and Mayan-inspired music that aligns with the themes of the movie. The score did a wonderful job of highlighting the unique cultures displayed. The previous “Black Panther” film did a nice job of using African-inspired tunes, and I’m glad that continued into the second movie. With the addition of the Talokan people, who align with the Mayan culture, there was a beautiful incorporation of music heavily inspired by traditional Mayan music and many of the scenes that focus on the Talokan people have songs sung in the Mayan language. 

One song in particular that stood out to me was “Lift Me Up” by Rihanna. This song was a tribute to Chadwick Boseman, and it’s incredibly beautiful. It helped bring even more attention to the movie by having such an internationally acclaimed artist like Rihanna be featured in the movie’s soundtrack. 

What the score did best was fill in moments where words would not suffice. During somber scenes, such as the funeral scene where the Wakandans are finally laying T’Challa to rest, the music evokes so much emotion. It adds to the grief already felt by the actors and the audience, and it isn’t overbearing.

The Cast: A+

To put it shortly, this cast is absurdly talented. From veteran actors like Angela Bassett, Lupita Nyong’o, Daniel Kaluuya, and Michael B. Jordan, to rising stars such as Letitia Wright and Tenoch Huerta, there is no shortage of star power. 

My favorite actor in this movie was Angela Bassett. She commanded the screen in a powerful way and played her part as a regal and gracious queen perfectly. Having witnessed Bassett’s other works outside of the Marvel realm, it was no surprise that she killed it in “Wakanda Forever.” Her stellar performance has even earned her a Golden Globe nomination.

The plot elevated this movie to greatness, but the cast is what pushed it above and beyond.

The Dialogue: A

When I think of a typical Marvel movie dialogue, I immediately imagine witty quips and cheesy, predictable lines. I’m often left underwhelmed by the dialogue and feel that it wasn’t very thought out.

But with “Wakanda Forever,” I was pleasantly surprised by the depth and creativity of the dialogue. 

The movie dealt with some heavier topics, and the characters communicated that perfectly. Their conversations felt real and relatable – words I could see myself saying. This was important for me because, while I was looking forward to watching a superhero film, I was also interested to see how the movie would deal with outside circumstances and character development. 

The dialogue easily earned an A, and I look forward to watching more of Ryan Coogler’s movies so I can further experience his genius screenwriting.

Final Grade: A+

It should come as no surprise that “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” earns an A+. It delivers sufficiently across the board,  it was a fan favorite, and it didn’t hold back on the emotions and exciting action scenes.

I was hard-pressed to find any flaws or blemishes in this movie; it was nearly perfect. Having been a longtime Marvel fan, I had very high expectations for this movie, and they were all surpassed. If you are holding onto any doubts about the quality and entertainment value of this movie, you should drop them now. You will be shocked, emotionally moved, and intrigued by “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.”

And if you’re looking for a movie to watch this winter, this one should be on the top of your list!