It’s a spectacle of an adventure, with pulse-pounding fight scenes and themes of power and loss.
Most of all, it’s a tribute not only to the character of T’Challa, but also to Chadwick Boseman, the late star who brought that character to life.
“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” opens with T’Challa’s sister Shuri (Letitia Wright) working on a way to save her brother from an illness. Moments later, Queen Ramonda (Angela Bassett) brings her the bad news: “Your brother is with the ancestors.”
His funeral procession is one of the most gorgeous scenes in the film – all the better because it’s so obviously not CGI-focused.
The story begins again, a year later, when the United Nations pressures Wakanda to share its precious resource of vibranium, which Queen Ramonda refuses to do.
The substance then is discovered at the bottom of the ocean along with an underwater world – I kept thinking about Atlantis – and its denizens led by Namor (Tenoch Huerta.)
Among the new additions to the Wakanda world is a student (Dominique Thorne) whose has invented a way to detect vibranium. You’ll see some familiar faces, too, but it probably wouldn’t be fair to list them here.
With the addition of trailers at the beginning, the movie is more than three hours long, and it sags a little in the middle.
But the final battle scene, and the ways the characters develop and interact, keep it moving and engaging, as do the beautiful costumes. The soundtrack is wonderful, ending with the terrific “Lift Me Up” by Rihanna during the credits.
Speaking of which: There is, unsurprisingly, an extra scene about mid-credits that relates to a path the story might take.
This is a fitting sequel that simultaneously says farewell and brings new hope to the Black Panther series.
Running time: 161 minutes.
Rated: PG-13 for violence, scenes of death, and coarse language.
Watch the trailer here.