Commentary: ‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’ can make or break Marvel

Taylor Moore
Social Media Editor 

When Marvel announced that “Black Panther” (2018) would be receiving a sequel, I was very excited because I am a major fan of the movie’s cast, soundtrack and storyline. Personally, I thought “Black Panther” was one of Marvel’s greatest superhero standalone movies.

Then came the untimely passing of the film’s star, Chadwick Boseman, on Aug. 28, 2020. The film’s release date was originally scheduled for May 6 of this year, then pushed to July 8, but had to be reworked due to Boseman’s death. Now, “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” has been released in theaters as of today.

Marvel has a lot resting on its shoulders with this film. According to IMDb, the first film was a box office hit, grossing $1.34 billion. I remember “Black Panther” was such a success that it remained in theaters for quite some time after its initial release, something I took advantage of. “Black Panther” has been the only Marvel film I saw four times in theaters, but “Spider-Man: No Way Home” (2021) and “Avengers: Endgame” (2019) were close seconds behind it in my book. 

With that being said, since the first “Black Panther” was such a success, Marvel cannot afford to let the sequel flop. 

However, fans are worried since Marvel has seemingly been aiming for quantity over quality, and I have to agree. 

Bradley Stripling, junior business major at Citrus College, has been a diehard Marvel fan throughout his entire life but said Marvel has not been doing so well recently. 

“With the way their CGI and directing has been going you can tell the quality has been dropping rapidly and if that continues, there won’t be any diehard Marvel fans left,” Stripling said. “I also feel like Marvel can’t afford to let it flop because the first one was so symbolic.” 

Stripling said he has not thoroughly enjoyed a Marvel movie since “Spider-Man: No Way Home.” He felt that the more recent movies were overloaded with jokes that did not land with him and the storylines did not feel as thought out as they had been in the past. 

Peter Trinh, junior business major at the University of La Verne, said that because the cameos of Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield were such a success in “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” the writers have started to rely too heavily on the cameos of A-list actors. This is a formula he is tired of. 

“My hopes are that this movie goes back to what Marvel does best, keeping the storyline simple without excessive cameos,” Trinh said. “Having a true Marvel experience of being excited of what’s to come next in the movie and leaving the viewers questioning what will happen.” 

Hector Lomeli, junior criminology major at ULV, said he wants to hope that this sequel will be as good as the first one but is not expecting it to be better. 

“With any movie, it’s never going to be as good as the first one, that’s what people have to understand,” Lomeli said. 

Calvin Morgan, junior construction management major at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, is not expecting much of this sequel. 

“I can’t see a future where ‘Wakanda Forever’ turns out to be a good movie, and I think the MCU dynasty may be over,” Morgan said. 

Alex Avila, sophomore nutrition and dietetics major at Mt. San Antonio College, said that a sequel should not have continued after Boseman’s passing. 

“Honestly, not a good move by Marvel, they should have left it at the first one,” Avila said. 

Stripling and Trinh both said it is going to be hard to see someone else besides Chadwick Boseman fill the Black Panther’s shoes, and I have to agree. 

Boseman gave a remarkable performance as T’Challa and set the superhero apart from others in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. T’Challa was a king who clearly cared about his people and showed genuine remorse for his mistakes, a trait typically lacking in a royal, but his compassion for others made the character so likable. Knowing that we will never see his portrayal of T’Challa again is extremely bittersweet. 

With that being said, I personally am hoping that this sequel pays homage to the character while honoring Boseman’s legacy in Marvel. The trailers have given me high expectations for this upcoming sequel, so much so that I am planning to see this movie on opening weekend, and I am not the only one. 

Caitlyn Oxford, junior child development major at ULV, has her tickets for the premiere night ready and is going in with high expectations. 

“The first movie was so good, from the cinematography to the plot, and the whole idea of a minority group being seen as powerful really set it apart for me,” Oxford said. “Truthfully I think (‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’) is going to be a good movie.” 

I think that “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” can only be a good movie. Marvel has to deliver a successful film to honor Boseman’s memory and carry on the legacy that Black Panther created with the first African American superhero. We know that the Black Panther torch will be passed down, and while the trailers have not confirmed anything, fans believe that Shuri, T’Challa’s little sister played by Letitia Wright, is next in line for the role, which would follow the comic book in the multiverse plotline. 

Personally, I am excited to see the role taken on by a woman. We know for a fact that the next Black Panther will be a woman, which only furthers the movie franchise’s prominence in representing the underrepresented. 

With so much weighing on the sequel’s shoulders, I can only hope that this movie delivers everything I am hoping for – restoring Marvel to its glory. 

Taylor Moore can be reached at taylor.moore@laverne.edu

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Taylor Moore is a junior broadcast journalism major and LV Life editor for Spring 2023. In her fourth semester on Campus Times, this is her second time serving as LV Life editor. She has also served as social media editor and staff writer.

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