Black Panther: Wakanda Forever Reviews Are In, See How Critics Say The Sequel Pays Tribute To Chadwick Boseman

After 2018’s Black Panther was such a massive box office success, Ryan Coogler already had a big job ahead of him to continue the story of Wakanda and its king. Chadwick Boseman’s shocking death from colon cancer in 2020, however, made that task absolutely herculean. To say anticipation has been high to see how Black Panther: Wakanda Forever continues without T’Challa would be an understatement, but with the release date finally upon us, the reviews are in to give fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe movies a taste of what to expect.

The final movie in the MCU’s Phase 4 will see the leaders of Wakanda fighting to protect their nation in the wake of King T’Challa’s death. The sequel stars Letitia Wright as Shuri, Danai Gurira as Okoye, Tenoch Huerta as Namor, Angela Bassett as Queen Ramonda, Martin Freeman as Agent Everett K. Ross, and Lupita Nyong’o as Nakia. First reactions to the new MCU blockbuster were promising, so let’s see what critics are saying about the film and how it honors Chadwick Boseman, starting with CinemaBlend’s review of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. Eric Eisenberg rates the movie 4.5 stars out of 5, calling it an “utterly beautiful” expression of mourning that is equal to its predecessor: 

As a goodbye to Chadwick Boseman and T’Challa, it’s a special achievement. The movie makes the smart decision not to turn the Black Panther’s death into a plot line about succession or political destabilization, which easily could have felt exploitative. Instead, the hard emotions from the loss are primarily expressed through the arcs of the principal characters, and the individual journeys are extraordinary.

In his spoiler-free video review of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, CinemaBlend managing editor Sean O’Connell says Ryan Coogler tackles a lot of plot, but does a good job of juggling it all. He rates it 4 out of 5 stars, explaining why he calls it a “cathartic” drama: 

Charles Pulliam-Moore of The Verge also uses the word “cathartic” to describe the film, saying that while it is “a moving farewell to Chadwick Boseman,” it doesn’t dwell in the past, continuing Wakanda’s story with grace and care that’s uncharacteristic of comic book movies. The critic says: 

One of the more truly impressive things about Wakanda Forever’s story is how its plot involving lines of succession and tradition in the context of mourning could have made for a gripping, compelling Marvel movie in and of itself. But instead of resting on those laurels, Wakanda Forever both amps things up and hearkens back to some of Black Panther’s most potent, challenging ideas by introducing the MCU’s takes on Riri Williams (Dominique Thorne) and Namor (Tenoch Huerta).

In absence of King T’Challa, Leah Greenblatt of Entertainment Weekly says she was struck by the powerful queendom that rules Wakanda from the top down and notes that Ryan Coogler also has talented women working behind the scenes. The critic grades the Black Panther sequel a B+: 

Wakanda is still clearly a Marvel property, with all the for-the-fans story beats and secondary characters its ever-expanding universe requires, but it also feels apart from any one that's come before. And while a Black Panther without Boseman is undoubtedly nothing like the film's creators or any of its cast wanted it to be, the movie they've made feels like something unusually elegant and profound for the multiplex: a little bit of forever for the star who left too soon.

Brian Truitt of USA TODAY (opens in new tab) rates it 3.5 out of 4 stars for the way the movie is able to celebrate and honor Chadwick Boseman while still proving that Wakanda and its story are in capable hands going forward. More from the review: 

Wakanda Forever doesn’t quite live up to its predecessor, a remarkable effort that brought together Boseman’s gravitas and masterful performance with Coogler’s gift for worldly narrative. But the sequel offers a similar technical achievement – the costumes and production design are simply awesome – and plot points in the original movie pay off and have consequences in the latest film, which also handles T'Challa's death in a very real and authentic fashion.

It sounds like the critics agree that this Marvel sequel strikes a good balance between paying homage to Chadwick Boseman and T’Challa while also providing a compelling story. You can catch Black Panther: Wakanda Forever in theaters beginning Friday, November 11. In the meantime, check out CinemaBlend’s interviews with Black Panther: Wakanda Forever's filmmakers and stars, including Ryan Coogler, Danai Gurira and more, and see what upcoming Marvel movies lie ahead in Phases 5 and 6.

Heidi Venable
Content Producer

Mom of two and hard-core '90s kid. Unprovoked, will quote Friends in any situation. Thrives on New Orleans Saints football, The West Wing and taco trucks.