Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (PG-13)
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So, this is the sequel to Black Panther. It begins with Shuri trying to save T'Challa's life when he is dying of an unspecified illness, but she fails. (This is because Chadwick Boseman had died of cancer in real life, and so his character, sadly, had to be written out of the franchise.) A year later, Queen Ramonda appears before the U.N., whose members want Wakanda to share its vibranium, but the queen refuses. She also reveals that the Dora Milaje had thwarted an attempt to steal vibranium from one of Wakanda's outreach sites. Meanwhile, a team from the U.S. discovers vibranium buried beneath the Atlantic Ocean, using a machine that detects the metal. But they are prevented from obtaining the vibranium when their ship is attacked by a group of blue-skinned, water-breathing people with super strength. They're led by Namor, who isn't blue-skinned but has pointed ears as well as small wings on his ankles that let him fly. But the CIA believes Wakanda is responsible for the attack. Later, Namor contacts Ramonda and Shuri. (He says his people call him K'uk'ulkan, the name of a god they worship; it's only his enemies that call him Namor, but that's what we mostly hear people call him throughout the movie. Whether that's because they consider him an enemy or just because "Namor" is easier to remember and pronounce, who knows?) He wants Wakanda to deliver to him the scientist who developed the vibranium detector, or else he'll attack Wakanda.
Shuri and Okoye contact agent Everett Ross, and learn from him that the scientist is actually an MIT student named Riri Williams, whom they want to bring to Wakanda for her protection. But they are attacked by Namor's people, who kidnap Riri and Shuri. Queen Ramonda goes to Haiti to ask Nakia to come out of retirement from the war dogs and find her daughter and Riri. Meanwhile, in the underwater kingdom of Talokan, Namor tries to convince Shuri that their people should be allies. But Nakia rescues the two women and brings them back to Wakanda, after which Namor and his people launch an attack on Wakanda. And... lots of other stuff happens. Shuri continues trying to synthesize the heart-shaped herb that gave the Black Panther his powers, but which had been destroyed by Killmonger in the previous movie. She eventually succeeds, and takes the herb herself, becoming the new Black Panther. (Before I saw the movie, I think I'd read somewhere that the identity of the new Black Panther was not someone fans would guess, which is ridiculous, because I think Shuri was pretty nearly everyone's first guess.) She has also developed some new battle suits called "Midnight Angels" to give people greater strength and whatnot, which would be worn by Okoye and another Dora Milaje named Aneka. And Riri creates a suit for herself, inspired by Iron Man's armor. And they all take the next battle to Namor and his people.
I don't want to say too much more about the plot. But we do learn that the mysterious woman who had been seen in a couple of other MCU projects, Valentina Allegra de Fontaine, is now the director of the CIA, as well as Ross's ex-wife. She has Ross arrested for helping the Wakandans, but Okoye later rescues him. So I have no idea what will happen with his character in the future, but I assume he'll be a fugitive. There are some other major changes for various characters that I'm avoiding spoiling for now. But I will say there's a mid-credits scene with Shuri, Nakia, and a young boy whose identity I also won't spoil. And... yeah. There's so much more I could say about the movie, I feel like I'm leaving too much out, but as I said, I don't want to spoil any more details. I don't think it's as great as the original "Black Panther", but it was still pretty damn good. Lots of drama, and action, and plot developments that could impact the MCU in any number of ways, in the years to come. I look forward to seeing how it all plays out.
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