Besting its predecessor in terms of storytelling and banking on award-worthy performances from its two main leads, Ryan Coogler's sequel is arguably Marvel's most emotional film yet.
Since Chadwick Boseman's untimely passing shook the global entertainment industry, fans have waited with bated breaths to see what comes next in the sequel to the award-winning Wakandan tale.
A decision was made not to recast the role of T'Challa/Black Panther and director Coogler developed a story that would see the world's most technologically advanced nation struggle to survive its most dangerous enemy at its most vulnerable.
The final result is a film that evokes a whirlwind of emotions from the viewer, engaging you deeply with themes of love, loss, grief, revenge, and redemption.
Leading the charge among the stellar cast of talents is Letitia Wright who plays Princess Shuri with such drive and commitment that you literally feel her character's complex emotions.
Torn between grieving the death of her beloved brother and faced with protecting her motherland, Shuri undergoes a journey that takes her to the lowest depths (literally and figuratively), emerging with the potential to change the fate of not just one nation but two.
As the troubled protagonist, Wright gets lost in the heroine's quest for answers in a world that keeps descending into chaos and madness.
It's a nerve-wracking performance that comes naturally to the star who uses every tool at her disposal to deliver nothing short of a spectacle.
Not too far behind in terms of her equally stupendous outing is veteran Hollywood actress Angela Basset as Ramonda.
The ruler has the difficult task of keeping her daughter sane while navigating the complexities of ruling a nation threatened by war.
At some point in the film, Ramonda lashes out in frustration over having lost everything dear to her. That moment spoke to me in no small way and is a testament to her ability to astound and mesmerize audiences.
Danai Gurira as Dora Milaje's military leader also delivers some fine acting here, showing a more human side we never saw in the first part.
I won't forget to mention the actor who brings the antagonistic Namor to life, Tenoch Huerta. Though a newcomer, his portrayal of a man who tilts between good and bad is both unnerving and convincing.
For me, Namor is one of the most interesting antagonists in the MCU. Driven by the urge to protect his people, he walks the grey area between good and bad, showing that he is not just your average bad guy.
I enjoyed every scene with Huerta playing Namor and I applaud the gifted performer for giving fans someone to remember.
All of the above makes the character development and plot progression elevate Black Panther: Wakanda Forever beyond the status of its prequel.
Visually speaking, this movie delivers decent special effects and commendable action. I expected the latter to be more impressive though. However, it is undoubtedly an improvement on what was seen in the prequel.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever truly honours Chadwick Boseman and made me miss him in more ways than one.
I got teary-eyed midway through the mid-credits scene as nothing prepared me for the level of catharsis that was on display.
Marvel Studios, Coogler, Wright, Basset and the rest of the cast and crew have crafted the perfect farewell to Boseman who I feel would be proud of this production.