Black Panther: Wakanda Forever has been reported to have a runtime of 2 hours and 41 minutes, officially becoming the highest screentime any MCU superhero movie has gotten since Avengers: Endgame (181 minutes). But given that it is not an Avengers film, Black Panther 2 now stands at the top as a solo film with the highest runtime, officially overtaking Eternals which had stood at 2 hours and 36 minutes.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever and its 161-Minute-Plot
For over a decade now, the Marvel superhero franchise has given us twice as many stories for us to treasure and hold. In all its world-building, we stood witness to gods and monsters and space and death. But now, all of it comes down to Black Panther: Wakanda Forever — a two-fold tragedy happening simultaneously in the real world as well as the reel. That makes the film not only more difficult to tread without transgressing or disrespecting any boundaries, but also gives it quite a story to tell.
Chadwick Boseman‘s passing is still a sore subject and it is not simply because he was a good actor. Boseman became a legend in his own right when he became the first Black superhero by bringing Black Panther to life. The solo film didn’t feel like an imposed cultural statement from Marvel because it was not one. Black Panther‘s story was sublime and transcendent in every way, and it represented everything that a film should — action, conflict, tragedy, grandeur, the burdens of familial obligation, weathered love, tested loyalties, the finality of death, an ephemeral undertone of a world beyond our comprehension. But above all, Black Panther was Chadwick Boseman’s final resounding hurrah and his quiet resolve held it all together.
It comes as no surprise then that the echoes of that film and its hero at one point became an intermingling of fiction and reality. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever serves to sort through that knotted chaos and give us a story that rejoices the life that was lost too early all the while bringing the story to a respectful resolution.
What Does Black Panther: Wakanda Forever Intend to Offer?
The 161-minute runtime of the film does make sense. On one hand, it is about paying tribute and celebrating the life of late actor Chadwick Boseman. But the film also needs to explore his in-universe successor who as far as speculation goes, has to be among Shuri, Nakia, or Okoye. The film also looks to close off Phase 4 with a grand see-off. The introduction of one of Marvel comics’ original and most powerful anti-heroes, Namor the Sub-Mariner will also enter the fray.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever will tread through political struggles created by the power vacuum at the top. The technologically advanced and hidden African country which opened itself up to the world will also now have to arm itself once again when Namor rises up from Atlantis and declares war against the surface-dwellers for all their perceived wrong-doings. The film also has to end with a treatise between Namor and Wakanda if the anti-hero is to be a part of the much bigger multiversal war that is to come. Considering the multi-layered story that Ryan Coogler has had to sift through, 2 hours and 41 minutes don’t seem that long to witness the elegance of the Black Panther sequel.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever premieres on November 11, 2022.