Spoilers ahead for “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.”
“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” is a beautiful testament to the love that both fans and the people behind the film have for the late Chadwick Boseman and his work as T’Challa in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. We, the audience, grieve along with the characters and the actors. But that doesn’t mean “Wakanda Forever” is short on action as well.
Namor (Tenoch Huerta Mejía) is a powerhouse of a mutant and is a huge threat to Wakanda and the world. The final battle on the ship is a lot of fun to watch. But it will forever be the Dora Milaje who give us the best fight scenes in the MCU.
Much of that is owed to Danai Gurira’s performance as Okoye, because wow, she can fight. Gurira recently visited “The Daily Show” and told host Trevor Noah that her experience working on the first “Black Panther” film, as well as playing Michonne on “The Walking Dead,” helped her get through the intense fight scenes of “Wakanda Forever”. Not only was Gurira doing a lot of fight work, but she actually tore a shoulder muscle. (She said it’s fine now, by the way.)
‘Go Out There And Beat Somebody!’
Okoye’s fighting prowess is fully on display in her bridge battle with the Talokanil, where she’s forced to stand and fight alone after Shuri (Letitia Wright) and Riri (Dominique Thorne) are both knocked unconscious. Things get particularly intense when she takes on the hulking warrior Attuma (Alex Livanalli), setting up a rematch in the final act of “Wakanda Forever.” Gurira mentioned the bridge fight as “the key thing,” explaining that she doesn’t feel like she’s playing the role for real unless she’s actually doing it:
“[Okoye] is a warrior. And I was coming from ‘Walking Dead’ as well, so I was used to — on ‘Walking Dead’ it was just like, get out there and do it … Go out there and beat somebody! You know? It’s like, get it done. So I was used to just getting out there and just getting it done, and really acquainting myself with the weapon.
“And we did that so hard in the first [movie]. So in the second one, there was no exception. I had to do my fights, I had to learn my fights. And yeah, it was, it’s a lot of work. There’s no way around the work. But to me, that’s actually how you become the character. You can’t become Okoye outside of how she knows how to fight.”
One common complaint about MCU films is that a lot of the fighting can have a glossy, CGI feel to it, but you can see that Gurira is doing the practical work here. As she explained on “The Daily Show,” she was dedicated to the rehearsals because “I had to win. That was my thing. I couldn’t not win.”
“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” is currently in theaters.
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Author: Jenna Busch
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November 18, 2022