The Hollywood premiere of the Marvel sequel Black Panther: Wakanda Forever took place Wednesday evening (October 26) with the entire cast, including Tenoch Huerta, in attendance. In the film, Huerta portrays Namor, the ruler of an underwater Mesoamerican kingdom.
“The representation of how people feel [about] this character and [how they] embrace our indigenous and African roots, it’s important in this moment because we were taught to deny our identity,” Huerta told Deadline on the purple carpet. “Now, it’s time to feel proud of it.”
Huerta also spoke about the fine line he walked with Namor when it came to portraying him as the villain of the movie or as a hero. It’s a complex characterization that Huerta explained to Variety.
“This is a guy who protects his people, his culture and every meaningful thing in his kingdom,” Huerta said. “Everybody all around the world can identify with this perspective. “I don’t know if he’s a villain or if he’s just a guy who’s trying to protect, whatever the cost, what is important.”
Soon after the credits rolled at the premiere, moviegoers started singing Wakanda Forever’s praises on social media. “[Wakanda Forever] is fantastic!” tweeted Puerto Rican film critic Fico Cangiano. “Coogler delivers a soulful, wondrous sequel that packs an emotional punch & effectively explores relevant world themes. A beautiful tribute to Boseman’s legacy. Letitia & Tenoch are great, & the mid-credits scene is really moving.”
Puerto Rican film critic Josie Meléndez spoke highly of Huerta’s contributions to the movie. “Tenoch Huerta is mesmerizing as Namor,” she tweeted. “He met all my expectations and EXCEEDED THEM & the underwater shots of this film are to die for.”
Brazilian film critic Gabriel Carvalho said the complexities of Wakanda Forever are profound. “What Ryan Coogler does with [Black Panther: Wakanda Forever] is to reconstruct a whole mosaic of generational traumas that haunt ethnic communities around the planet,” he wrote. “It goes deep, and not just for Namor, but for the care with plots and emotions that are truer than ever before in Marvel.”
Other Latines who got the opportunity to watch the film Wednesday night continued the lovefest for Huerta and suggested a spinoff. “Namor steals every scene he’s in,” wrote content creator Matt Ramos. “The people of Talokan & the way they fight is soooo sick. We’re going to need a Talokan project after this asap. There’s also some more setups for future projects.”
Non-Latine critics also were pleased with what Huerta had to offer. “The way that Wakanda Forever transforms the narrative of marginalized groups and refocused you on the priority is efficacious,” Atlanta-based film critic Meghan Cooper wrote. “The introduction of #Namor is powerful, and [Tenoch Huerta] embodies the character.”
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever hits theaters nationwide on November 11, 2022.