Black Panther: Wakanda Forever Review

The whole world mourned the passing of Chadwick Boseman two years ago because he was beloved as T’challa/Black Panther but the main reason was because he was relatively young and had a long life ahead of him. Marvel, in a prolonged decision, decided to not recast this role in the MCU. This didn’t go over well with a lot of fans of the comics. Most people in the industry and Black leaders thought it was a great decision though. Fast forward two years and Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is now out in theaters. Is it a film that makes Boseman’s legacy proud.? That question is about to be answered.

Wakanda is dealing with the death of T’Challa and they haven’t had the time to think about the decision to be a part of the world instead of being hidden. This decision has had repercussions as the world has deemed them a dangerous nation due to their vibranium. When a vessel exploring the deep depths of the ocean for the said vibranium ends up with a bunch of dead bodies including CIA agents people start asking questions. And Wakanda is blamed for the deaths. Queen Ramunda (Angela Bassett) her only remaining child Shuri (Letitia Wright) Okoye (Dania Guerra) the head of the Dora Malaje ends up pinpointing a scientist who ends up being a nineteen-year-old MIT student Riri Williams (Dominique Thorn) who created a device that can find Vibranium. She is in grave danger from a new threat even more powerful than Wakanda and its people.

Ryan Coogler had his hands full with writing a new script and dealing with the loss of Boseman. It couldn’t have been easy figuring out a way to do his legacy proud while also giving fans and critics a good film. Well, he did a good job in my book. This film indeed does his legacy proud and shows people that there are still a lot of stories to be told involving these characters and the world of Wakanda. Also, he had to introduce a new world of Talokan and a new villain never before seen in the MCU, Namor (Tenoch Huerta) along with a new young hero Ironheart. These stories were developed very slowly and steadily. That’s why the film is two hours and forty-one minutes long. 

The original Black Panther was a huge hit with fans and critics alike. It made a lot of money and was nominated for a bunch of Academy Awards. Winning three for some below-the-line categories like makeup and hairstyling, costumes, and production design. Along with the best score for Ludwig Gorinssun. This movie doesn’t quite live up to those lofty accolades but it’s not a bad movie either. These departments are pretty good in the sequel all except for the cinematography. That to me seemed like a backward step. The underwater and night scenes seemed a bit too dark where it was hard to see the underwater world and the visual effects were a bit underdone. These are minor quibbles though.

Wakanda Forever captures the new world of Talokan brilliantly and Namor is a complete badass. His back story is done impeccably and the origin story of these people is very intelligently depicted. The backstory makes complete sense in the context of the MCU. Coogler has decided to do things differently from the DCEU. They got to Atlantis first so the Coogler and company didn’t want to be redundant so they used the Myan race and made it the origins of these people. They have their own language and all. Wakanda has its hands full dealing with this underwater civilization. Tenoch Huerta as Namor is a pretty awesome villain but his cohorts Attuma and Namora (Alex Lininali and Mabel Cadeno) are equally as badass of characters as Namor is in the film.

This film has a lot of moving parts and even though there is a through line from beginning to end it also has a few individual storylines. Each of the main characters have their own individual arc that fits into the overall story. These subplots are very well done to show this world is full of exciting characters with engaging stories and that’s where the title comes in.  Lupita Nyongo, Winston Duke, and even Martin Freeman all return and have good subplots within the context of the overall film. They fit in very nicely. And make the movie better.

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is a fantastic film with a great villain. This world has been expanded upon superbly. With the tragedy of the passing of Boseman to deal with Coogler and company have handled it gracefully and the film does his legacy justice. This film has a couple of things that don’t live up to the original from a technical aspect but aren’t a big deal as far as the storylines go. The cast is all fantastic in their returning roles but Bassett is the standout among the cast. The new characters introduced in the movie are very well developed and the actors are terrific as these new characters. This is the best MCU film of 2022 and at the end of Phase 4, it ushers in a new era and brings the MCU nicely into Phase 5 in February with Antman Quantumania. This is a very solid sequel though and fans should very much enjoy it.

4 stars 

Dan Skip Allen

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