Head back to Wakanda, where tragedy has struck its people. It just so happens the same tragedy has struck the real world as well. The follow-up to the massively successful Black Panther is here and it’s not without saying that this movie comes with all sorts of emotional baggage.
The people of Wakanda fight to protect their home from intervening world powers as they mourn the death of King T’Challa.
It’s been over 2 years since the tragic passing of Chadwick Boseman, and his death is no question at the forefront of this movie. A tribute to his name and what he stood for, this movie is not only dealing with the passing of King T’Challa in the MCU, but the actors themselves mourning with the death of their friend. Those emotions are felt throughout the entire movie and it’s that emotion that really propels the movie forward.
Shuri (Letitia Wright) is hurting more than anyone throughout this movie. She doesn’t know how to deal with grief and guilt and it’s swallowing her alive. Unable to move on from her brother’s death, she is determined to help the world with her technology and distract herself by any means necessary. Even when Queen Ramonda (Angela Bassett) tells her about a ritual that will help her move on with her life, she turns it down. She’s not ready to say goodbye and doesn’t exactly know how. Wakanda is without a Black Panther for the first time in centuries. When a new threat Namor (Tenoch Huerta) rises from the water, literally, this is Marvels Aquaman. He wants peace for his people underwater and wants the help from Wakanda. Nor friend or foe at that point, it’s up to Shuri to decide the future for Wakanda. Namor is by far the best part of the movie. A great new MCU villain, who is officially the first “mutant” of the MCU, he was badass, well-acted and had a sympathetic backstory. Finally, a memorable villain for the MCU, something lacking as of late. Whenever he was on screen I was invested in the movie, and I’m excited to see where they take his character next.
Black Panther is highly regarded as one of the strongest MCU movies to date, so any sequel was a daunting task, given the circumstances at play, this movie had such a tough task ahead of it. At the end of the day, Wakanda Forever is a stylish sequel, that lives up to the name, but ultimately felt over bloated and overstuffed. The biggest problem with the MCU right now, connectivity. They need to remind you that this is part of a much larger story (we already know this) and characters that serve no purpose to the story at hand keep popping up, again to remind us that this is the MCU! We are almost 30 movies in, the audience knows this and in an already long movie, dealing with the death of Chadwick, tossing in more screen time for a few people that had zero business being in the movie, felt like a terrible idea. It’s Evertt Ross and De Fontaine, they just take you out of the movie every single time they pop up. That was my biggest gripe with the movie, and a lackluster third act, the movie as a whole is fine, but I can’t prop something up because of the story behind the movie, that’s not fair to anyone. You also felt the absence of Daniel Kaluuya, who couldn’t be in the movie because he was filming NOPE at the same time, he could have elevated this movie even more.
Much like the first, the cast is stacked. Angela Bassett gives a powerful and raw performance. Showcasing some of the finest acting in the MCU to date. Lupita Nyong’o, Winston Duke and Danai Gurira are all back and thriving. Duke provides most of the laughs in the movie and remains one of the best characters within Wakanda. The newest addition, young inventor of sorts Riri (Dominque Thorne) is a really fun addition to the movie and a cool new side kick for Shuri. Letitia Wright also gives a great performance here, and without spoilers I won’t really say much else. The movie is long and at times it feels long and there certainly is a difference between a long movie and a movie that feels long. I was also hoping for a really great third act and it didn’t happen, it actually felt like the most MCU part of the movie. CGI stuffed, fake backgrounds and poor action. They barely showcase the new Black Panther and it felt like a misstep to do so. This was going to be an impossible task to begin with, but I do think in the end up Ryan Coogler pulled it off. But I would love to see him go smaller and step aside from the MCU.
Black Panther Wakanda Forever = 71/100