6 Thoughts on Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (Review)

Making Black Panther: Wakanda Forever couldn’t have been easy. Ryan Coogler and Chadwick Boseman were well into plotting and scripting this sequel when Boseman passed, after keeping his illness a secret from even his close collaborators. But I’m glad that Coogler, Marvel and the whole cast decided to push through and make this movie the way they did. Wakanda Forever is a big, rich and emotional movie, full of great performances and a really outstanding superhero story.

Movie Rating: 9/10 – Great

I very much enjoyed Wakanda Forever. I didn’t mind the long runtime. I loved the introduction of Namor, even though I’ve never been a fan of the character. I loved the story of the new Black Panther, even though I didn’t think I would. And I think everyone involved truly brought their A games to honor Boseman. It made for an exciting watch. I was already a big fan of the first Black Panther movie, and I think I liked this sequel even more. The same confidence was at play in the filmmaking, and I just think Namor and the Talokans were a wonderful antagonist. Good time all around!

Join me after the jump for my full thoughts and review on Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. Expect FULL SPOILERS for the movie. Feel free to share your own thoughts in the comments.


6. Wonderful film; great sequel


Screw Avatar

I very much enjoyed Wakanda Forever. The action scenes were fun, the character journeys were phenomenal, the superheroics were darn cool and the main conflict between Wakanda and Talokan was great! That part, with Namor as a rival ruler, really elevated the movie for me. Killmonger was a great villain in the first one, but he was ultimately just an evil Black Panther. Putting Wakanda up against this whole other nation, with its own art style, coloring and culture, made this whole movie really stand out for me. Then moving these characters, and the Black Panther mantle, through this new confrontation made for a fun and engaging story, with a lot of cool scenes and great character moments.

If I have any complaints, I think I agree with the criticisms that the movie is a bit long, that it could have used some more editing to tighten up the script. Did we need all of that Everett Ross subplot? Nah. Was Riri Williams tacked on? Probably a little. Likewise the Midnight Angels? Yeah, maybe, but Michaela Cole did great and it’s always fun to introduce some new characters. None of these things are deal breakers or take away from my love for this film.

Though, personally, I would have liked for Riri to acknowledge Iron Man or Tony Stark, even just a little bit. Other characters comment on how she made an Iron Man suit…but why didn’t Riri say anything? This is her character introduction, the first chance for the audience to get to know her. The comics did a whole thing with her and Iron Man. But she’s hardly a household name. Moviegoers meeting her for the first time won’t have any idea why she’s built her own Iron Man armor. Was Tony a personal hero or inspiration? Did she just want her own Iron Man suit? Is she the first person other than Stark to build a successful suit? Remember when that was a plot point in Iron Man 2? Guess we’ll have to wait for her show…


5. Acting powerhouses


I’m not ashamed of this kind of Oscar bait

I’ll be the first person to tell you that I don’t know squat about actors or acting, but hot damn was everybody really on the ball this time around. Angela Bassett is, rightfully, getting praise left and right for her role as Queen Ramonda, and I can definitely vouch for that. I watched that teaser trailer a dozen or so times, and yet when I saw her full speech in the actual context of the movie, it still got to me. I had the chills. I had the tears bubbling up in my eyes. She was phenomenal.

Likewise everybody else. Winston Duke made a lot out of his return as M’Baku. We were all looking forward to more M’Baku and he did not disappoint, balancing both the big bravado of the character with his new position as a wise advisor to Shuri. Their scenes together were excellent. I think Lupita Nyong’o wasn’t given enough to do as Nakia, but they explained why that was the case to my satisfaction. Danai Gurira stepped up in such a big way that I think she could have been a great choice to be the new Black Panther. Her emotion opposite the queen was just as good. Everybody did such a great job bringing life and energy and emotion into this movie.


4. Loved Shuri’s journey


I think I see something in there

I’m just as disappointed as everyone else with how Letitia Wright came out as anti-vaccinations, among other things. So much so that I was kind of hoping that revealing Shuri as the Black Panther in the trailers was just hiding the true new Panther for the second half of the movie, perhaps Nakia. But watching Shuri’s story on screen won me over completely. Her journey from angry youth ready to burn down the world in her grief to powerful superhero was amazing, and those goosebumps returned when she made her debut in her new costume. I’m happy for Shuri to take up the mantle now, and I hope to see her join the Avengers in those upcoming films.


3. Namor was perfect


The back of the gods

I have simply never been a fan of Namor the Submariner. I don’t like jerk characters, and he’s a Grade A jerk, always has been. But I think he was an inspired choice for antagonist in the Black Panther franchise. The fact that these movies are about a whole country and its monarchy make them special, so putting them up against another nation and its ruler is the best choice. These aren’t the movies about the bug-themed crime fighters. So that was already a great part of the film, pitting nation against nation. Then we had the absolute genius idea to not just put Namor in Atlantis, but to create an entirely new Mesoamerican identity and history behind him and his people! He looks great, his people look great, Talokan looks great, the flashback was great; everything about Namor elevated this movie. Tenoch Huerta had a great acting debut and I look forward to him all across the MCU.


2. Not recasting was the right choice


What is grief if not love persevering?

I am in the camp of fans who did not want to see T’Challa recast. It couldn’t have been easy making any of the choices that Marvel and Coogler did about this movie. But I fully respect and support the decision not to simply recast T’Challa. He’s a great character, and his story would have been excellent, I’m sure. But faced with the tragedy they were, I’m glad they didn’t recast. I’m glad the supporting cast was allowed to step up. I love how Coogler, Marvel and the actors used their own grief about Boseman to build this sequel up and make it something special. I read an interview with Coogler about how he did not want to ignore Boseman’s death. He said something along the lines of normal people die from things like disease all the time, so why not superheroes? It’s definitely a powerful statement and decision, and I support it. As I’ve been saying, I think all the supporting characters from the first film really stepped up and made this decision work.


1. I want a threequel


M’Baku for the Avengers?

I hope that Ryan Coogler and everybody else are down for a third movie. This world is rich with characters, charm, culture and storytelling potential. And with the same creativity that brought us Namor, I can’t imagine how cool a third movie could become. T’Challa and Wakanda were huge in the MCU. The big battle in Infinity War was in Wakanda, and T’Challa and Shuri were the first through the portal to join the battle in Endgame. I don’t think the MCU should lose any of that, nor should the Black Panther franchise. Get Shuri all up in that for the good hero crossover stuff! She can handle it! And I want it.

—————-

About Sean Ian Mills

Hello, this is Sean, the Henchman-4-Hire! By day I am a mild-mannered newspaper reporter in Central New York, and by the rest of the day I'm a pretty big geek when it comes to video games, comic books, movies, cartoons and more.

Posted on November 16, 2022, in Avengers, Lists of Six!, Marvel, Movies, Reviews and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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