Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is a touching tribute to Chadwick Boseman. It’s hard to imagine this franchise without him and his loss is felt throughout this sequel. Although not as good as the first Black Panther movie it’s still one of the better post Avengers: Endgame movies.
The nation of Wakanda are still in mourning over the death of King T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) and now face a new threat. Queen Ramonda (Angela Bassett), Princess Shuri (Letitia Wright) and Okoye (Danai Gurira) must fight to protect their home against multiple threats coming their way. With other nations desperate to get their hands on some precious vibranium to a new nation making themselves known and without the Black Panther to protect Wakanda they must do whatever it takes to defend their home and people.
It’s clear everyone is still feeling the huge loss of Chadwick Boseman and this obviously created problems for the cast and crew to continue the franchise and despite everything I feel they did the best they could under the circumstances. Director Ryan Coogler made the right call not to recast T’Challa and even though his character is missed it’s paved the way for a new Black Panther to take over.
The performances from the cast are the best thing about Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. Letitia Wright steps up as Princess Shuri, Angela Bassett is a show stealer in every scene she’s in. Honestly the woman never gives a bad performance. We also have the return of Lupita Nyong’o, Winston Duke and Danai Gurira. All excellent characters, well written and with more room now to develop them. Wakanda Forever has more heart and deeper themes running throughout compared to some of the other rubbish being churned out in the superhero genre.
Every single comic book movie is only as good as their villain/antihero, you can have an amazing movie with a perfect cast but get the villain wrong and it will suffer. Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan) in Black Panther was a tough act to follow and unfortunately Namor (Tenoch Huerta) didn’t quite live up to expectations. As the story progresses it eventually ends up at the big showdown. Ultimately being a giant lackluster fight scene although at least it didn’t feature a giant blue laser or some other ridiculous nonsense. The action sequences are a huge let down but everything else from the emotion, the costume designs and another exceptional score by Ludwig Göransson are the best thing about Wakanda Forever. Thankfully it’s not overloaded with endless slow-motion action sequences and messy fight scenes. It’s far more emotional than expected and you can feel the grief through it all.
A common issue that is cropping up in more and more movies, particularly superhero movies these days is the state of the CGI. The CGI in many of the Marvel and DC films seems to be getting worse with every new movie, this isn’t helped when more and more of them now rely so heavily on it. It’s difficult to single out scenes that don’t incorporate some form of special effects and sure fair enough when Black Panther has created new worlds that need to be shown with CGI fine, use it where necessary but if there’s not enough time to make it look good then more time is clearly needed to finish it. There is another film on the horizon that’s also going to feature underwater blue people and they’re going to be compared to each other, there’s no getting around that. Visual effects have improved in recent years, so when you look at a film like War For the Planet of the Apes and see where the bar is, it’s not good enough to release something beneath that level. Thor: Love and Thunder, Black Adam and now Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, as I said before either pay the VFX artists better or allow more time to make it actually look decent.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever although not as good as the first Black Panther is an entertaining sequel. You’ll enjoy it in the moment despite it being overly long. And yes, there’s a mid-credits scene that is definitely worth staying for. Recommended for the Marvel fans.
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