Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is the latest entry into the Marvel Cinematic Universe as part of their Phase Four. It is directed by Ryan Coogler, who also co-wrote the story for Marvel Studios and Disney.
One year after the death of T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) by an unknown illness, his mother Ramonda (Angela Bassett) closes Wakanda’s borders. Shuri (Letitia Wright) is having trouble moving on and her mother tries to help her. They are approached by a powerful mutant called Namor (Tenoch Huerta Mejía) who claims his underworld kingdom attacked a CIA base that had detected vibranium in the Atlantic Ocean. He tells them that if they do not kill the scientist who invented the machine, he will return to attack Wakanda. With the help of Everett Ross (Martin Freeman), Shuri and Okoye (Danai Gurira) find the inventor, a college student genius named Riri Williams (Dominique Thorne). They are attacked by Namor’s warriors, who capture Shuri and Riri. The Queen turns to Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o) for help, but Namor is a more powerful adversary than first thought.
Chadwick Boseman received a moving tribute at the beginning of the movie. While I still think Disney did the wrong thing by killing off T’Challa and rushing the film, they did a good job of honoring his memory.
As for the movie itself, it suffers from two critical flaws. The first is that it is way too long thanks to shoe-horned fashion Riri Williams was pushed into the plot. You can tell Marvel Studios wanted to introduce her before her Disney Plus miniseries because she felt like a convenient plot point instead of a well-developed character. If she had been cut, I honestly think the story would not have felt so extended. Nothing against the actor herself, she was fine, but her character definitely felt forced.
The second flaw is Namor. I do not know who that character was, it was not Namor from the comic books. It was a change to force “inclusivity” and it showed. Again, nothing against the actor. He did a decent job, but the entire way they changed the lore of Atlantis reeked of creative bankruptcy.
With this in mind, I did honestly enjoy the movie. It had a solid plot that did a good job of presenting its story. Despite my hesitations about the movie, Ryan Coogler’s ability to direct trumps Disney’s desire to please weirdos on social media. It had some excellent action sequences and while there was some politically correct messaging, Coogler kept the story on point.
I would be remiss if I did not mention Winston Duke as M’Baku. In a lot of these stories about female superheroes, they want to downplay the male characters. They did not do this with M’Baku. They uplifted him and showed to be someone who is courageous.
The film also did a good job of maturing Shuri. Letitia Wright is an incredible actor and I thought her character was well-developed for the story. Honestly, there was no story without her and it was worth it for her to buck a corrupted system for her rights.
Bottom line, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever needed to trim some excess during the editing process, but it was a solid movie that can be enjoyed.
PARENTAL CONCERNS: Some foul language, Intense violence
FAVORITE QUOTE: This place is amazing. The air is pristine, and the water… My mother told me stories about a place like this, a protected land with people who never have to leave, who never have to change who they were. What reason do you have to reveal your secret to the world?
Check out the trailer below:
What do you think? Let me know in the comments below. Tell me if there is a comic book, movie, or novel you would like me to review. While you are at it, check out my reviews of Don’t Worry Darling and Weird: The Al Yankovic Story. Don’t forget to like, share, and subscribe for more posts like this one.
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