‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’ Movie Review

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

It’s not a secret that Black Panther: Wakanda Forever has much to live up to. Not only did the original Black Panther film leave us in total awe of Chadwick Boseman, but it was also a massive box office success, grossing over $1.3 billion.

The original film’s ticket sales make it the 14th highest-grossing film of all time. So will Black Panther: Wakanda Forever live up to the original? While it’s hard to predict the box office earnings, I can say that the film delivers a story that beautifully honors the first film. (Additionally, it’s probably safe to estimate that this one will cross the $1 billion mark before the end of 2022.)

The official description of the film notes that the story revolves around Queen Ramonda (Angela Bassett), Shuri (Letitia Wright), M’Baku (Winston Duke), Okoye (Danai Gurira), and the Dora Milaje (including Florence Kasumba) as they fight to protect their nation from intervening world powers in the wake of King T’Challa’s death.

Wakanda
Photo Credit: Marvel

As the Wakandans strive to embrace their next chapter, the heroes must band together with the help of War Dog Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o) and Everett Ross (Martin Freeman) and forge a new path for the kingdom of Wakanda.

The film also introduces Tenoch Huerta as Namor, king of a hidden undersea nation. Furthermore, Huerta plays the first Indigenous, Latin American hero in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU).

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever Movie Trailer

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever Movie Review: What I Did and Didn’t Like

There’s not much for me to criticize with this one. I thoroughly enjoyed the film. And I loved the tribute that was paid to Chadwick Boseman. That being said, Boseman’s absence is palpable. As a result, the movie has a different kind of energy than the original, which isn’t bad – just different.

The MCU Phase 4 has been a bit of a bumpy and unsatisfying journey for Marvel fans. However, this film emerges as one of the better films from the Phase. There’s also a beautiful end credit scene (one total end credit scene to be exact) that introduces some additional questions for the future of the Black Panther universe.

Yet, overall the film doesn’t tie itself into any upcoming Marvel films in an obvious way. Again, not necessarily a bad thing, but just a note for those fans that wait till the very end of the credits.

Letitia Wright as Shuri
Photo Credit: Marvel

Acting

The performances here were all stellar. Letitia Wright does a remarkable job taking on the lead role and carving her path in the Black Panther universe. Her character truly stands on her own and not in the shadows of King T’Challa. 

For me, the most amazing performance in the film was that of Angela Bassett’s Queen Ramonda. I would even call it award-worthy, as Bassett gave me chills in several moments.

Angela Bassett as Queen Ramonda
Photo Credit: Marvel

Story 

The story as a whole felt well-constructed, and the script was well-written. Unfortunately, some of the action sequences towards the end of the film feel a bit overkill. But on the flip side, some earlier ones are really cool to watch unfold.

The most impressive part of this script, though, is the time and attention put into acknowledging and honoring Boseman’s King T’Challa. Rarely do you see a film that shows more than a few moments of grief from its character over the loss of another character. Grief is a central driving force in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, and it’s handled in a way that feels real and raw. It’s heavy and emotional but also profoundly moving.

Tenoch Huerta as Namor
Photo Credit: Marvel

Special Effects

For the most part, the special effects are what you would expect. However, some underwater moments, specifically with Tenoch Huerta’s Namor, just landed in uncanny valley for me. There was something about his face when he was addressing the undersea nation that felt overly CGI’ed and took me out of the scene.

Overall Thoughts

Is Black Panther: Wakanda Forever better than the original film? No. But it is a solid follow-up that does a remarkable job of honoring the original and, more importantly, honoring Boseman and his character? Absolutely. It’s genuinely beautiful how the absence of Boseman is handled and mourned. And overall, it’s everything fans want from a superhero film, especially a Marvel one.

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever Movie Review:

Grade: A-

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever  opens in U.S. theaters November 11, 2022.

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