Queen Ramonda, Shuri, M’Baku, Okoye and the Dora Milaje fight to protect the kingdom of Wakanda from intervening world powers in the wake of King T’Challa’s death. As the Wakandans strive to embrace their next chapter, the heroes must band together with the help of War Dog Nakia and Everett Ross and forge a new path for their nation.
To the entire cast and crew for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, thank you! Thank you for all of your passion and dedication that you put into this film during such a hard time. It was a difficult daunting task to continue this process without our beloved hero, yet you endured the pain just for our entertainment. I appreciate all of your hard work and rest in peace Chadwick Boseman.
Expectations going into this film were sporadic, to say the least. They were high with the excitement to see more of the great nation of Wakanda, but simultaneously low in regard to how the film would handle the passing of Chadwick Boseman. I was worried the story would write itself into a corner killing off the character of T’Challa with no hope that the character would ever return in the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe). After a second viewing of the film, I was able to resonate with his sendoff much more than the first time around. It’s not what I would’ve chosen creatively, but it was treated with great tender loving care which is very respectful.
However, director Ryan Coogler was able to gather some of that great energy from the first film, double it and use that for this highly anticipated sequel. The costume design by Ruth E. Carter and the music from Ludwig Göransson across the board is superior to the first film. Every detail is seen vividly in the costume design for each character in the film. It’s only a shame that we didn’t get to see more. Everything is upgraded. If the costumes were on sale for the general public, it would cause serious credit card debt for all its consumers. In addition to this, the music was soothing yet intense. When there were moments dealing with grief during the film the music was soft and calm, but during moments of foreseeable action, it was thrilling and electric. This was huge during a scene when the Black Panther made its return.
Without Chadwick, everyone else had to step up to lead the film. Some characters outpaced others, but the main three winners were Shuri (Letitia Wright), Okoye (Danai Gurira), and Queen Ramonda (Angela Bassett). Shuri’s character had huge shoes to fill, and she did her absolute best with what she was given. The cute comedic sweetheart is still here, but she has matured tremendously. She had no choice but to, and the growth of her character, and seeing all of the pain and frustration she had to go through made you instantly sympathetic to all her pain. Okoye on the other hand was a fierce firecracker. Besides her comedic beats during the film, her tenacity during battle was invigorating and compelling. There would be no complaints if she was the leader of my army to take down an enemy or defend our home. If you see this woman, especially with her spear, run as fast as you can. While those two characters were great, Queen Ramonda steals the show. Oh my goodness gracious great balls of fire this woman is amazing on screen. It’s ridiculous the number of chills that will flow down your spine when she makes her entrance during one of the opening scenes. It’s such a powerful moment, and the way she flexed the strength and capabilities of Wakanda to the world was empowering. If someone were to google “Black Woman” her picture needs to appear, because she was the perfect representation of the many forms our sisters can present themselves. She was my favorite character in the entire film and will be the topic of conversation for a long time.
What else will be discussed for quite some time is all of the action that is displayed in this film, particularly on the bridge vs. the people of Talocan. This is what I want to see when I see a Marvel movie, a comic book movie, or any movie with action. Strong characters beating the crap out of each other with skill, precision, strength, and strategy, and that’s what I received. The first note is the Talocans know how to make an entrance, and to say it was scary was an understatement. With their initial introduction, I asked myself, “How will you beat these people, if they can accomplish this?” They were a worthy foe and showed all their might throughout the entire film. Especially during a bridge fight scene because it was a true standoff. Mano a mano in its truest form. It will make you sit up in your seat as soon as the battle commences. The choreography is splendid, and the character of Attuma (Alex Livinalli) was a monster not to be reckoned with. The way he trashed talked during battle was appealing too. It was great to see he had respect for a one-on-one fight, and it’s clear he lives by the sword (spear). It wouldn’t be surprising if he ever revealed he wanted to die in battle with the vibes he was given off.
However, there is a character even more rousing than Attuma and that’s Namor (Tenoch Huerta) himself. The first mutant in Marvel comics is now on screen and his presence didn’t disappoint. This man is powerful beyond belief, and he’s running over everything in his way to find his form of justice. The wings on his feet did raise some concern during the trailers but the effect was very convincing seeing his action in the film. His initial concern involving Wakanda was genuine as well. He’s just responding to the actions of the nation’s prior king, and he has every right to have questions that need answers. Though, while his presence was well felt, his motivations for his overall goal towards the end for the rest of the world were extremely underdeveloped. He was just like Erik Killmonger from the first film, but without a valid reason. I personally agreed with everything Killmonger said in the first film other than killing innocent children, but Namor didn’t have the same amount of depth in his reasoning so the film does start to suffer there. Him showing the audience the city of Talocan was great, and I’m confident that members of the Hispanic community will be thrilled to see part of their culture on the big screen because it was beautiful. However, a more tangible reason for Namor’s anger would’ve been appreciated.
Another great addition to the film was the upgrade in the technology of Wakanda. There were a few glimpses of new aerial vehicles and the beads that princess Shuri uses to communicate. And every time all of the elders and tribe leaders were in the throne room trying to solve an issue it was captivating, but it was all short-lived. This hurts the film tremendously. The movie is called “Wakanda Forever,” but there’s barely any Wakanda in the film, or anything new at least. The film can honestly feel bloated at times from all the themes it tries to address that aren’t fully baked in the oven. An example of this is the inclusion of the city of Talocan. While everything we saw was visually impressive, it takes away from the development of parts of Wakanda we haven’t seen yet. At this time, it is still unknown what the population of Wakanda is or how their politics or economics work. We still don’t know how each tribe is special and unique to the other tribes. The culture and the languages are still very unknown. Also, what are their war defenses like? This could’ve been explored especially in a film called Wakanda Forever but it takes a back seat. Instead of all we got from Talocan, we should’ve seen more of Wakanda, which is a huge letdown. Another missed opportunity in the film was the lack of any real male presence. It’s understood that Daniel Kaluuya (W’Kabi) couldn’t be in the film due to a scheduling conflict with Jordan Peele’s Nope, but the man is surely missed. This would’ve been a great opportunity to have M’Baku (Winston Duke) be a part of the main cast and in the forefront, but he’s put on the back burner as well. Why? This is very confusing. The women in this film did a phenomenal job, but there’s no reason why the men or at least M’Baku couldn’t have the same stage presence.
Also with the inclusion of Riri Williams (Dominique Thorne) her character was a cute treat to the film as well, and I appealed to her much more the second time around. She’ll do fine in her new Ironheart series that will appear on Disney Plus soon, but her character shouldn’t have been in the film, as well as Aneka (Michaela Coel). Riri had a better reason, but Aneka’s involvement was pointless. Both of these characters intruded on M’Baku’s screen time. If there was a way to include them all evenly that would’ve been great, but introducing new characters who replace or substitute older characters is not a smart move and will leave a sour taste in most fans’ memories.
There’re also a few plot holes as well that needs to be filled immediately. This is in the trailers so it’s not spoiling anything but Wakanda is infiltrated more than once in the film. It may be understood the first time around, but the second time it’s unforgivable. There was barely any conversation from any of the characters on how this was possible. Why not take notes or strategize so this won’t happen again? The fact that this is ignored is baffling. I mean seriously, after the first intrusion there is no conversation about how to stop this from happening again, and yet it happens again. There’s a freaking tribe called the border tribe. Aren’t they supposed to protect the border? The only time this was addressed was a short joke from M’Baku. I was scratching my head from frustration.
Ryan Coogler also seems to have an obsession with death and grief in the film. Parts of it make sense, while other aspects of his depiction of it were extremely distasteful and insensitive. There are some creative decisions that took place in the film that are absolutely horrific. I started to become uncomfortable and physically sick. I’m shocked that more thought was not put into these choices, which makes the film painfully difficult to watch at home for repeat viewing.
I also feel some type of way about how the film doesn’t address the system of white supremacy appropriately. It’s addressed barely but not fully played out. During the first film, you have Black people vs Black people. During this film, you have Black people vs Brown people. Two of the most advanced nations in the world fighting each other. Sigh…Yes, that happens in the comics, but why not take advantage of the real threat which is the white supremacist global powers that are obsessed with taking over Wakanda’s resources for vibranium. This is obviously no conspiracy that I’m speaking of because it’s brought up in the film, and we all know the evil stories of slavery and colonization. However, the film doesn’t want to show a large group of Black people defeating a large group of nonblack people for some reason. That would’ve made so much more sense, especially since this film was dealing with an enormous setback missing the titular character.
The ending climax versus Namor and the people of Talocan was decent. It wasn’t underwhelming, but didn’t blow me away either. It’s no one’s fault, but the final showdown was lacking with the absence of Chadwick Boseman. I still wanted more from this film or nothing at all. If it were up to me, I would’ve postponed this film until a much later date, and focused on multiple Wakanda Disney Plus series/seasons/shows. The origins of Wakanda, A Dora Milajie show, a season about King T’Chaka (T’Challa’s father), The Black Panther events during WWII, and even more. Again I am thankful for this film and appreciate all the hard work, because there is a lot to love in this movie. However it still has its shortcomings ranging from the lack of male presence, the lack of Wakanda, not the strongest motivations from the antagonist, with some plot holes here and there, and sketchy creative decisions that have nothing to do with the passing of Chadwick. It’s still a decent time in the theater as long as you tailor your expectations.
Thank you, Marvel,
Rest in Peace Chadwick Boseman. We love you and you’ll be forever missed.