Black Panther: Wakanda Forever had some big shoes to fill considering the first film is often considered one of the better installments in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Let’s explore all the goods and bads of this highly anticipated sequel to see if it lives up to the legacy that the original Black Panther.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever takes on many tasks for a single movie. It needed to serve as a direct sequel to Black Panther, say goodbye to and pay homage to the life of Chadwick Boseman and his character T’Challa, introduce who is to take on the mantle of Black Panther, set up future MCU projects, and do it all while still being coherent and entertaining. Ryan Coogler and everyone else involved with the film managed to tackle it all successfully. The movie somehow ties each of these plot elements into one cohesive story that actually flows rather well together. Boseman (and T’Challa) are honored. Future MCU installments are set up, like the upcoming Iron Heart series, without it those plot elements feeling out of place or like an advertisement for what’s to come. The story expands upon the lore introduced in its predecessor while also telling a beautiful and engaging story of its own.
The story of Wakanda Forever is a truly emotional one in a lot of ways. Whether it be honoring the legacy of a fallen character, characters making impactful decisions, or something truly terrible happening, there is an emotional weight throughout the film that goes unmatched by other comic book adaptations. Audiences will be quick to grow emotional attachments to the characters and are sure to shed a tear or two for this one.
The political themes and ethical questions brought up throughout the story are genuinely intriguing. Both Shuri and Namor want what’s best for their countries, and are willing to go to great lengths to ensure the safety of their people, even if that means going to war. No one completely feels like the villain (for the most part). Instead, they’re rulers tasked with incredibly difficult decisions. There are some moments with this that give the audience a lot to ponder.
As fantastic as the first Black Panther is, there are some places where the visual effects become laughably bad, like when T’Challa and Killmonger initiate their final battle. In Wakanda Forever, though, the visual effects stay consistently great. Even some of the most fantastical elements look real.
This is a Marvel superhero flick, so there is lots of action to be enjoyed. The fight sequences are a ton of fun to experience. There’s also plenty of variety and creativity put into the action. Vehicles, spears, claws, flying Iron Heart armor, and even killer whales are used in fights, and it’s all incredibly entertaining. There are quite a few fights throughout the film and they all have different feels to them.
While the movie does a phenomenal job with taking on many tasks and making them all fit in together, there are some moments where the pacing feels off. A couple of scenes feel a tad too slow or too long. They’re not bad scenes by any means, but they could have gotten away with shaving some of the time off of them.
Some of the side characters, like Ayo or Aneka, are put on the backburner just a little too much. They’re there to serve important roles, but their intended impact is lessened by how little they appear in the movie. The audience doesn’t spend enough time with them to get to know them or care about them like we are with other characters.
This is minor, but there’s a moment when the Wakandans and Iron Heart are surrounded by Talokanil during a battle. The Wakandans have their spears out to keep their foes at bay, but Iron Heart just holds out her arm cannons, aiming them at the Talokanil. It’s understandable that she doesn’t fly away and abandon her allies, but why doesn’t she fire her weapons? It would have probably helped them in their predicament quite a bit. It makes so little sense that it’s a bit immersion-breaking. If there was a brief scene of her running out of ammo or her suit running low on power, it would make much more sense. The way it stands, however, makes it seem like she just randomly stops fighting.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is an emotional and action-packed epic. It’s an incredible send off to the actor Chadwick Boseman and the character of T’Challa. It also fits into the greater universe that is the MCU while ultimately feeling like a standalone story. It’s heartfelt, exciting, and offers up an interesting enough story to make audiences think. It’s a truly beautiful film that must be seen.