Black Panther: Wakanda Forever Image

DID BLACK PANTHER: WAKANDA FOREVER HIT ITS MARK?

My honest answer to this question is no. Even though the story is solid on paper, the film itself did a very rough job translating it to the big screen. It is riddled with problems, some of which are very hard to overlook. But let’s start with the elephant in the room, Chadwick Boseman.

If I were being blatantly honest, making Wakanda Forever was a fool’s errand from the beginning. Coogler had the most significant decision of his career to make by either recasting T’Challa or killing off the beloved character. He obviously chose the latter even though the fanbase was split, with many wanting the T’Challa character replaced with another current Black actor.

There are bookend tributes to Boseman, and you definitely feel his presence throughout. So there’s no question whether Coogler shows the late actor the proper respect. But the question that rang through the whole runtime for me was, “Was this the right story to tell? Would taking a break from the franchise instead of immediately shooting this sequel so close to Boseman’s death have been the better way to go?”

Tenoch Huerta Mejía as Namor in Marvel Studios’ Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. © 2022 MARVEL.

“…a fool’s errand from the beginning.”

NAMOR

Unfortunately, the movie never got the antagonist it deserved. Nothing personal against Huerta, but his characterization of Namor is the weakest performance in the film. But it wasn’t just his acting. Huerta didn’t have the look or “presence” that a heavy-hitting character like Namor should have. It not only took away from the story, but at some point, it became a huge distraction. It was even more noticeable during the fight sequences, where the other Talocans are showing up Namor.

THE WOMEN OF WAKANDA

Even though the women’s performances in Wakanda Forever were solid, especially those of Bassett, Letitia, Lupita Nyong’o, and Danai Gurira, another glaring problem was the lack of men in the movie. To the point where it’s felt when Winston Duke’s M’Baku or any other male actor enters a scene. The whole energy of the crowd shifted every time M’Baku was on screen. Even the final fight scene with the new Black Panther and Namor felt hollow like there was no weight behind any punches. And then add to all of this, Riri Williams and her Power Rangers version of the Iron Man suit seemed only to be there to promote her upcoming Disney+ show.

Letitia Wright as Shuri in Marvel Studios’ BLACK PANTHER: WAKANDA FOREVER. Photo by Annette Brown. © 2022 MARVEL.

“…no question whether Coogler shows the late actor the proper respect.”

Is Black Panther: Wakanda Forever worth watching?

Overall, maybe? It is an enjoyable watch at times and really rough at other times. The story is decent, and the performances (outside of Namor) are good. But even in saying that, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever suffers greatly from very uneven pacing, a bloated runtime, and an underwhelming villain. So even though we understand the decisions that are made, it doesn’t make them any better. Coogler should’ve taken time to process Boseman’s death and return to the franchise when he was finished grieving. Instead, the movie lasts two hours and forty minutes, and you really feel it. I don’t think the women of this franchise have what it takes to carry it or put a***s in seats, and killing off a character like T’Challa, I believe, is going to be a huge regret for the MCU in coming years.

Black Panther (2022)

Directed: Ryan Coogler

Written: Ryan Coogler, Joe Robert Cole

Starring: Letitia Wright, Angela Bassett, Tenoch Huerta, Lupita Nyong'o, Danai Gurira, Winston Duke, Dominique Thorne, etc.

Movie score: 7/10

Black Panther Image

"…an enjoyable watch at times and really rough at other times."

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  1. Gilbert says:

    I can never again trust one of your reviews. This was insanely bad. However, Dante maybe you believe what Joe Biden said if you don’t like this movie, you’re not black

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