'Black Panther: Wakanda Forever' Is An Emotional Feature Sincerely Dedicated To Chadwick Boseman
By Sal LoCicero | November 16, 2022
These two years have been rough for Marvel’s Phase Four. Fans have been divided with most of the movies and tv shows that they’ve put out. ‘Black Widow’, ‘Eternals’, ‘Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness’, and ‘Thor: Love and Thunder’ have all received such mixed reactions. ‘Shang-Chi’ and ‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’ were the only two that pleased its audiences. However, there may be one more feature that can end this phase on a positive note.
This week, ‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’ hit theaters and it’s breaking early box office records. Before production began, this movie suffered through a lot of issues, starting with the tragic and unexpected passing of Chadwick Boseman in 2020. Writer/director Ryan Coogler and co-writer Joe Robert Cole had already written the original script for the sequel, which they later had to scrap and begin an entirely new story. ‘Wakanda Forever’ faced a ton of backlash from fans about continuing the story without the main character T’Challa, but Marvel Studios remained confident with the decision, and with Coogler still in the director’s chair (given his successful filmography), there was still a small sign of hope left.
As the Wakandians mourn the sudden death of their leader King T’Challa (aka Black Panther), they begin to find themselves at war with forces from around the world who are using Wakanda’s vibranium to cause madness, while Namor The Sub Mariner threatens Wakanda and its people. If this movie hadn’t dealt with as many characters and subplots as it did, 2 hours and 41 Minutes would have been an unnecessarily long runtime, but that is not the case. While it could have been shortened down a little bit, the extended runtime is needed. The big question surrounding this sequel was about how they could possibly make another movie without the lead, well they sure proved it (in the most respectful way possible). T’Challa may not be present here, but as is depicted in the film, he is with us in spirit.
The main characters are Shuri, Nakia, Okoye, and Ramonda who fill up the screen with emotion, empathy, and bravery. For Shuri to now become the lead character, Letitia Wright shows her ability to put out a strong and effective performance, one that will get you choked up. Despite her limited screen presence, Lupita Nyong’o still makes the best out of what she is able to offer. Danai Gurira is given the chance to provide more to the character of Okoye - than in previous entries - and she nails it. Angela Bassett is good, however she is receiving the most acknowledgment out of the other co-stars who were a little more compelling. Namor, who becomes Wakanda’s biggest threat, is a weak villain and his subplot is one of the most uninteresting aspects of the movie. The FBI subplot, which overwhelmingly plays a tremendous role, takes too much time out of the other sequences that are a hell of a lot more intriguing. Riri Williams (aka Ironheart) starts off as a dry comedic relief, but once her character slowly develops she turns into a good supporting character to Shuri.
One massive improvement that blows the original’s out of the way is the CGI. The action sequences look real and it pulls you right in on the action. The deep underwater scenes are immersive, especially when seeing it in a 3D format.
What makes ‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’ such a special movie on its own is that it feels like the studio barely had anything to do with the creative/narrative process. It is not here specifically to set up the next phase, it’s not here to make the fans jump out of their seats in excitement, and it’s not here to be another basic Marvel movie. This movie is here to stand out above the rest and provide a message about love, tragedy, honor, and letting go of what once was and allow oneself to move forward. During the final fight sequence, the writers try to input the message of forgiveness in it - as used in the first movie - but the execution makes it completely irrelevant to the scene.
‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’ is the first MCU movie in a long time that truly feels like an original picture. Ryan Coogler and Joe Robert Cole took a major risk, but in the end, it succeeded, becoming a sincere tribute to Chadwick Boseman.
What are your thoughts?