Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is the latest MCU film and is definitely the most sombre one to date, since the star of the first film, Chadwick Boseman, sadly died before being able to film this one. As a result, it seemed like the sequel would never happen. However, the team from the first film all reunited to bring out a follow-up. It was decided that Boseman’s role of T’Challa would not be recast, personally I think that this was the right decision in spite of the fact that he only got to play the role in one solo movie, (plus smaller parts in other Marvel films) he was fantastic in the part and was irreplaceable.
Wakanda Forever brings back director Ryan Coogler and I was personally really happy to see that, since I felt that his direction was what made the first film good. This film has to do a few different things with its plot, it’s trying to establish what this new Wakanda is going to be like considering that we now have a kingdom without T’Challa. The film largely follows the grieving process of his family and friends, including Okoye (Danai Gurira) and sister Shuri (Letitia Wright). It also deals with the world powers now trying to get their hands on the precious metal Vibranium found only in Wakanda, as well as the inclusion of an underwater society led by King Namor (Tenoch Huerta).
The film actually has to introduce another character as well, MIT student Riri a.k.a IronHeart (Dominique Thorne), and that was a tough job considering that Ironheart has been a very divisive character amongst comic fans after her introduction following the story of event comic Civil War 2. To put a long story short, she’s basically a teenage Iron Man.
One thing I felt that this film did well was the introduction of Namor. He’s been one of Marvel’s longest running legacy characters, but I was kind of interested at his absence this far into the MCU. The way that they portray his character here is actually very good, they give him believable motivation and he delivers one of the most brutal moments in any of the Marvel films to date!
I will say that Tenoch Huerta gives an excellent performance in this film, and so does the rest of the cast, especially Letitia Wright and Danai Guirira. They sold this film almost entirely, considering that the main theme of Wakanda Forever is grief. Essentially, it’s a film about struggling to move on, and it affects both the heroes and villains’ motivation. Everyone is trying to do what they think is best and some are going about it in the right way and some are going about it in the wrong way. I think that despite the sombre nature of the film, it’s a lot lighter in the humour department. Some of the scenes set in Boston are really good, and I felt that the interactions between Shuri and Riri were great.. Plus actresses Letitia Wright and Lupita Nyong’o have great chemistry!! And of course, again, Lupita Nyong’o is always one of the best of any film that she’s in.
I do, however, have to say that this is a more focused film. It’s definitely the most self-contained Marvel film to date, to such an extent that for the first time ever there’s only one mid-credits scene and without giving anything away, it’s not building to a sequel. But I would still urge you to check it out if you see it!
Agent Ross (Martin Freeman) is in the film again. While you could say that he bridges the gaps between some of these films, I think that he’s so tied in with the Black Panther films that it doesn’t feel out of place.
The action scenes are shot pretty well for the most part.. I don’t like the lighting in some of these scenes, and it made it very hard to see. We’re not talking about ‘Fant4stic’ hard to see, but I did notice this problem in a few scenes. I don’t think that it was to cover any special effects errors, since the SFX in this film are actually pretty good. I’m thankful to say that the final scenes actually took place in the daytime, which was very welcome by me.
I will say that if you had any love for the last Black Panther movie, you should take a box of tissues with you, since there are a lot of heartbreaking moments in this film.
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