December 4, 2022
Review | Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (2022)

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is a worthy sequel. It is a powerful and deeply moving tale of grief and acceptance. Prepare yourself because it will make you cry but it will also make you laugh and cheer. Great action, striking visuals and a stellar cast, it delivers in every way.”

The newest chapter of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is finally here. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever marks the end of Phase 4, with the Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special acting as the epilogue on November 25. This Black Panther sequel has been most awaited by fans. Unfortunately, this one is without Chadwick Boseman who passed away in 2020.

HONORING CHADWICK BOSEMAN

Marvel Studios’ BLACK PANTHER..Black Panther/T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman)..Ph: Film Frame..©Marvel Studios 2018

So, how do you honor the legacy of Chadwick Boseman ? Not only, was he a superhero on screen, he was a real life hero. It’s been two years and I still cannot believe he is gone. As I am writing these words, it is impossible to hold the tears. A shining star gone too soon. Obviously, a recast was not possible. It wouldn’t have felt right. Chadwick is T’Challa, the same way that Robert Downey Jr. is Tony Stark/Iron Man. Thus, turning the page from this character was the best way.

Undoubtedly, honoring this man’s legacy was not an easy task. But if someone could do it, it had to be Ryan Coogler. And he does it so well. The film is a tribute to both T’Challa and Chadwick. Going into the cinema, I knew it was going to be emotional. I thought I was prepared but I wasn’t. This film made me cry. From the introduction to the mid-credits scene, it made me cry several times. The Marvel fanfare was heavy. Prepare to cry because it hits us right in the feels. Undoubtedly, it is so much more moving than other MCU films because Chadwick is gone. So we are not only grieving a character but we are griving an actor. And I couldn’t have thought of a better farewell to both than what Coogler did with this film.

EXPANDING THE STORY

BLACK PANTHER: WAKANDA FOREVER
Letitia Wright as Shuri in Marvel Studios’ Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. © 2022 MARVEL.

This film continues the story of the different characters we met in Black Panther. I love how this film is at the same time so epic while very personal.  It is an intricate exploration of grief and acceptance as each character goes through this dramatic event in a different way. But in the middle of grief, new troubles arise with Namor and his people of Talokan. This becomes Wakanda’s greatest challenge yet.

This sequel has a hefty runtime of 161 minutes. I gladly welcome longer films. This one has a lot of things to cover. Indeed, there is a whole introduction of Talokan and Namor’s backstory while also dealing with everything that happens in Wakanda. It is a slow-burn but the good kind. I can tell you it never feels too long. You are transported into the story and don’t want it to end.

Beyond grief, motherhood is an important theme of this film. With Ramonda and Shuri but also with Namor’s storyline. There is so many layers to this film. It amazes me the sequel that Ryan Coogler has crafted. I can’t stop but think what if his next Marvel gig is a big ensemble film like Avengers: Secret Wars? I would very much like to see this.

There is only one mid-credits scene. Though, this scene alone is worth two scenes. It brings closure in the best of ways. So, you do not want to miss this one!

NEW THREATS

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

Talokan is the main new threat in Wakanda Forever. Introducing Namor and his people in this sequel was such a great idea. Because who can you put against a nation as strong as Wakanda, Namor seems like a logical answer. He is a powerful and fearful antagonist. You get slow-burn but you also get a lot of action. When Namor fights it is brutal! Coogler has opted with slow motion. But, he knows exactly how to use it. Which means, you only have it from time to time so it’s not overdone. This works perfectly.

Moreover, the storyline with Everett Ross is also quite exciting. Indeed, Julia Louis-Dreyfus returns for a surprising appearance of Valentina Allegra De Fontaine. She is truly becoming this darker version of Nick Fury appearing in several MCU projects. Which is exactly who the character is in the comics. This sets up a dangerous threat for future films. I am intrigued to see how and when it all unfolds.

THE BLACK PANTHER

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
A scene from Marvel Studios’ Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. © 2022 MARVEL.

T’Challa’s death doesn’t mean Black Panther dies. It is a title that can be passed on. In the comics, Shuri is a Black Panther at one point. This is exactly what this film does. Honestly, having Shuri as Black Panther in the MCU just feels like the right choice. She has her own struggles and motivations bringing something fresh to this superhero mantle. The Black Panther lives! Her costume also reflects what Shuri brings to Black Panther. It is not just a “female” version of the costume but a costume with its own style. Shuri brings her own style to this costume. The use of gold is striking and brings a certain presence.

CAST

Angela Bassett as Ramonda in Marvel Studios’ Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. © 2022 MARVEL.

Wakanda Forever gathers once again the stellar cast from Black Panther. They are all amazing. It is a great pleasure to see them again. I wouldn’t be surprised if Angela Bassett earns an Oscar nomination for supporting actress. She delivers a masterful performance that really hits you hard. Letitia Wright also deserves an Oscar nomination for her performance as Shuri. She brings so much more to the character than in the first film. Indeed, she is able to explore Shuri in a different and deeper way. She is the new Black Panther.

Moreover, Dominique Thorne makes her debut as Riri Williams. And she is fantastic in this role. She overflows with energy. Her Ironheart series can’t come soon enough. Obviously, I have to mention Tenoch Huerta as Namor. This is perfect casting. He has this imposing and mesmerizing presence on screen. It is exactly what you need for this character.

VISUALS

Nakia in Wakanda Forever
Lupita Nyong’O as Nakia in Marvel Studios’ Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. © 2022 MARVEL.

The problems I had with the cinematography of the first film are gone with this one. Autumn Durald Arkapaw is the new cinematographer. She also worked on Loki. And once again, she does an incredible work. The CG backgrounds and the lights perfectly blend with the actors. The results are truly beautiful. It features the best shots of Wakanda. The sunset shots are mesmerizing!

Moreover, this film introduces Talokan. Thus, Ryan Coogler and his team had the chance to design a whole new world. Obviously, because of the name the inspiration is Aztec. Talokan has its own visual unique style in the MCU. It is a world I look forward to visit again.

COSTUMES

(L-R): Alex Livinalli as Attuma and Mabel Cadena as Namora in Marvel Studios’ Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. © 2022 MARVEL.

New film and new characters mean new costumes. I already talked about Black Panther’s costume but there are also more costumes I want to mention. Firstly, the Midnight Angels make their MCU debut. If you have read the comics, this is an elite group of Dora Milaje. The costume is comic accurate with the usual MCU touch. When seeing them in action, I couldn’t stop thinking that I would definitely buy an Hot Toys figure of the Midnight Angels!

With Phase 4, the MCU has put an even bigger accent on getting suits that are as comic accurate as possible while also adapting them when needed. I thought that the early costume of Namor in the comics was a bit cringy. And yet, they used this one for the film and it does look perfect in live-action. The key was all about Tenoch Huerta’s muscles. He is strong but not over muscular like Thor.

Furthermore, I have to mention Ironheart’s armors. The first one is like an Iron Man’s MK-I armor. It is homemade with the materials she had with her. While the second is a proper armor. They made sure it wouldn’t look too much like Iron Man. You can clearly see the difference between the two. Ironheart has her own style. This armor also has inspirations from Wakanda. And I think this is an absolutely wonderful design!

SOUNDTRACK 

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

Ludwig Göransson returns to compose the score of Wakanda Forever. He brings back his themes from the first film while also creating more amazing tracks. Between his work on The Mandalorian and Black Panther, I think Göransson will become one of the greatest composers of his generation.

Finally, there is a new selection of songs. They fit with the style of the film and the scenes in which they are used. These are songs that use African and Latin American influences. This time, Rihanna sings the two credits songs. And going into the credits with ‘Lift Me Up’ was another moment that brought me to tears. It is a song that is just perfect for this ending.

VERDICT

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is a worthy sequel. It is a powerful and deeply moving tale of grief and acceptance. Prepare yourself because it will make you cry but it will also make you laugh and cheer. Great action, striking visuals and a stellar cast, it delivers in every way. Angela Bassett and Letitia Wright definitely deserve to be mentioned in the Oscar talks because they deliver memorable performances! This film a wonderful tribute to both Chadwick Boseman and T’Challa.

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. © 2022 MARVEL.

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is now in cinemas.

Author

Feel the Force on Social Media.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: