MOVIE REVIEW: ‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’ — Not A Very Worthy Successor To The King
Disney needs to learn something very important. When an actor or an actress dies, that does not mean the character they are playing in a movie should die too. It was very sad for everyone to hear the news that Chadwick Boseman passed away at such a young age, but I am sure that he would have wanted to see the character of T’Challa and The Black Panther live on in the MCU. To make matters worse, during the opening night of the movie’s release in some areas, you could only see Wakanda Forever as part of a double feature with Black Panther.
Now some may see that as a homage to Chadwick Boseman. but others may see it as Disney trying to extract even more money from the audience since you have to pay double the normal ticket price in order to see both movies. Either way, Disney comes across as out of touch with how the audience feels.
T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) has suddenly died, leaving Wakanda to mourn the loss of their king. T’Challa’s mother, Ramonda (Angela Bassett), takes over as the Queen of Wakanda and must deal with other nations insisting that her kingdom share their most precious resource, vibranium. A new source of vibranium is found underwater, but is protected by Namor (Tenoch Huerta), the leader of the underwater kingdom of Talokan. A brilliant student, Riri Williams (Dominique Thorne), finds herself in the middle of a conflict between the Wakandans and the Talokans that may lead to a war between the two nations. Shuri looks to resolve any conflict peacefully, but has a difficult time dealing with the headstrong Namor.
Keeping in line with the other MCU movies in Phase Four, this movie under-delivers. I loved the first Black Panther movie. It had a great hero, a great villain, a great cast, and an amazing story. Wakanda Forever has none of that. It is long, it’s boring, and it’s just not very good. It was a real struggle trying to keep my eyes open throughout this film, and that is never a good sign. I honestly think there are maybe three or four good scenes in this film, and that’s about it.
With no T’Challa, Shuri has to lead this movie. Letitia Wright is good, but she is no Chadwick Boseman, and she is no Black Panther. This movie is 2 hours and 41 minutes, and I’m pretty sure you don’t see her in her Black Panther costume until after 2 hours. Hopefully, you will be awake by then. Maybe I’m wrong, but I can’t see this being a box office bonanza like the first one was. Fans will see it the first week, but I can’t see people going back for repeat viewings. I did want to point out that most of the actors are very good, it’s just the story is not.
After Endgame, Marvel has had a villain problem. A really good movie needs a really good villain, and you just don’t have one in this movie. Namor is the main antagonist, but like all villains in the MCU lately, we have to sympathize with him instead of fear him. As a comic book fan, I was really looking forward to eventually seeing Namor in the MCU. First of all, he looks nothing like the comic book character. It may work for some people, but core fans will be disappointed. Plus, this guy is not a good actor at all. Namor also wears jewelry in his nose and ears, which was never the case in the comics. [Editor’s note: Marvel has chosen to give Namor a different story and city for the MCU which draws from Mesoamerican, Mayan, and Aztec culture, to which the jewelry is an homage.]
As per usual, there is an after-credits scene, but there is just one, and it is a mid-credit scene. And it is the best scene in the movie, so I would stick around to see it.
It seems like Disney is making these movies in order to push out the eventual Disney+ series. And we might see two or three series spawn from this movie. Like I said before, Disney and Marvel are out of touch with what the audience wants. They don’t want to give us what we want, they are giving us what they want, or they feel we should want. Disney and Marvel seem to be playing on the audience’s heartstrings by using the death of an actor to sell a movie and asking the audience to ignore the fact that there really don’t have a good story to tell. The best thing to come out of this movie is that it finally brings to a close Phase Four of the MCU. Here’s hoping that Phase Five will be much, much better.