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black panther: wakanda forever

★★★★

starring: Letitia Wright, Angela Bassett, Dominique Thorne, and Tenoch Huerta

 

REVIEWER: lyall carter

The people of Wakanda fight to protect their home from intervening world powers as they mourn the death of King T'Challa.

Queen Ramonda, Shuri, M'Baku, Okoye and the Dora Milaje fight to protect their nation from intervening world powers in the wake of King T'Challa's death. As the Wakandans strive to embrace their next chapter, the heroes must band together with Nakia and Everett Ross to forge a new path for their beloved kingdom.

 

The makers of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever were handed a nearly impossible task: create a sequel without the star of the original feature, Chadwick Boseman, who tragically passed away. It was also necessary to push the narrative and the world of Wakanda into new creative and trailblazing realms all while honoring the legacy of Boseman as a person and his character T’Challa. While never touching the lofty heights of the original and facing some narrative and running time challenges, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is still a richly realised world with one of the best MCU villains in recent memory. 

 

Now, this is a spoiler free review which will make it a little challenging to make my critique crystal clear. But I’ll give it a crack. The film begins by paying an incredible and completely deserved tribute to Chadwick Boseman and his culture shaking, history making T’Challa. Expect cheers and tears - it’s truly moving. 

 

While we are witness again to the incredible detailed world of Wakanda and its richly developed characters Black Panther: Wakanda Forever stumbles in that it doesn’t quite know who its protagonist is. This, along with a running time of over two and a half hours, leads to a sense that the film meanders instead of having a strong, firm direction. Some of the narrative choices are pretty predictable too, instead of doing something fresh and innovative.

 

As we witnessed in Black Panther director Ryan Coogler is a master of world creation. The world of Namor, his underwater kingdom, and his people are the one of the most beautifully rendered cultures in the MCU to date. There is a rich creativity to it that gives a sense of a real, living, breathing culture which is a real challenge to execute.

 

Another of Coogler’s strengths is in creating fully formed, believable and human villains. In Namor, gloriously portrayed by Tenoch Huerta, we have one of the best villains in the MCU. You completely understand his grievances and while you might disagree on the way he goes about it, the guys got a very strong point. Tenoch Huerta plays him with a steely resolve but also with cracking charisma.

 

While never touching the lofty heights of the original and facing some narrative and running time challenges, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is still a richly realised world with one of the best MCU villains in recent memory. 

★★★★