Black Panther: Wakanda Forever: Movie Review

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever Movie Review: A Brave Step Forward

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With the untimely death of Chadwick Boseman, a lot of questions were thrown on how "Black Panther" can move forward without its lead. And "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever" bravely asks and trumps those questionable doubts with a huge bang. What we get is a uniquely powerful film able to move on and look back at its storied history both at the same time. This was a hallmark film for the Marvel Cinematic Universe - breathing in new life to a franchise that has recently slowly lost its outstanding streak. This was action, drama, grief, triumph, a spectacle and more.   

After the sudden and unexpected death of King T'Challa (Chadwick Boseman, Queen Ramonda (Angela Bassett) and Princess Shuri (Letitia Wright) are forced to face grief head on. And while the Queen has steadfastly learned to move on and lead the nation of Wakanda again, Shuri has yet to accept the fate of her brother fully. But soon she and Wakanda will face a new kind of threat, an undiscovered race of people living under the sea with their own vibranium and led by a powerful being named Namor (Tenoch Huerta). How can Ramonda and Shuri protect the Wakandans and forge a new path for their people without the Black Panther in their midst?

Coming off one of the best films in the MCU and with the loss of its main actor, "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever" had a huge task on hand to justify its existence. What we get is an experience that felt complete and emotionally-fulfilling. Providing enough for fans to appreciate, grieve, and move on from the past and looking forward to what's in store ahead. Central to this was how the death of Chadwick Boseman was tackled. "Wakanda Forever" did not hide this fact and fully embraced the difficult reality that was handed to the franchise. They made the right decision here and recasting or any other multitude of ways that they could have resurrected characters wouldn't have provided the same emotional and dramatic heft it brings. Death is permanent not only for T'Challa but even for some characters and this makes "Wakanda Forever" a very grounded film that no other superhero film has achieved in our opinion.

Beyond its premise, another strong point for the film was the actors that led the film. Angela Bassett in particular stood out and surprised us more than any other performer as she was able to provide a lot of powerful acting we didn't anticipate at all. We're also happy to see Letitia Wright blooming and achieving so much as a lead performer in this sequel. At almost three hours long, "Wakanda Forever" no doubt is jampacked but we must admit that the film had a little too much bloat. The character of Riri Williams (Ironheart) was under-utilized and exemplified in the wrong scenarios which made us question if she's really that important or did Marvel need to introduce another character overplaying her importance in the process. And while we loved the conflict between Namor and Wakanda, the black and white nature of this conflict could have been handled with a lot more complexity and subtlety. Overall though, "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever" is a monumental addition to the MCU and a much needed refresher for the franchise. Another "Black Panther" film turns out to be one of the best releases for Marvel Studios and we cannot wait what they have in store for us in the future. 

Rating: 4 and a half reels

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