TL;DR – This is a profoundly messy film, but at its heart, it is about grief, and what is grief, if not messy?
Post-Credit Scene – There is a mid-credit scene
Disclosure – I paid to watch this film
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever Review –
When it comes to comic book films, even the most jaded person would have to admit that the first Black Panther movie was a cultural touchstone. It would have been difficult to live up to that first film at the best of times, but we can all agree that the passing of Chadwick Boseman is as far as you can get from the best of times. How do you even proceed after that? Well, this is the question we will be exploring today.
So to set the scene, we open in a lab in chaos. The King of Wakanda, T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman), is dying, and his sister Shuri (Letitia Wright) is trying everything possible to try and save him. Still, all the technology in the world could not stop the inevitable. The whole kingdom grieves their lost king, but for Sovereign Queen Mother of Wakanda Ramonda (Angela Bassett), it is a wound that cuts deep. One year later, after a continuous meeting in the United Nations, America found what they think was the second source of Vibranium at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean. A Navy Seal team is there to secure the site from potential attacks from other nations. However, instead of an attack from above, they should have prepared for what comes from the deep.
If there is one word that I would use to describe this film, it would be messy. To be clear, I don’t mean this in a bad way, well, not always. That is because, more than anything else, this movie explores grief and what grief is, if not messy. You understand when characters make sub-optimal choices because that is what grief does to you. It is one of those things that feels universal, even when it can be frustrating at times. Because of this grief, characters through themselves into their own coping processes. Shuri throws herself into her work, creating more friction between tradition and the future. At the same time, Ramonda juggles running a country, becoming more isolated in the world while also connecting with her spiritual side. That tug into isolationism only escalates when Namor (Tenoch Huerta Mejía) appears on the scene. The world sees death in Wakanda as a weakness that could be exploited, which is why we need to discuss colonisation.
While the term coloniser is used mainly in jest when used in the literal text, the impacts of colonialism are everywhere when we get to the subtext. While Namor and Talokan are the film’s primary antagonists, it is not clear that they are the villains. While in some respects, the film pulls its punches regarding the modern world, using implications rather than straight saying it. The film’s view is clear and does not hold back when talking about the colonialism of the past, which we see in full detail when we explore the life of Namor. Wakanda and Talokan have experienced colonialism differently, and that legacy impacts how they act going forward, which is a core part of how the narrative progresses throughout the film.
All this talk about grief and colonialism could have floundered the film if the cast had not hit every beat. Angela Bassett gives a master class in power, raw grief, and the control of someone clearly about to break but is just holding it all together. I honestly don’t think you could watch this film without being moved. To say that Tenoch Huerta Mejía makes an impact in the movie is a grand understatement. He instantly creates a dynamic Namor full of layers and gives a performance I want to see more of. Winston Duke gets to play more of an elder statesman being there in his role being a pillar of support. Finally, Letitia Wright has the unenviable job of holding this film together through all of its grief; that could not have been an easy job.
However, while I said this film was messy because of its grief, it is also messy because of part of its production. I am not someone who minds a movie with a longer runtime if they use that runtime for the best. Here that is not always the case. As well as this, there are times when you can feel that this was added in more because it was needed for a future project rather than how well it worked in the current film. Riri Williams (Dominique Thorne) felt underutilised after they left MIT, and I am not sure that Valentina Allegra de Fontaine (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) needed to be in this film. Also, it did feel a lot of the final confrontation lacked weight.
In the end, do we recommend Black Panther: Wakanda Forever? Yes, we do. It does not hit the same way as the first Black Panther film, but that is okay because it is doing its own thing, and I respect that. While not all of the film works, you can’t help but get caught up in the emotion at all times. If you liked Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, we recommend Sweet Country.
By Brian MacNamara: You can follow Brian on Twitter Here, when he’s not chatting about Movies and TV, he’ll be talking about International Relations, or the Solar System.
Have you watched Black Panther: Wakanda Forever?, let us know what you thought in the comments below, feel free to share this review on any of the social medias and you can follow us Here. Check out all our past reviews and articles Here, and have a happy day.
Credits – All images were created by the cast, crew, and production companies of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
Directed by – Ryan Coogler
Story by – Ryan Coogler
Screenplay by – Ryan Coogler & Joe Robert Cole
Based on – Comics by Marvel
Music by – Ludwig Göransson
Cinematography by – Autumn Durald Arkapaw
Edited by – Michael P. Shawver, Kelley Dixon & Jennifer Lame
Production/Distribution Companies – Marvel Studios & Disney
Starring – Letitia Wright, Angela Bassett, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, Winston Duke, Florence Kasumba, Michaela Coel, Tenoch Huerta Mejía, Martin Freeman, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Michael B. Jordan, Isaach de Bankolé, Dorothy Steel, Danny Sapani, Connie Chiume, Mabel Cadena, Alex Livinalli, María Mercedes Coroy, Lake Bell, Richard Schiff, Trevor Noah & Divine Love Konadu-Sun
Rating – Australia: M; Canada: PG; Germany: 12; New Zealand: M; United Kingdom: 12A; United States: PG-13