The Difficulty In Moving On: Our Review of ‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’

Posted in Movies, Theatrical by - November 11, 2022
The Difficulty In Moving On: Our Review of ‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’

Moving on, is never easy…

In theatres today; Black Panther: Wakanda Forever manages to take a different tact then what we’ve seen in the MCU and give a measured and emotionally appropriate response to the death of Chadwick Boseman but also shows kinks in the well-worn cinematic universe formula.

Queen Ramonda (Angela Bassett), Shuri (Letitia Wright), M’Baku (Winston Duke), Okoye (Danai Gurira) and the Dora Milaje (including Florence Kasumba), 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 the help of War Dog Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o) and Everett Ross (Martin Freeman) and forge a new path for the kingdom of Wakanda.

While there’s no easy way to wade into something like moving on after the death of a pivotal character in a story; Black Panther: Wakanda Forever does a solid job in reorganizing the hierarchy of the Marvel Cinematic Universe putting us on the brink of some real change which is ultimately long overdue.

Co-Writer/Director Ryan Coogler and his entire team put together a solid all be it overly extended affair that places Wakanda in a place of both power and peril as the new world order fleshes out.

It’s a story of uncertainty as many of our key players are looking for purpose without the guidance and leadership of T’Challa and Coogler does a solid job of establishing that early on as Wakanda finds itself in a place where the world has it eyes on them more than ever before thanks to the now public knowledge of the existence of Vibranium.

The uncertainty of it all is actually Coogler’s strength as a storyteller because these characters are looking for something and he manages to pull some fantastic performances from the entire ensemble.

Angela Bassett is an absolute anchor here as she’s trying to guide her people through a very difficult time, Letitia Wright is not the leader she will inevitably become she’s stricken with grief for not being able to help save her brother from the mysterious illness that took his life. Lupita Nyong’o also really shines here as it’s going to take more than one voice to fill the void that has been left in the hearts of the people of Wakanda.  While the likes of Danai Gurira, Winston Duke and newcomer to the franchise Florence Kasumba get some moments to shine this film is about these strong women filling a void in the wake of T’Challa’s death.  The real challenge of it all comes with the introduction of our newest force on the planet and a character with power and lore that is equivalent to some of the most powerful creatures that coalesce in the MCU.

Tenoch Huerta has the charisma, swagger and stage presence that jumps off the screen and made him a perfect choice to inhabit Namor as the lead voice of this world that we didn’t even know about and a force that could shift the dynamics of everything happening on earth in a world post Avengers and post Thanos.

The only really drag of all this is that this Phase of the MCU is very reminiscent of the 1st Phase of the MCU as it establishes where we are being taken, but this phase just hasn’t given birth to any strong personalities to get us invested yet.  Try as they might, Letitia Wright and Danai Gurira aren’t quite up to carrying the load that the likes of a Robert Downey Jr, Scarlett Johannsson or Samuel L Jackson have done in the past.

At the end of the day, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is a decent enough installment on the journey that is the Marvel Cinematic Universe but with all these new characters and off shoots into television this franchise needs what it lost with the death of Chadwick Boseman.  The MCU needs to inject some movie stars back into the mix to make it feel as epic as it always can be.

This post was written by
David Voigt is a Toronto based writer with a problem and a passion for the moving image and all things cinema. Having moved from production to the critical side of the aisle for well over 10 years now at outlets like Examiner.com, Criticize This, Dork Shelf (Now That Shelf), to.Night Newspaper he’s been all across his city, the country and the continent in search of all the news and reviews that are fit to print from the world of cinema.
Comments are closed.