Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (2022)

It does make some attempt in drawing out a poignant story about grief and loss, with Letitia Wright particularly impressive, but this sequel doesn’t quite scale the heights of the first movie’s creative spirit, or share its tautness.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Review #2,516

Dir. Ryan Coogler
2022 | USA | Action/Adventure/Fantasy | 161 min | 2.39:1 | English & Spanish
PG13 (passed clean) for sequences of strong violence, action and some language

Cast: Letitia Wright, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, Winston Duke, Angela Bassett, Tenoch Huerta, Martin Freeman
Plot: The people of Wakanda fight to protect their home from intervening world powers as they mourn the death of King T’Challa.
Awards: Won 1 Oscar – Best Costume Design; Nom. for 4 Oscars – Best Supporting Actress, Best Makeup & Hairstyling, Best Original Song, Best Visual Effects
Distributor: Disney

Accessibility Index
Subject Matter: Moderate
Narrative Style: Straightforward
Pace: Normal
Audience Type: Mainstream

Viewed: In Theatres – The Projector
Spoilers: No

I used to be excited about each new Marvel release but things kinda went downhill after Avengers: Endgame (2019), and part of me is getting sick of the whole farce. 

I decided to give Black Panther: Wakanda Forever a go only because of director Ryan Coogler, who did wonderful things with the first movie, including elevating the late Chadwick Boseman into a bonafide star and raising the profile of the now Oscar-winning composer, Ludwig Goransson. 

In this sequel, Coogler attempts to draw out a poignant story about grief and loss, and in the best possible way, Wakanda Forever works as a nice tribute to Boseman’s legacy. 

“Only the most broken people can be great leaders.”

However, it doesn’t quite scale the heights of its predecessor’s creative spirit, spending too much time trying to set up a new crisis and adventure—in this case, a mysterious underwater country of blue-skinned ‘humans’.  As such, this new movie also doesn’t share its tautness, bloating at 160-plus minutes. 

The weakest parts of the film are the scenes of generic action.  This is a continuing problem that many superhero movies share which is the fault of the studios—that action is now mostly seen as transitory rather than thoughtfully crafted with high narrative and character stakes. 

Having said that, Wakanda Forever ought to be better received than, say, the latest Doctor Strange or Thor movie. I must say that Letitia Wright, who finds herself shouldering the burden of headlining the film, is particularly impressive in reprising the role of Shuri.  She’s the one that holds the picture together, and I hope the Marvel executives see her as a critical asset in this new phase. 

Grade: B-



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