Black Panther: Wakanda Forever Review: An Emotional Tribute to Chadwick Boseman, Weakened by Future MCU Influences.

I really enjoyed the first Black Panther.
It provided a compelling story, with a great dynamic between its protagonist and antagonist, and made the country of Wakanda a character in its own right.
If Black Panther is not in my top ten MCU films then it certainly comes close.
So, obviously I was looking forward to the sequel from the moment I walked out of the theatre after seeing the first movie.
Most of all, I was looking forward to seeing how the story of Chadwick Boseman’s T’Challa would continue.
Unfortunately, as we all know, in August 2020, Chadwick Boseman passed away from colon cancer.
His tragic passing left director Ryan Coogler, and everyone else involved in the making of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, with the monumental task of paying tribute to Boseman’s legacy, while also crafting an interesting story without him.
For the most part, I believe they succeeded.
Indeed, Wakanda Forever does begin by honouring Chadwick Boseman by also honouring his character T’Challa.
The King of Wakanda passes away in the opening minutes of the film, and the weight of his legacy is felt immediately, with the following MCU logo being completely silent and only accompanied by footage of Boseman’s T’Challa.
It was a moving sendoff to both the character and the actor.

Boseman’s prescence is felt throughout the film, despite him not appearing, due to his tragic death.

From here, the film follows how Wakanda moves on from the death of their king, along with the consequences of the world now knowing about them and wanting their vibranium.
This leads Wakanda into the conflict with the hidden undersea civilization known as Talokan, lead by the the film’s antagonist Namor (Tenoch Huerta).
Namor is a compelling villain and he and the Talokan’s first scene is one of the scariest villain introductions in all of the MCU. 

Namor’s first scene is quite creepy.

This leads you to be fearful for the fate of the characters we came to care about in the first film, like Shuri (Letita Wright), Ramonda (Angela Basset), Okoye (Danai Gurira), M’Baku (Winston Duke) and Nakia (Luptia Nyong’o).
Shuri especially is struggling with the death of her brother and the new responsibilities that are heaped upon her shoulders as Wakanda draws closer to conflict with Namor and Talokan.
It is Ramonda and Okoye who stood out the most to me, though, because of the incredible performances from Angela Basset and Danai Gurira.
One emotional scene they share togethor is the best in the movie, in my opinion, based off their acting ability alone. 

Basset and Gurira did an excellent job portraying their characters’ emotions in this scene.

However, although all of this made Wakanda Forever a worthy sequel to Black Panther, there were a number of things holding it back, most of all the film’s reliance on setting up future Disney Plus shows and MCU films.
This is evident with the character of Riri Williams (Dominique Thorne), who is basically dropped into the story to set up her upcoming show, Ironheart; plot holes surrounding her need to be in this movie be damned.
Worst of all, though, is the suplot with Everett Ross (Martin Freeman) and Valentina Allegra de Fontaine (Julia Louis-Dreyfus), which felt like a gigantic waste of time, with its only point probably being to set Fontaine up for a future Thunderbolts movie.
As for Everett Ross, his decisions in this movie felt oddly strange with how he characterized in prior films, politically speaking. 

I am not sure that Ross’ depiction is completley accurate with how he is portrayed in Civil War and the first Black Panther.

The political decisions in Wakanda Forever are actually pretty hit or miss for me.
Sometimes I thought the characters were making good decisions, while other times I thought they were making bizarre ones.
Along with this, the CGI of the film is a bit questionable at times.
At least it never got as bad as it was in the third act of Black Panther, which is one of my few flaws with that first film.
It is the overreliance on setting up future stories that hinders Wakanda Forever the most, however; as it not only brings the story to a grinding halt at times but also takes away potential screentime from characters like M’Baku, who really needed it.

Wakanda Forever needed more M’Baku.

Overall, though, I would still say that Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is a good movie, despite its issues.
The character arcs of the Wakandan characters are solid, the acting is amazing, Namor is a great villain who I am interested to see more of and, most of all, the film does an excellent job paying tribute to the memory of Chadwick Boseman.
May he rest in peace.  

Black Panther makes its fictional country a character in its own right.

4 and a half stars
After Civil War it was expected that Black Panther would eventually get his own movie and now it is finally here.
Black Panther is a superhero I did not know that much about beforehand so I came into the movie not sure what to expect.
Needless to say, this movie blew me away.
It had a great story, set of characters and setting.
Directed by Ryan Coogler, Black Panther is set in the fictional country of Wakanda and this country felt like a character itself.
Seeing African customs alongside this futuristic city is something we have never seen before and made it really exciting and interesting to explore.

The country of Wakanda

The movie picks up after Civil War with T’Challa, played by Chadwick Boseman, mourning the death of his father and about to take up the mantle of both king of Wakanda and the Black Panther.
However, T’Challa faces problems from arms dealer Ulysses Klaue, played by Andy Serkis, and the mysterious Erik Killmonger, played by Michael B. Jordan.
This story is made all the better by the great cast, who portray really fantastic characters.
Boseman is very likeable as T’Challa and he is a great contrast to Killmonger, the film’s main villain.
Then there is Serkis’ Klaue who you can see Serkis had fun with because of how crazy he seems.
The best minor character in the film is definitely T’Challa’s sister Shuri, played by Letitia Wright, because of how energetic and likeable she is.
Finally, Killmonger almost steals the movie.
Jordan gives a great performance as Killmonger who is one of the best villains the Marvel Cinematic Universe has ever had.
It really does seem like the MCU is improving its track record with villains, as you can tell with Vulture from Spiderman: Homecoming and now Killmonger.
Killmonger is a great villain because, even though he is clearly evil, you understand why he is doing these bad things and you sympathize with him because of these reasons.

Killmonger and T'Challa
T’Challa (right) and Killmonger (left) face off.

As I mentioned earlier, there is a great contrast between Killmonger and T’Challa that really helps to emphasize the movie’s themes, which centers around the moral ambiguity of running a country that is deliberately cut off from the rest of the world.
But this movie is not perfect, there are a couple of flaws.
For one, the CGI just did not work at times.
During the final fight between T’Challa and Killmonger it was hard to get into because of how the CGI was implemented.
My final problem with the movie is Daniel Kaluuya’s character, W’Kabi.
Kaluuya gives a great performance, like everyone else, but his character is very inconsistent.
Halfway through the movie W’Kabi does a complete turn around out of nowhere.
If you compare his character from the first half to the second half of the movie he is completely different, even though he has experienced no character growth.
Overall though, Black Panther was a great film, despite its minor problems.
It has an investing story and great characters, one of which, you could even say, was Wakanda.