Director: Ryan Coogler
Writers: Ryan Coogler and Joe Robert Cole
Starring: Letitia Wright, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, Winston Duke, Florence Kasumba, Dominique Thorne, Michaela Coel, Tenoch Huerta, Martin Freeman, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, and Angela Bassett
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is the final film in Phase Four of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Like the first Black Panther, it is directed by Ryan Coogler, who also co-wrote the script with Joe Robert Cole. For the most part this is a standard Marvel film. There’s lot of great CGI, big battles, and a formulaic plotline as expected. Namor being introduced to the MCU is pretty great, since he’s one of the earliest Marvel characters, first appearing in 1939, before even Captain America was first published. After the events of the previous films, the rest of the world wants to get their hands on vibranium, with some even trying to steal it. When America uses a device to discover there’s vibranium outside of Wakanda, which is inside the underwater kingdom of Talokan. Namor is the leader of the kingdom who wants to wage war on the world above the sea, keeping his kingdom safe in the progress. He offers Wakanda an ultimatum, join him or be destroyed alongside the rest of the world.
The film is sadly, way, way too long. No superhero film needs to be two hours and forty minutes, and this one really drags at points. It’s a marathon to get through. Thankfully, it all looks great, with great costumes, CGI, and some incredible action, especially in the final act. The performances are all really good as well from the entire cast. It’s a Marvel film, and doesn’t really stray too far away from the previous films.
What really sets this apart from other Marvel films is the emotional weight of the loss of Chadwick Boseman in real life, which is echoed in the film with the death of T’Challa. It has some genuinely emotional moments and honours Boseman, with the funeral of T’Challa early in the film and the Marvel Studios logo only showing scenes of him. It’s a nice and fitting tribute to a great actor. His loss is felt throughout the film as well, really adding an emotional weight to it all.
As Phase Four comes to a close, at least in the films since there’s still The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special to come in a few weeks, there’s so much Marvel that it’s hard to keep up with it, especially with the almost endless supply of Disney Plus shows. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is entertaining, with some real emotional weight, but it’s not as special as the first one by a long shot.
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