Film Review – Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (2022)

Title – Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (2022)

Director – Ryan Coogler (Creed

Cast – Letitia Wright, Tenoch Huerta, Angela Bassett, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, Winston Duke, Martin Freeman

Plot – Dealing with the passing of the protector and king, the nation of Wakanda lead by Queen Ramonda (Bassett) and the spirited Princess Shuri (Wright) face one of the greatest challenges yet when the prescene of the water dwelling Namor (Huerta) throws their past and future into chaos. 

“Only the most broken people can be great leaders”

Review by Eddie on 10/11/2022

A cultural phenomenon that was the rare type of film that struck a chord with critics, audiences, box office booths and the awards circuits, 2018’s Black Panther was one of the most resounding success stories of the Marvel cinematic universe, with it always going to be a tough task for returning director Ryan Coogler to strike the same gold he did with his beloved first foray into the Marvel world.

The task Coogler and his creative partners faced was made all the monumental by the tragic and shattering passing of T’Challa/Black Panther himself Chadwick Boseman, the type of heartbreaking real life loss the Marvel world has never had to overcome before in this way but against all the odds Black Panther: Wakanda Forever succeeds in somehow working with the passing of Boseman to make a cohesive film, that may not be ground-breaking, but offers up a very different type of Marvel film that is centred and driven by grief both imagined and real.

Undoubtedly an entirely different film than the one that was first being developed by Coogler, Forever wastes little time dealing with T’Challa’s demise and all of the films sombre moments of respect and consideration for the life of both the character and Boseman in turn is handled with aplomb here and when moving through the films (sadly overlong) 160 minute runtime, it’s not too see and feel that this is an entirely different type of Marvel exercise that thankfully places the off-kilter comedic focussed mode it’s been operating in since the early Guardians and Thor: Ragnarok days to deliver a more mature offering that’s fairly likely to not win over the younger fans that have made Marvel their own over the last decade.

With Boseman and T’Challa no longer the central focus of the Black Panther universe, much extra weight has been added onto the likes of Letitia Wright’s Shuri, Angela Bassett’s Ramonda, Winston Duke’s M’Baku and Danai Gurira’s Okoye, with all returning players once more delivering the goods for Coogler on the acting front with Wright in particular impressing with a character that is now largely far removed from the one we initially saw in the original.

As is usually the case with a Marvel outing some of the best moments in Forever stem from the new players with Dominique Thorne’s feisty and gung-ho Riri likely to be a new fan favourite (even if her role here is slightly forced) while Tenoch Huerta’s new adversary Namor is one of the more effective “villains” Marvel has introduced in the cinematic landscape since the full reveal of Thanos many moons ago.

Mostly recognisable from some TV work and mid-tier feature films, Huerta’s take on the underwater dwelling Namor is a massive win for the film and much like Killmonger in the 2018 outing, his performance and character arc provides much weight to a film that without him may have felt like a lesser event, with motivations one can understand up to a point and enough development and growth where we can see so much potential both good and bad, Huerta and in turn Namor make us wish for more exploration of a whole new kingdom of Marvel that is hopefully explored even more than it is successfully but briefly looked at here.

Another element of Forever that must be made note of and celebrated is the work of composer Ludwig Göransson who creates one of the most unique and noticeably effective Marvel scores we’ve yet encountered and while his work in the first film and other recent outings such as Tenet and The Mandalorian TV series showcase a talented artist at work, this is the type of score that heralds in the official arrival of a composer that could be about to shake the industry up in all the right ways.

With a lot of elements to enjoy, Forever is unlikely to have the same type of impact either culturally or narratively as the first outing did and there will be some that find Coogler’s close to three hour epic overly long in the tooth with a sagging middle section the most notable instance of running through the motions, while some side characters that appear set to play bigger parts merely come and go when it pleases the story, with the film at its best when it allows the likes of Shuri and Namor the time they deserve in the spotlight, especially without an Avenger or an unnecessary cameo in sight

Final Say –

Considering the odds stacked against it, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is without question another success story for Marvel but not everything pays off in Coogler’s high-reaching outing that overstays its welcome at times and may find itself fairly/unfairly judged against an original it’s not going to match for impact or sentiment.

3 1/2 wing feet out of 5

11 responses to “Film Review – Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (2022)

  1. “…but against all the odds Black Panther: Wakanda Forever succeeds in somehow working with the passing of Boseman to make a cohesive film, that may not be ground-breaking, but offers up a very different type of Marvel film that is centred and driven by grief both imagined and real.” — I love this part of the sentence.

    “a sagging middle section” — I’m gonna borrow this phrase and start applying it to comparably uninspiring third quarters in NFL games. ^J^

    How’s Martin Freeman in this one?

    • Cheers mate!

      Freeman was good, very much like the first but he is used a little less here.

      To be honest, his appearance here feels more like Marvel needing him to play a role rather than the story itself.

  2. Not seen yet. I’m quite fed up with Marvel but there’s always an ingredient that keeps me excited. Here is the Namor character, the Prince from the Seas I’ve discovered as a FF main opponent. Confronting him on Wakanda is a good idea, and I hope the Richard family is not far behind. Is it?

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  4. I knew I had to watch this movie because at the moment I keep gravitating towards stories about grief & loss. This movie if it didn’t have marvel characters in it could very well be a letter to a lost one in many ways.

    The anger, the sense of loss that permeates through every scene, the characters who are very different from the first one.

    As a marvel movie, it might not be a great. As a story about grief and accepting loss, it hits a bit close to home.

    • Great thoughts mate. I did appreciate the mature approach to much of this material. I especially enjoyed the fact we got a break from the whole oddball comedy thing Marvel has been rolling with the last few years.

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