Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (2022)

black panther wakanda forever poster 2022 movie
7.5 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Acting: 8/10
Visuals: 8/10

Angela Bassett, Namor

Movie struggles with tone and expectations

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Black Panther:  Wakanda Forever

Studio:  Marvel Studios/Walt Disney Pictures

Genre(s):  Comic Book/Action/Adventure/Sci-Fi/Fantasy

Release Date(s):  November 9, 2022 (Germany)/November 11, 2022 (US)

MPAA Rating:  PG-13

black panther wakanda forever angela bassett funeral

A nation in mourning

The Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) is dead…but Wakanda endures.  A year has passed and the people of Wakanda find the outside world closing in with demands for their Vibranium.  When Shuri (Letitia Wright) and Queen Ramonda (Angela Bassett) are contacted by Namor (Tenoch Huerta Mejía), they learn that they aren’t the only people on Earth with access to the precious metal…and Namor and his people demand restitution for Wakanda revealing its power to the world.  With a young inventor named Riri Williams (Dominique Thorne) caught in the crossfire, Wakanda might fall…and the world could burn!

Directed by Ryan Coogler (who also penned the screenplay with Joe Robert Cole), Black Panther:  Wakanda Forever is Marvel Comics comic book action adventure.  Following the MCU’s Thor:  Love and Thunder and Werewolf by Night special, the film is a sequel to Black Panther in 2018.  The film was released to mostly positive reviews.  It received an Academy Award for Best Costume Design with nominations for Best Supporting Actress (Bassett), Best Original Song (“Lift Me Up”), Best Makeup and Hairstyling, and Best Visual Effects.

black panther wakanda forever ironheart dominique thorne

The new Iron Man?

I really enjoyed Black Panther, and he never was my favorite character.  I like that it felt different than most of the other Marvel movies, and it was really world building.  Black Panther:  Wakanda Forever has the right path, but it misses some of the marks.

The course of the movie changed completely with the death of Chadwick Boseman.  With the Black Panther dying of mysterious circumstances, you have a world fighting and trying to break down the very resource filled Wakanda.  Now, it is story of mourning for Shuri and Ramonda, and the problems compound when Namor reveals he intends to bring down Wakanda and then the world.

black panther wakanda forever shuri vs namor letitia wright

I refuse to wear a mask!!!

The loss of Boseman is a hard turn for the film, but much of the cast steps up.  Letitia Wright becomes the star which is a bit unfortunate because her off-screen issues (antivax during the COVID-19 pandemic) tainted the movie…she is fine, but I wish that the movie had gone a different direction.  The movie is about Wakanda itself so there are other players including the always good Angela Bassett as the widowed and now sonless queen thrust into leadership, and Danai Gurira who is stripped of power due to her failure.  I like Lupita Nyong’o and wish she had been a bigger player in the story sooner on…but her absence makes sense.  The movie introduces Dominique Thorne as Ironheart (who spins off into her own series) and she too is a nice addition.

It could be argued that Namor is the real star of the film.  As one of Marvel’s premiere mutants, the arrival of Namor has been a largely teased for years.  Tenoch Huerta Mejía both a great Namor, and a Namor that doesn’t quite fit the traditional character.  Ignore the origin change (having him be from the actual Atlantis would have been bad), Namor was always flighty and it is a tough character to nail down.  You have to make him badass without being unlikable…they do a decent job of this, but it also sometimes feels out of tone with the character.

black panther wakanda forever namor tenoch huerta

Namor, your hand thing isn’t as cool as Wakanda’s thing

The visuals of the film are good.  Like Aquaman, the struggle is having character underwater and speaking to each other.  The movie manages to get around it and through Namor’s people continues to have a look of tradition and modern mixing for an interesting contrasting look.  It changes up the location a lot (and eliminates stuff like the armed rhinos) so the movie still feels fresh (especially with the contrast of Namor’s kingdom and the kingdom of Wakanda).

Black Panther:  Wakanda Forever was going to have a hard time living up to the expectations and anticipations.  It tries to balance between a tribute to Boseman and its own movie that continues “Black Panther” in the MCU.  It feels like the movie battles this for balance…but there is hope at the end of movie for a future.  The Black Panther will endure!  Black Panther:  Wakanda Forever is followed by Ant-Man and the Wasp:  Quantumania in 2023.

Related Links:

Black Panther (2018)

Black Panther by Reginald Hudlin:  The Complete Collection—Volume 1

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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