Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
Back in 2018, the first Black Panther movie hit theaters with a bang and left Marvel fans around the world in awe of the story of this incredible Wakandan superhero. However, after the shocking passing of Chadwick Boseman in 2020 following his hidden battle with cancer, heartbroken fans were unsure how the Black Panther movies would look in the future. However, this year, Black Panther returns with Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. Directed by Ryan Coogler, who is also known for directing the first Black Panther and the Creed movies, this film details the events following the passing of King T’Challa as his mother, Queen Ramonda, and his sister, Shuri, grapple with his death not only personally, but in war, as they must defend the land of Wakanda from dangerous invaders. In an action-packed sequel that maintains and respects the great legacy of Chadwick Boseman, will Wakanda stay strong?
Currently on IMDb, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever maintains a higher rating than the first Black Panther with a 7.4 as opposed to a 7.3 (IMDb). The difference may be small, but it speaks volumes to how well this movie was received. Although the statistics look favorable, many reviewers on IMDb’s website have different thoughts. User AdrenalinDragon comments, “Man I miss Chadwick Boseman. It just felt so hollow and empty without him. I was so bored and uninterested the whole time. Sad, but it is what it is and I think this is my least favourite MCU movie. I really didn't care for the characters or what was going on at all. At times I felt like I was watching a weaker Aquaman/Avatar in places,”. Obviously, the loss of Chadwick Boseman was an incredible blow to people everywhere, but on the same website, user Kjproulx states that, “With the addition of other characters that will have a future in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, this film was filled to the brim with story,”. This forced plot change has obviously affected how the movie has been received, but some users have enjoyed it.
The paragraphs beyond this point may contain spoilers.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever opens with the death of King T’Challa, his funeral, and a mourning procession in which he is lifted up to the ancestors. Although this was anticipated, the grief not only appeared on the screen but was palpable in the audience as well. Watching the characters closest to King T’Challa battle grief following his death hits especially hard with the reality that the actors are clearly grieving Chadwick Boseman.
In this movie, the comic book character Ironheart is introduced, a character my middle-aged father was delighted to see on the big screen. There seems to be a lot of appeal for viewers that are nostalgic for the comic books and the characters within those stories, however, the introductions of these characters may not have been as well executed as they could have been. For newer viewers, the storylines aren’t set up well enough and there isn’t enough screen time for people that aren’t already attached to grow familiar with these characters and feel that they are at all important to the MCU. Overall, although the CGI and effects are extremely well done, the script felt bland and lacked the spice that the first few Marvel movies held. Maybe it’s just my experience and lack of attachment to many of the new characters, or maybe it's the clear gradual decline of Marvel movies in general that has many people wondering about the future of Marvel. Although there is a clear plot, drama, and lots of exciting action with talented choreography, this movie still feels almost entirely just like a setup to make more movies, grow the Marvel franchise, and sell figurines and toys. However, that’s probably just what it’s supposed to be, but with the incredible film that the 2018 Black Panther was, I had higher hopes.
If you or someone close to you was raised on Marvel Comics with characters like Black Panther, Ironheart, and Namor, this could be an incredible experience that brings back beloved characters. However, if you’re seeing it because you liked the first Black Panther and are looking for something with a similar feel, this may not be it.
IMDb. “Black Panther (2018).” IMDb, https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1825683/. Accessed 13 November 2022.
IMDb. “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (2022).” IMDb, https://www.imdb.com/title/tt9114286/. Accessed 12 November 2022.
IMDb. “Ryan Coogler.” IMDb, https://www.imdb.com/name/nm3363032/?ref_=tt_ov_dr. Accessed 13 November 2022.