Black Panther: Wakanda Forever Movie Review

The highly anticipated sequel to the groundbreaking film “Black Panther,” titled “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” attempts to pay tribute to the late Chadwick Boseman while continuing the story of Wakanda. Directed by Ryan Coogler, the film sets out to navigate the challenges of honoring its predecessor while simultaneously adhering to the demands of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). 

Although sincere in its intentions, “Wakanda Forever” struggles to find its own identity amidst the weight of expectations and a convoluted narrative. The film’s ambitious script, burdened with numerous ideas and themes, ultimately feels overstuffed and lacks the coherence of its predecessor. 

While the movie strives to center righteous rage and amplify the voices of its characters, it falls short in its execution, resulting in a visually underwhelming experience.

A Struggle for Independence

One of the defining elements that set “Black Panther” apart was its ability to exist independently within the MCU. It had the freedom to explore its own narrative and characters without the burden of franchise-building aspirations. 

Unfortunately, “Wakanda Forever” finds itself caught between honoring the late Chadwick Boseman’s legacy, introducing new storylines, and meeting the expectations set by the MCU. This struggle for independence hampers the film’s ability to carve out its own unique path.

A Bloated Narrative

The screenplay of “Wakanda Forever” attempts to tackle a multitude of ideas and themes, but the sheer number of storylines overwhelms the narrative. 

Instead of focusing on the common enemy of white colonists, two kingdoms led by people of color are pitted against each other, a concept that never fully materializes thematically. 

Moreover, the film delves into the pain endured by Central and South America’s Indigenous kingdoms, but this exploration feels forced and lacks proper development. 

The script also tries to juggle setting up the Marvel TV series “Ironheart,” acknowledging The Snap, grieving Boseman’s death, and finding a new Black Panther. These competing interests and demands make it clear that “Wakanda Forever” would have benefitted from being split into two separate movies, allowing each storyline to be explored more deeply.

Missed Opportunities in Dialogue and Visual Storytelling

One of the film’s major shortcomings lies in its dialogue and reliance on exposition. Rather than showing the audience through visual storytelling, the characters often explicitly state their thoughts and feelings, stripping away the subtlety and nuance that made the first film so impactful. 

The need to explain every minute detail to the audience becomes tiresome, leaving little room for the viewers to engage with the story on a deeper level. 

The film also suffers from lackluster fight sequences, with jittery camerawork and excessive cuts that make it difficult to follow the action. 

Additionally, the cinematography, while plagued by projection issues in some screenings, fails to capture the grandeur and splendor of Wakanda, resulting in murky visuals and a lack of awe-inspiring moments.

The Weight on Shuri’s Shoulders

Letitia Wright, who portrays Shuri, possesses the talent and emotional range to carry a film, but she is let down by the script. 

The character’s journey is hindered by clunky jokes, unnecessary cameos, and an ending that feels too neat. The supporting cast, including Winston Duke as M’Baku and Lupita Nyong’o as Nakia, try their best to elevate the material but are constrained by the film’s overarching issues. 

Michaela Coel’s inclusion as Aneka, a tonally mismatched character, further adds to the film’s lack of cohesion. 

Despite the collective efforts of the talented cast, they struggle to overcome a script that relies on shouting matches and oversimplified metaphors, sacrificing complex truths for uncomplicated narratives.

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“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” is a film that aspires to honor its predecessor and carry on the legacy of Chadwick Boseman. 

However, it finds itself entangled in the demands of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and burdened by its own ambitious narrative. 

While the film’s sincere intentions and centered righteous rage are commendable, they are hindered by lackluster dialogue, underwhelming visuals, and an overstuffed storyline. The weight on Shuri’s character as she attempts to shoulder the film’s emotional weight is palpable, but she is held back by a script that fails to deliver. 

Despite its shortcomings, the movie does begin and end on a somewhat positive note, but a saccharine post-credit scene detracts from the film’s overall impact. “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” ultimately struggles to find its footing and mourn on its own terms, overshadowed by the constraints of the contrived cinematic universe in which it resides.

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