"Black Panther: Wakanda Forever"
This article contains spoilers for “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever”
Okay, before I start this review, I have to say that I was a big fan of “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” but I still have plenty of mixed opinions about it, just so you know what kind of review this is going to be.
First of all, I think they did a good job with the movie considering Chadwick Boseman, THE Black Panther, passed away. I liked the intro scene where they have the ceremony for T’Challa, but quick question: Where did they take his body? Am I the only one who is bothered by this? I can’t be.
But next question: Why did Ramonda take the throne after T’Challa dies? I think the story would have been much better if Shuri immediately took the throne after her brother died. Ramonda seemed too well put together for someone who lost her husband and son. I know, I know, she’s a strong woman, it’s been a year, etc., but I think that Shuri being the ruler would have created a better conflict given the beef between Wakanda and Atlantis.
Speaking of Atlantis, I loved the way they handled the introduction of Namor into the MCU. For the most part, I thought he was a well-written character who has a reasonable goal: He just wants to protect his city and his people. His fight scenes were really good, and I’m excited to see what direction they take his character. (Plus, he said that he’s a mutant, so… X-Men in the MCU when?)
One of my main problems with the film is how weak of a protagonist Shuri is. While it makes sense why they chose her to be the protagonist and Black Panther, there’s absolutely nothing special about her besides the fact that she’s smart — and even then, that’s nothing special in the MCU.
But Shuri did get one of my favorite scenes in the movie: when she drinks the heart-shaped herb and goes to the Ancestral Plane. While I expected her to see Ramonda (since she had just passed away), seeing Killmonger was a very, very welcome surprise. This scene was very much a “you’ve become the very thing you fought to destroy” and I ate that up so hard. This helps set up one of the final conflicts in the movie, and I think it was done super well.
For the most part, the action in the film was very good. All of Ironheart’s battle scenes were enjoyable, along with Shuri as the Black Panther. But one question I do have is how Namor’s people were so skilled in battle. The impression I got was that they were running or hiding their entire lives. When did they get so good at offensive fighting? The Wakandans got absolutely bodied in the final fight scene, which seemed unexpected to me. I wish they would have explored this a little more.
I am also begging Marvel to please pay some computer science nerd five dollars to look over their script before production. I cringe so hard when there’s a “science nerd” character who says something “smart” that’s just a bunch of nonsense. Riri is an intelligent character, but her lines make her sound like she spends 10 hours a day on Reddit.
Last and definitely least of all, the end-credit scene. Oh good god I utterly hated the post-credit scene. When Nakia had her son introduce himself as Prince T’Challa, son of King T’Challa, I was not happy. Chadwick is MY T’Challa — I don’t want the MCU to do a 10 year timeskip and have fake T’Challa become Black Panther because Disney likes money and wants to do another Black Panther movie. It just felt like such a copout, and I’m not a fan.
But you know what makes up for the weak points? The score and the costuming. This movie had a KILLER score. I don’t even know what to say beyond that; it was just so, so good. The scene when Namor shows Shuri the city of Talokan was highly elevated by the score, not to mention the gorgeous visuals.
I was a BIG fan of the costumes throughout the movie (well, for the most part). Ironheart and the Midnight Angels’ suits were really well designed, all of the white ceremonial garments really made the scenes pop, and I just loved the colors that were used. However, whoever designed some of the more casual outfits could have tried a little harder (or I might have bad taste).
Overall, I think “Wakanda Forever” is one of my favorite things to come out of MCU Phase 4 so far. It was a much-needed breath of fresh air after the mess that was “Thor: Love and Thunder.” I would highly recommend it.