Friday, February 10, 2023

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (2022)

Streaming Service: Disney+
Movie Name/Year: Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (2022)
Genre: Action, Adventure, Drama
Length: 2h 41min
Rating: PG-13
Production/Distribution: Marvel Studios, Walt Disney Pictures, Walt Disney Motion Pictures, Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment, Disney+
Director: Ryan Coogler
Writer: Ryan Coogler, Joe Robert Cole, Stan Lee, Jack Kirby
Actors: Letitia Wright, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, Winston Duke, Angela Bassett, Tenoch Huerta, Martin Freeman, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Dominique Thorne, Lake Bell, Chadwick Boseman
Blurb from IMDb: The people of Wakanda fight to protect their home from intervening world powers as they mourn the death of King T'Challa.

Selina’s Point of View:
I knew Black Panther: Wakanda Forever was going to be a rough watch for me. Chadwick Boseman’s (42, Marshall, 21 Bridges) passing hit me hard.
Most, if not all, of MCU’s fans were rocked by the news that Boseman had died. As much as I appreciate what he brought to Marvel, I mourned him for other reasons.
There are a lot of amazing actors out there. Plenty of award winners and audience favorites. It’s hard to shine bright enough to be seen in the crowd of them, but Boseman did. That’s because he wasn’t just an actor.
Chadwick Boseman was a legend of our time. He championed the fight for full representation and racial equality in film. It would have been fine if he just did it through the occasional speech or donation, but he took it to a place where every job he took brought the subject further into the light.
Had he lived, he would have gone on to be the most recognizable face in entertainment. He would have raised the bar so high that it was where it should have been to begin with.
There are few in the entertainment world that I respect more than him. If any.

So, the first Black Panther film after his passing was a bit of a hurdle for me.
At the very start of the movie, I was already tearing up. It was a beautiful tribute to the character of T’Challa. Then the beginning credits played and there was a visual tribute to Boseman that kept the tears going.
By the time the story started, I was already emotionally a bit of a wreck. Still, the flick kept me entertained and glued to the screen.
It was, however, very much a post-Endgame MCU film. There was something missing.
The first chase scene felt more like a video game than anything cinematic. There was a strange sound quality to it, and the dialogue was very much like NPCs talking to a player. If you’re a gamer, you know exactly what I mean. Some of the fights near the end also had some janky moments where actors reacted like they were being hit, but with nothing actually touching them.
It’s still a solid movie, and it never feels like a chore to watch, I just expected something more.

Cat’s Point of View:
I have been eagerly anticipating Black Panther: Wakanda Forever - and yet, at the same time haven’t been in the biggest rush to watch it. It had nothing to do with the movie, itself, and more regarding grief avoidance. I knew with 100% certainty that I was going to do some crying during this Black Panther (2018) sequel. Enough has been heavy and bleak these days that I haven’t looked forward to that part - even though I adore Marvel movies and was keen to learn how they were going to treat the story going forward.
Chadwick Boseman was simply taken too soon. Part of me worried about how the cinematic universe would treat his absence in the realm of Wakanda. Really, I shouldn’t have. Everyone in the Marvel camp has been outspokenly supportive of the late Boseman and his importance to both the MCU and his impact on the world.
My eyes did a significant amount of leaking.
I feel the need to give kudos to Marvel for this stunning tribute within both the story and visuals of the Wakanda Forever production. I was moved from the very first moments when the animated Marvel studio logo recapped both the character of T'Challa, and Boseman as a person, amidst a moment of silence.

The narrative of Wakanda Forever picked up from there, and I can only imagine that filming offered an avenue for the grieving process for his friends among the cast and production team. It was respectful, tasteful, and I was very relieved that they didn’t try to add new footage with creative CGI. Anything that referenced T'Challa was either footage from the first Black Panther movie, or was clearly a static piece of art memorial.
Wakanda Forever had several hurdles to get over. I’d say that they cleared most of them. I loved the casting, the performances were outstanding, and the action was on point. I always enjoy seeing how the advanced tech of Wakanda gets brought to life on the screen. It also well-captured the political landscape Wakanda faced in the wake of their king’s death.
The only aspect of Wakanda Forever that I didn’t completely jive with was the new adversaries introduced in this film. They were interesting, and the visuals were cool. I just couldn’t help but think to myself that I’d already ‘been there and done that’ by watching Avatar: The Way of Water (2022) in December. I think that has to be where some of the negative reviews must be coming from.
Wakanda Forever, overall was a great MCU installment that serves to begin the bridge from Phase 4 to what comes next. I felt that it was decently balanced, and I really enjoyed the experience. If you’re a fan of Marvel movies and liked the first Black Panther, I’d definitely recommend giving Black Panther: Wakanda Forever a chance.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 84%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 94%
Metascore – 67%
Metacritic User Score – 5.3
IMDB Score –6.9/10
Trust the Dice: Selina’s Rating 4/5
Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating 4/5
P.S. Mid-credits scene
Movie Trailer:

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