#REVIEW: “BLACK PANTHER: WAKANDA FOREVER”
Review by Justin Waldman for Mr. Will Wong
Moviegoers have been inundated superhero fatigue and that is not to say that there haven’t been incredible entries over the last while, because there have been, but there has been the fair share of misses also. With the newest entry in the MCU, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever has the toughest task – addressing the tragic death of its titular character and star Chadwick Boseman.
The opening of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is a beautiful celebration of T’Challa that serves both as a continuation of Black Panther and a tribute to Chadwick Boseman himself. It is impactful and emotional, bringing forward the important significance that Chadwick brought to the role. The death of T’Challa plays heavily into the story of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever as well, where audiences see Shuri (Letita Wright) and Ramonda (Angela Bassett) are trying to traditionally say goodbye to their brother and son respectfully but are met unexpectedly by an intruder in the form of Namor (Tenoch Huerta). The world is on a massive hunt for vibranium, and the CIA have seemingly found some in the middle of the ocean. However, as it is a precious metal, Namor and his people attack the CIA and prevent them from mining the Vibranium that is not owned by Wakanda.
It is brought to Namor that a Scientist, played by Dominique Thorne, created a device that can track Vibranium in any form under any substance. He is determined to end her life as her machine poses a danger to his people. However, he runs into some trouble as Shuri, Ramonda and Everett Ross (Martin Freeman) want to ensure the safety of this Scientist. As tensions boil, Namor is now not only at war with both the CIA and the United States, but also Wakanda. Wakanda is certainly still trying to piece themselves back together with the loss of King T’Challa and their lack of a Black Panther now, but someone will rise to the occasion and ensure the safety of Wakanda.
In terms of performances throughout Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, the returning Ensemble are incredible. Bassett is devastating coping with the loss of her son, in addition to her husband, with Wright also mourning the loss of her brother as she was unable to save him, and hence internalizes this as her own failure. Freeman, along with Danai Gurira and Lupita Nyong’o also all deliver great performances, similar to what audiences saw in the first instalment.
It is both newcomers Tenoch Huerta and Dominique Thorne whom absolutely steal the show with their performances. Both of them deliver such grounded and impactful performances that enabled audiences to get lost in their characters. Huerta’s Namor is in the same vein of villain as Michael B Jordan’s Killmonger, driven by self-preservation and only wants what is best by their definition. A villain that is so clearly broken but not motivated by sheer evil, but rather self interest, that Tenoch delivers to a tee. His performance will be talked about for years to come, and his villainous portrayal will place him in some very elite company of great Marvel villains. Thorne on the other hand, is making her assumed first appearance in the MCU and will certainly have more appearances in the near future, and considering the character she is playing, she does it complete justice. She is nothing shy of exceptional and will pave the way for similar characters and performances for years to come.
I was given the opportunity to see Black Panther: Wakanda Forever in 2D IMAX and was absolutely blown away. So many movies boast the fact that they’re showing in IMAX, but don’t have much of the Film in actual IMAX or any footage in IMAX. That is not the case with Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. The aspect ratio changes are noticeable and when the Movie takes advantage of that IMAX aspect ratio, it truly is a spectacle to witness. So if you don’t have your tickets to Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, yet I urge you to seek out your nearest IMAX and see it the way it is meant to be experienced.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever breaks the mould. It is refreshing to see an entry into a cognitive franchising machine feel so refreshing and interesting, that is not bogged-down by world building and sequel planning. There is a singular character that appears in the Film, that certainly teases other projects and arguably a Franchise, however it doesn’t beat you over the head with this characters existence or importance. They’re present and if you’re a fan, and have watched literally everything then it’ll mean something to you, if you haven’t, their character will not be a tidbit for you, however the knowledge is not necessary to understand and appreciate Wakanda Forever.
If you’ve been a first day, first showing, die hard fan of the MCU since 2008’s Iron Man and have yet to experience superhero fatigue, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever will continue to deliver on the excitement, thrills, love and passion that has kept audiences engaged and entertained since day one. Even if you are fatigued, Ryan Coogler has created a Marvel movie that if one were to remove the Marvel elements, it still stands alone as a captivating war flick. Coogler is single-handedly raising Marvel’s game, and if he can continue to hit home runs, please hand him the keys to the kingdom!
Walt Disney Studios Canada release BLACK PANTHER: WAKANDA FOREVER November 11, 2022.