Review: Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
In the wake of her brother King T'Challa's (Chadwick Boseman) death from an illness, Shuri (Letitia Wright) feels lost. She tried to recreate the purple heart shaped herb to save him, but it didn't work. Now, one year later Queen Ramonda (Angela Bassett) tries to keep Wakanda together while Shuri struggles with her faith. With Americans wanting access to vibranium, they start seeking it out underwater. This brings in Namor (Tenoch Huerta) a god like figure who rules an underwater kingdom. He seeks out Wakanda to help him wage war on the surface world.
You have to hand it to director Ryan Coogler. He had an impossible task making this film. Black Panther was such a cultural phenomenon and to lose your lead actor and friend who inspired so many two weeks after you finish the original script is devastating. I think he handles it with grace. This film is about grief, and is a lovely send off to Chadwick. It's the most somber MCU film to date. He takes his time (the film is nearly 3 hours, but doesn't feel it) and really brings us through Shuri's journey.
Letitia Wright is up to the task, though sometimes I think it was a lot to ask of her. The standout performance for me was Angela Bassett. She is fantastic and gets more to do this time around to show what a powerful figure she is. Danai Gurira, Winston Duke, and Lupita Nyong'o all return with characters I grew to love. My girl Michaela Coel shows up too, though she doesn't have a ton of screen time.
Let's talk about the villain, because Coogler is great at writing them. Much like Killmonger, we understand Namor's points, even if he's going about them the wrong way. I loved how they handled him and his Kingdom. The reason they stay hidden makes sense (far more than The Eternals to be honest) and I really can't wait until we see more of him.
I really only have one major critique with this film, and it's that DP Rachel Morrison is severely missed. The cinematography is the only thing that's lacking. Overall, I loved this film though. It's very emotional, it makes me sad, but it also makes me excited for the future in the MCU. This is the best thing about Phase 4 by a long shot.