Director: Ryan Coogler
Story By: Ryan Coogler & Joe Robert Cole
Cast: Letitia Wright, Tenoch Huerta, Danai Gurira, Dominique Thorne, Lupita Nyong’o, Angela Bassett, Martin Freeman, Winston Duke, Michaela Coel, & Divine Love Konadu-Sun.
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This was entertaining, but depending on how you see the film [sequel vs origin] can impact one’s level of enjoyment.
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Theme & Story: A
Overall “Paper” Score: A
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General Public: Interesting Enough
Black Panther Movie Fans: Don’t Rush
Marvel Fans: Don’t Rush
Experience Seekers (Fight Sequences / Action Scenes): Interesting Enough
Overall “Viewing Experience” Score: Don’t Rush
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1. After the death of King T’Challa/Black Panther, countries believe Wakanda to be vulnerable, and they attempt to obtain the great resource vibranium in aggressive ways, leading to an invention that can track the resource for the first time. But when the invention finds vibranium outside of Wakanda, invading the home of an unknown civilization with shared experiences to Wakanda, mistaken blame turns into a war of vengeance between Wakanda and the civilization. This is Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.
Grief and the impact it can have on one’s expression of power and control was a theme that resonated most with me, and it was a very well executed theme. 👍🏾
All Acts were strong for me when following through on the theme. Act One’s focus on perception from the outside thinking that grief weakens power in order to try and use power for personal gains, while also seeing a reigning leader who uses grief to express overprotection as a form of power and control.
Then we have Act Two’s focus on a new character/villain whose expression of power also ignited by grief is one of overprotection as well, and of vengeance. And then Act Three finishing off with a heightened expression of power via overprotection and vengeance, but heavy on the vengeance due to an added grief. 👍🏾
It was just so clear and consistent throughout. 👍🏾
2. Oh okay… I see Disney getting a test run of that Little Mermaid technology. 😅
3. I love how the Talokanil’s always show up! 🙌🏾🙌🏾
4. I had a friend who said, “I wish they’d use CGI for the people of Talokan because you can tell they are holding their breaths under water…” 🤦🏾♂️
5. Wakanda Forever is about 150 minutes long, but I found it to be an intentionally used 150 minutes that paced out tense moments with dialogue/story well. 👍🏾
Pacing really worked well for the theme, and it also allowed for Shuri’s and Namor’s characters to develop well. BUT…I did find Riri to be rushed just a little bit. Not too much that I didn’t get a clear and purposeful gist of her presence, but fast enough to catch that there was more to her than being a plot-prop. 🤷🏾♂️👍🏾
6. Namor was cute… 😏
7. Awwww that post credit scene! 😩
8. Yeah, you can tell the Disney touch with this one as well. 🤦🏾♂️
9. Come on for the multiple references of LGBTQ representation. 🙌🏾🙌🏾
10. The characters that stood out most for me in this film were the Dora Milaje, but not like in the first film where the character Okoye was everything for me. They held most of the action for the film, which gave the a little more screen time to enjoy. 👍🏾
I also enjoyed the performance by Angela Bassett, especially her powerful monologue scene (though it felt heightened a little too fast for tension). 👍🏾
However, I don’t think I was as excited about “Black Panther.” Maybe it was due to how the idea of “the return” came to be, and the events surrounding the need impacted the return… or maybe it was the flashiness of the suit… something just felt different. 🥴🤷🏾♂️
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Overall #WakandaForever gives Black Panther – meets Avatar – meets Iron Man 2 – meets Black Adam – meets Aqua Man.
Did I enjoy myself? Yes, for the most part. I also appreciated what this film did in terms of cultural representation on another level, and looking at the lingering impact of colonization from 2 different, yet shared perspectives.
Now… did the film give that same hype and feeling as the first? No, it didn’t for me.
Depending on how you look at this film, you could walk away with 1 of 2 feelings: 1. If you see this as a sequel, it might feel a little underwhelming, but better than what you’d expect from a sequel; or 2. If you see this as an/another origin, it might actually feel pretty good and exciting (though oddly placed due to the death of Chadwick Boseman, but good nonetheless).
Personally, I think not having a “true villain” (or really leaning more blatantly into the villain being alluded) in a superhero story is what slows this film down a bit for me. It’s like watching these 2 genuinely good middle schoolers who are never in any dramas suddenly in the middle of a circle arguing/trying/being forced to fight in the cafeteria with no personal desires to want or need to fight, but have been somehow instigated to do so by a common bully standing on the side VS seeing these 2 good people band together against the bully.