In the wake of Chadwick Boseman’s death in 2020, Disney decided to still continue the story in the Black Panther Universe with Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. I was curious, but skeptical of how they would make this movie, without the whole project coming off as a cold cash grab and remaining respectful towards Boseman’s legacy.
I think they were somewhat successful in this aspect. According to many critics they were respectful, but I am still left with a somewhat off feeling. While they didn’t step on anyone’s toes, I think it’s irresponsible to continue this series and frame it as if they were just moving forward to respect Boseman instead of simply wanting to squeeze more money out of the Black Panther series. Which is the truth.
The movie is mediocre and an obvious attempt by Disney to further play out the uninteresting and overdone superhero formula. There are tons and tons of obvious tropes and quips that are no longer comforting and just grating to watch. The juxtaposition of flaccid scenes with the deeply emotional scenes, which are well written and acted, is harsh and jarring.
This movie is over two and half hours long because it is filled with little side characters from the shows, who’s purpose seems to be to just make more spinoffs. The worst part is that all of these characters seem to be either completely good or completely bad with little to no complexity, and are strong or smart with no perceivable flaws, so scenes with them are only fun in action sequences.
The movie does appeal to the very loyal Marvel fans, but to someone who isn’t going to take up the challenge of watching every minute of every show, it is unsatisfying to watch. Many of the stories are just left dangling there and have almost no impact on the overarching story. All it does is pad watch time and slow down the pacing, which makes it very easy to go back for more popcorn throughout most of the middle portion of the movie.
The main villain is another flaw of the film. They aren’t memorable other than the stupidity of their design. Their movement is supposed to be speedy and intimidating, but it comes off as goofy. They don’t even fully explain the villains’ backstory and leave it at: I want to kill a whole bunch of people because I’m angry.
This film isn’t terrible though, but is only remarkable because of the passion in the tributes to Boseman. As a stand alone film, I don’t think it is terrible. I think it has much better CGI than the first movie and the set pieces are very well designed and add a lot to the story as in most Marvel movies. The acting is fantastic, as stated before, but still doesn’t compare to Boseman.
I think these emotional scenes are easily the best parts of the movie. Especially the opening scene of the movie which is genuinely very well made and written. It really shows how passion and care for something can take a project like this and make it meaningful. But then they fall right back into a story that simply exists to meet the bare minimum standards for getting Marvel fans to come back for the next movie.