Movie Review: Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
Review by: Bradyn Johnson
Directed by: Ryan Coogler
It was difficult to imagine a Black Panther movie without lead actor Chadwick Boseman, but Black Panther: Wakanda Forever proved to be a massive success. After Boseman’s abrupt passing, many were unsure about the future of the beloved character. Fortunately, director Ryan Coogler was able to make the transition between the two leading roles seamless.
The film’s star, Letitia Wright, did an incredible job at highlighting a different side of her character, Shuri’s, life. Although part of the movie focuses on her ability to cope with the unexpected death of her older brother, it also demonstrates the large leadership role she had to take on as an heir to the Wakandan throne.
One of the key aspects of the film is the costume design. Ruth Carter, the designer, dedicated her time to making sure each piece of clothing was culturally accurate. The vibrant colors along with the intricate patterns made the characters stand out. The antagonist Namor, played by Tenoch Huerta, wore a lot of beaded jewelry to represent the culture of his fictional city, Talokan. And as for Namor’s villain arc, it was simply unmatched. Since Namor only wanted what was best for his nation, the audience was never sure whether they should hate him or adore him for protecting his citizens.
Comic relief was a necessary factor in this film, especially because of all the loss that the audience faced. However, it was unfortunate that we were unable to see the full development of characters like M’Baku, played by Winston Duke. Although he had many heart to hearts with Shuri after she continued to lose the people she loved, it felt as if M’Baku was just there to helplessly watch a nation fall.
In the first Black Panther, Everett Ross, played by Martin Freeman, was a large factor in the takedown of villains Killmonger and Klaue; however, in this movie, he played a small part as Wakandas’ American liaison. Fortunately, he did not take too much camera time away from the important parts of the plot, but a large portion of his dialogue was not necessary.
Despite Boseman’s passing, Ryan Coogler was able to transform an uncertain storyline into an impressive film.