BLACK PANTHER: WAKANDA FOREVER Review from Ed’s Comic Book Reading Perspective

Some recall of the past Marvel Cinematic films is required to truly appreciate what BLACK PANTHER: WAKANDA FOREVER means. While I’m glad writer and director Ryan Coogler is back to ensure consistency with what this world represents, I’m sad Chadwick Boseman, the leading man who played the titular hero, passed away before production even began. I can’t see this series of films succeed without him. From the opening scroll to the end credits surprise, not every movie viewer will understand why his presence is important. There’s a legacy that must be honoured regarding why he is the Black Panther, and if the torch can be passed, that’s the only reason worth going to see this film.

This actor gave his all to the role, and he can’t be replaced. His real life bout with cancer is hinted at in the opening act, and his sister, Shuri (Letitia Wright), can’t do a thing to save him. Flash forward to an interlude to set up the macguffin regarding why Vibranium is significant and advance the timeline to a year later, I see not everyone has fully grieved. In Wakanda, each individual from here is just going through the stages of grief.

But outside this African country, other nations couldn’t care less. They want a resource this nation is vehement in protecting. Its unique properties help give this kingdom the technological advantage that it has. The tension is clear as the tale reveals that there’s also another dominion who too developed a close affinity with the metal. But they will kill anyone who enters their border in attempts to steal it. That’s the edict Namor (Tenoch Huerta Mejía), the king of the sea–kingdom of Talokan specifically–said to Shuri. But without telling the United Nations that, his aquatic realm is unknown to the surface dwellers and why it matters is a strange plot hole that needs to be addressed.

But when he learns Riri (Dominique Thorne), a teenager, is the brilliant mind behind a device to detect vibranium, he’ll send forth assassins so nobody else can learn from her. Unfortunately, someone else has stolen the device, and while she wants to recover it, Namor’s forces are chasing after her, and this third party is chasing after them. And the person who gets caught up in this mess is Shuri since she’s trying to convince Riri that it’s best not to continue her work.

The cat-and-mouse game defines much of the tale, and even without all the foreknowledge of what it means, the tale moves like a typical James Bond movie. That’s because of all the exotic locales used and where many of the best stunts take place. Plus, everyone looks too well-dressed. While that’s great for a possible Oscar nod, it’s not needed. I’m still puzzling over how can anyone swim while wearing a fancy dress armour.

Also, we’re left wondering when the new Black Panther will emerge. Anyone who saw the trailers know its coming, but as for figuring out who it is, it’s not too hard to guess. A lot of what happens in this film is too predictable, and the only good twist is saved until the credits roll and we’re treated to the usual mid-credit bombshell. (Editor’s note: There is not a post-credit scene following this scene. Feel free to leave when the following credits start to roll.)

Only those who are truly invested in this narrative need to go see this film. As for those who’ve closely followed CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR and BLACK PANTHER, they’ll find WAKANDA FOREVER isn’t as standalone as some may think. That’s because we’re seeing a grander scheme play out, and the fact ideologies are at the heart of the conflict, is more telling. 

And those fans who do the salute properly, arms crossed (right arm in front, and left behind, against the chest) before shouting, “Wakanda Forever,” will find this film is worth salivating over.

Jason Whyte | Get Reel Movies

BLACK PANTHER: WAKANDA FOREVER is now playing in theatres.