Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever ★★

From my Vulture review:

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever carries a series of burdens no one film could ever bear. Its director, Ryan Coogler, must grapple with the challenges and expectations born and influenced by the tragic death of star Chadwick Boseman. Coogler must craft an entertaining sequel to a billion-dollar blockbuster while working within the constricting Marvel Cinematic Universe. He must carefully balance the expectations of Black folks who have elevated the film to a celestial status — a pinnacle of Afrofuturism-tinged desires for a specific kind of Black power and representation onscreen. The film is called to respectfully introduce a new Black Panther and push the MCU forward with the introduction of Namor (Tenoch Huerta), an Indigenous Mesoamerican king-god figure of the undersea, isolationist kingdom Talokan — which has its own cache of vibranium and superhuman strength that makes Wakanda buckle. Perhaps most crucially, the film’s cast must act out grief while being mired in the experience themselves, which is especially true for Letitia Wright’s Shuri, who is tasked with shouldering the film’s most dramatic moments.

To say the film is overtaxed is an understatement. Regrettably, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever tries to do so many things that it comes across as threadbare and pallid — less a failure of imagination and more of circumstance, time, and narrative constraints.“

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