This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Maddi’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
He was the King and Black Panther to everyone. But to me… he was everything.
No matter the circumstances, the sequel to Black Panther was always going to have high expectations to meet. There’s no denying it’s a worthy tribute to Chadwick Boseman — the incorporation of his loss is beautiful, and pays an excellent tribute to his talent as an actor, and within the role — but Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is ultimately underwhelming.
Nothing seemed to click together. The run-time was unnecessarily long; it could have done to lose Freeman sadly, as his character really doesn’t contribute to the plot, and Riri, who’s sole purpose is a blame for the events within this. Riri’s suit, although cool, felt a little too reminiscent to Iron Man for my liking — let’s introduce new characters and concepts rather than reimagining the original Avengers. The CGI wasn’t great, at times, of the Talokan, and Namor felt a little two-dimensional, but that’s down to the cliché structure Marvel decides to repeatedly follow. Redemption for the villain is becoming a tired trope.
The mantle is passed onto Shuri, whose arc I actually didn’t like. It all feels a little forced — Marvel try to recreate what they achieved with Killmonger, but it doesn’t particularly work because it’s all so contradictory. Shuri understands and empathises after her trip to Talokan City, then still chooses a pathway that feels very unfitting to her character. Whilst it’s a heartfelt movie, the dialogue felt too philosophical; Coogler nails the effortless wisdom of Black Panther, but it doesn’t flow as elegantly here.
The moments it does get right, however, are absolutely glorious. The return of Michael B Jordan was a pleasant surprise - it was nice to be able to have him return, without it feeling completely misplaced. Wright, Nyong’o, Thorne, Bassett and Gurira KILL this! It’s so great to see strong, female representations as leads, but especially alongside supportive, male characters, like M’Baku and Ross. The opening sequence of the United Nations conference is so powerful — I loved it. The theming, costumes, settings are all spectacular, alongside the action-sequences of the first act, although they falter within the rest.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is by no means bad — it’s entertaining, beautiful, and explores some rich themes that are key to making the world a better place. Perhaps upon a rewatch, I’ll be able to appreciate and love its flaws a little more… but at least I can say this: the ending sequence was the perfect tribute to Chadwick Boseman. He is greatly missed, but his spirit and memory will live on forever.