Not Sure if You Should Go See ‘Wakanda Forever’? A Spoiler-Free Review of the Sequel
It was a big weekend for theaters thanks to Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther sequel. Here’s our no-spoiler look at Wakanda Forever.
The sequel to the smash hit Black Panther had some big shoes to fill. After the passing of the film’s star Chadwick Boseman to cancer, there was a lot of debate about how to handle the follow-up story of Wakanda. Well, if you haven’t seen the movie yet and you’re holding off, buy a ticket and bring some tissues. It’s well worth the wait.
The Grieving Nation of Wakanda
The movie kicks off with a Marvel intro in tribute to Chadwick Boseman as the usual red logo turns into a royal purple. T’Challa’s death is explained in the storyline, and we get a view of how Queen Ramonda, Princess Shuri, and General Okoye, still leader of the Dora Milaje.
The beginning of the movie starts off really strong. We get a look at how things are going for Wakanda since T’Challa decided the country should be more involved with the outside world. It continues the conversation started in the first film, and begins to answer the question “how does Wakanda fit into this world?” It’s compelling, but it’s a little too big a bite for the movie to fully chew on.
That storyline is abruptly interrupted by the arrival of Namor.
Namor and Talokan
The introductions of Namor, Namora, and the rest of Talokan blow expectations out of the water. The MCU’s take on the underwater king illustrates a Namor whose pride is more relatable, and the character’s design and origin story were absolutely beautiful. I was skeptical about those little ankle wings, but I really enjoyed Namors movement in the action scenes.
Tenoch Huerta’s performance is perfect – I would totally let him steal my invisible wife.
The city and its inhabitants were also really well done. The CG in this film was impressive with its details. The breathing devices Namor’s army uses to stay alive above land are well executed, and their headdresses look wet when they come out of the water. I appreciated that attention to detail.
This Movie is Gorgeous
Once again keeping up with the first film’s pedigree, the costume design in Wakanda Forever is jaw-dropping. From sprawling shots of Wakanda’s incredibly-designed urban center to the underwater epicenter of Namor’s Mesoamerican-inspired kingdom, this is one worth seeing on as big a screen as you can manage.
The sound design of the movie is also really beautiful. Once again, the use of drums, chants, and singing to underscore the big moments of the movie (and the use of silence at key moments) also made the theatrical experience enjoyable.
The Pacing Struggled a Little
The film made some attempts to connect Wakanda and Talokan to the outside world. And of course, everybody wants that sweet, sweet vibranium.
But the “outside world” plots only serve to slow down the story. They cut into time for other character development and made the movie just a hair too long. I would rather have seen the movie flesh out more of Shuri’s storyline than try to lay the foundation for upcoming events or stories.
That’s what post-credits scenes are for.