Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
Less than five minutes into this movie and I was in tears. At the end of the film our theatre clapped which was really nice since I haven’t had that experience in a Marvel film for a long time. It reminded me of the good old Avengers: Endgame days. I think this is the first film other than Spider-Man: No Way Home that has genuinely felt like the older Marvel films. From this point on I am going to give a spoiler warning, so if you have not seen the film I recommend you go watch it immediately and then come back.
What made this film so sad and so moving is that it's not just a character that is passing away, it's a real person. I love that they made this film feel like a tribute to him, and I liked how they refer back to him and his character throughout the film. It really feels like he is still a part of the journey and I definitely appreciate the way they went about it. They didn’t just brush it under the rug and move on to a new story, they used lot of the same themes as the first film and it pays respect to a great actor and friend.
Let’s talk about Shuri as the new Black Panther. I think this choice was the easiest and it made the most sense. I saw it coming so it was not a surprise but with all the anti-vax controversy with Letitia Wright, I was curious about what they would end up doing. I found it hard to separate the character from the controversy. But I also think T'Challa is such an important character to so many people that they had to replace him in someway to keep the character going. I’m glad they announced that they wouldn’t recast him, because I feel like that would have been hard to watch. I think if it was going to be anyone it was going to be Shuri, and I really do like her as the new Black Panther. I think she was the obvious choice to take on the mantle and it flows well with the story.
I like the way they were able to bring Killmonger back, I think that was a nice surprise and it became integral to the story. It adds more depth to who Shuri is and gives her more of a dark side. It gives her a choice, do you want to rule Wakanda like your brother? or like Killmonger? I like that they make you think she is going to make the wrong choice, even though they kind of recycled this from Spider-Man: No Way Home when Peter is about to kill the Green Goblin.
This film looks like they put a lot of care into it and paid attention to the small details, which is what I loved about the previous film. When these movies are made well and not just to pump out as many as they can, then we see better results. It was beautiful to watch and I loved the costume and set design in this film. For the most part, the CGI was pretty good, although at times it looked like they ran out of money or got a little lazy, specifically in the underwater scene when Namor is on the throne. I liked the overall flow of the story and I think the pacing was well done.
It's sad to see Angela Bassett leave the MCU, however, because T'Challa's death is so sad, her death isn’t as sad to me and I kind of saw it coming. I feel like she needed to die in order for Shuri to come to power. I also really loved the end credit scene, it definitely paves the way for the future of the MCU. It was the happy ending to the film that I wanted and made me feel good leaving the theatre.
I loved Rihanna’s song “Lift Me Up” that she did for the film. However, I didn’t love the new soundtrack for the film. I think the soundtrack for the first Black Panther film was one of the best soundtracks out there and included some of the best artists like Kendrick Lamar, The Weeknd, and SZA, whereas this one was just not as good by comparison. I really wish they got these artists to come back and record music for this movie, I think that's what this film is really missing the most.
Going into this movie I was so worried, I really wanted them to do this film justice. Recently, Marvel movies have just not been made at the same quality as their previous films. I have been disappointed so many times with projects like Eternals, Thor 4, Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness, so I was mentally preparing to be disappointed by this film too. Fans of Marvel want and expect high-quality films, lots of detail, and interesting stories. This was just that. So I was very happy with Marvel after this film. This is the film that Marvel needed and I hope they keep going in this direction. This movie gave me something to get excited about and I enjoyed watching a new Marvel film again.