Movie Review: Wakanda Forever

Movie Review: Wakanda Forever

by Thomas Biamonte

As of late, Marvel films and Marvel television shows have had a trend of leaving a lot of people, including myself, disappointed. From bad CGI to bad storytelling and bad direction, it has been a bleak time for anyone who wishes to call themselves a Marvel fan. But I am happy to say that Black Panther: Wakanda Forever does not follow that trend. This film, within the first few seconds, establishes it’s emotional impact thanks to the amazing and very heartfelt performances of Letitia Wright, who plays Shuri, and Angela Bassett, who plays Queen Ramonda. What makes these performances so believable is the fact that you can see the actors channeling their real emotions into their characters as they mourn their late co-star, Chadwick Boseman, who starred in the original film. Although this film is primarily a drama about legacy, family, and protecting a way of life, there are also comedic elements that do not overshadow the drama but add to the story and flesh out existing characters. A prime example of this is the performance of Winston Duke who plays M´Baku. Some of M’Baku’s choices make for comedic moments but not in typical Marvelesque style.

As for young characters in the MCU, Marvel never usually does them justice.. The young characters in Marvel films are usually written like straight to TV 90’s Ferris Bueller knockoff types more commonly known as ¨The Tom Holland Effect¨ . Wakanda Forever, however, is an exception to this. Dominique Thorne, who plays Ironheart in the film, should be a textbook example of how to introduce a new character without being overbearing and having it naturally fit in the story. Thorne’s character is also very funny in the film. Danai Gurira, who plays Okoye – a fan favorite character of the past few films, is also wonderful. Her performance truly adds way more layers to the character than first perceived.

Now, as for the few things I thought the film could have done better…the subplot with Martin Freeman’s character felt semi-forced. His character seemed to solely exist just to build up anticipation for Julia Louis-Dreyfus´s character, Valentina Allegra de Fontaine, who has been teased as some sort of mysterious “big bad” in recent Marvel projects. Another complaint I have is that the main villain, Namor, is not threatening at times. Believe me, it is not due to the writing, score or directing – these were all terrific; especially the score. Unfortunately, actor Tenoch Huerta´s delivery and approach to the character leave much to be desired at times.

Overall, this film has a great score, great writing, great direction, great acting, and it does not rely on past Marvel references to be an excellent movie. Wakanda Forever stands on its own. If future Marvel projects follow this formula, I believe that Marvel could very well be back on the right track again.