Black Panther 2 Review: Even Ryan Coogler Can’t Save Marvel’s Season 4
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever – now in cinemas – already has a massive follow-up to the universally loved 2018 prequel, which I can call the king of Marvel movies. But then in 2020, after the death of Chadwick Boseman, the franchise was forced into an impossible corner. What do you do with a sequel if your main character is not there? Returning director, Ryan Coogler, who almost stopped making movies after the tragedy, tried to convey the loss of his friend and colleague, and his emotions that go along with it. Wakanda ForeverBut although the second black panther The film is cast in the shadow of sadness, sadly it is not very sad. (Coogler is probably very frustrated. You could hear that in his voice during the film’s press tour.)
Instead, the newest chapter of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is sometimes a meditation on cycles of violence. While its commentary is far from convincing or successful, that’s what Black Panther: Wakanda Forever spends most of its time on. This is mainly due to the introduction of Namor (Tenoch Huerta Mejia), the flying king of a new underwater civilization called the Talokan. Since Atlantis has already started playing in the 2018 DC movie Aquaman, Coogler and co-writer Joe Robert Cole have changed Namor’s comic book origins to a Mayan style, with history tied to the Spanish colony. But the world of Talokan feels strangely muted—you can’t help but compare it to it AquamanA rich and healthy Atlantis.
It never evokes the same sense of dread that you got with Wakanda’s Afrofuturism in the first place. black pantherAn even bigger problem of Wakanda Forever that it does not mix. (Perhaps that’s because there are three credited editors: Michael P. Shawver, Kelley Dixon, and Jennifer Lame.) And longer than it should be at 161 minutes, Coogler fails to impress in the few action sequences there are, and and occasional incoherence. The narrative is unable to put together its promising pieces. At the same time, Wakanda Forever goes too far in parts; sad and unlike most superhero movies. It also seeks out ideas that other MCU films are willing to avoid. Unfortunately, the bad outweighs the good—I wish everything had been better thought out at each step.
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A year after King T’Challa/ Black Panther (Boseman) died of an undisclosed illness, the entire responsibility of the kingdom of Wakanda rests on the shoulders of the Queen mother, Ramonda (Angela Bassett). In public, he is trying to carry his son’s torch to make Wakanda more open to the world – although opportunistic forces believe that this is the right time to get some vibranium, what with Wakanda having lost its protector. On the side, she’s trying to get her daughter, Shuri (Letitia Wright), to move on—but T’Challa’s little sister has buried herself in her technology to avoid dealing with the pain of her loss. Shuri is the gateway through which Coogler expresses his grief for his dear friend.
With the lead star and main character absent, from a narrative perspective, Coogler had to find a way forward. So he reworked the world of Black Panther around his super-smart sidekick. In the first one black panther movie, Shuri did an elaborate handshake, enjoying the culture, and showed off her good techniques. Most of that came in Wakanda Forever – although there are remnants, such as Shuri believing that the Black Panther himself is a person from the past. He becomes a bystander whenever he leaves Wakanda. It was as if he was at home, in the shadow of his brother’s legacy, it weighed heavily on him. In some ways, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is like Shuri’s rite of passage. He not only finds out what kind of person he is, but whether he has what it takes to be a leader.
All of this comes to a head after Namor delivers an ultimatum to Ramonda and Shuri: if they don’t deliver what he wants, he will attack Wakanda. This conflict drives much of the new MCU film, as the Wakandans and their allies – including T’Challa’s former spy lover Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o), Dora Milaje special forces officer Okoye (Danai Gurira), and CIA agent Everett K. Ross (Martin Freeman), all returning for the first time black panther movie — try to stop Namor, without giving him what he wants. But given that no one has interacted with Talokanil before, this is an uncharted, underrated area of Wakanda. Namor, called K’uk’ulkan (feathered serpent god) by his people, leads a nation that more than matches the Wakandans.
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Black Panther: Wakanda Forever struggles to deliver on its cohesive cast, feeling smaller than its predecessor despite introducing a new world. While Ramonda, Shuri, and Namor are in the middle of things, everyone else gets a blur. The new MCU film features as much space as possible for Riri Williams (Dominique Thorne), the MIT child prodigy who developed a suit of armor like Iron Man. He’s about to get his own Disney+ series next year, but check in Wakanda Forever, he’s more of a MacGuffin than an actual character being developed. Nakia, who is very close to T’Challa’s heart, feels protected in some ways. Okoye and others—including Wakandan mountain tribe leader M’Baku (Winston Duke)—get even less. Ross, and the other surprise returns, seem so integral to the whole story that they feel like a producer’s call.
The problem with Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is that it’s never been as exciting as it was in early 2018. On the other hand, there is a lack of those sugary characters who were working in a different way of behavior and character. Michael B. Jordan’s villain Erik “Killmonger” Stevens and Andy Serkis’ smuggler Ulysses Klaue were magnetic and ironic in a way Namor wasn’t meant to be. Sure, he’s roaring, controlling, and has a powerful backstory – but he’s pretty much muted at the end of the day. And two, Wakanda Forever it fails in terms of satisfying action scenes. The third act needs something special, but Coogler can’t design action set pieces. Talokan’s water bombs are cool, but that’s really it. There is a lot of wasted energy here, it hurts me.
While i black panther The sequel is definitely an attempt to honor Boseman, I kept trying to imagine what T’Challa would want for Wakanda after his death. He was opposed to his father’s isolationist habits, and driven by Killmonger who said almost all the right things, opened its doors at the end of the first film. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever puts that big, bold step back. By exposing Wakanda rich in vibranium, he made the world jealous. No country is happy with a special resource, especially one as valuable as vibranium.
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So, even though T’Challa has the best of intentions, it didn’t turn out the way he thought it would. With T’Challa gone and Wakanda facing a sneak attack from Western forces trying to get their hands on the impossible metal, the country has become more defensive and isolated than ever in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. At the beginning of the new MCU movie, Ramonda presents a public protest that makes good theater, but not good foreign policy. A new stressful course black panther What the movie is asking is that the world is messy—and the paths of logic don’t cut it.
Wakanda Forever it is also dirty; it is unable to focus its themes as clearly and meaningfully as it was able to in the first place. In the end, it’s very similar to standard Marvel fare. It feels like it was made because the Black Panther legacy needed to be continued, not because those who made it were burning with ideas. Now, thirty movies into the MCU, we’re at a stage where content is the product that keeps the machine going.
After what has been the most disappointing “episode” since Avengers: Endgame, it’s up to Coogler to salvage the situation. But the director of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever already has a lot on his plate. Just as Shuri couldn’t move on, Coogler also struggled to move on Wakanda Forever, the film grapples with the hole left behind by Boseman’s death—and finds it has no answers. That sounds reasonable, albeit frustrating.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is released on Friday, November 11 in theaters worldwide. In India, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is available in English, Hindi, Tamil, and Telugu.