It’s just hit streaming, so it is time to take another look at this. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is the latest MCU movie and arguably one of the worst yet in that universe. I’ve said before, Marvel has really dropped the ball with the MCU over the past few years. Nothing shows that like the entire year of 2022.
They should’ve simply found someone new to play the role of Black Panther. Instead, Disney and Marvel tried used the death of Chadwick Boseman to emotionally manipulate people into watching Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.
They clearly assumed this movie would do gangbusters, because the first one did and thought adding in a whole thing about T’Challa dying would get people into theaters. It was a pathetic ploy.
To be fair, it also gave them an excuse to gender swap Black Panther (Yes, I know this happened in the comic books too).
After the death of T’Challa, his sister Shuri (Letitia Wright) is bummed out. I say it that way, because she never shows much real emotion. Sure they put water on her eyes, but she can’t act at all and so she never really comes off actually sad.
Fast forward a year, Shuri has quit trying to recreate “heart-shaped herb,” which gives Black Panther his powers. The real herb was destroyed by Killmonger in the first movie. Wakanda is suppose to be the most powerful nation in the world, yet apparently hinges everything on the protection of the Black Panther.
Queen Ramonda (Angela Bassett) of Wakanda is under pressure from other nations to share vibranium. I never understood how a metal could make civilizations so advanced. I get that it’s the strongest metal in the world and all, but that doesn’t make people smart or able to advance technology faster. Then again, metal helped the Western world out a lot.
Nonetheless, this causes the CIA and U.S. Navy SEALs to utilize a vibranium-detecting machine to locate a potential vibranium deposit underwater. The team is killed off by Namor and his blue skinned water people. Not the James Cameron kind, Disney didn’t want to be sued… by Disney.
They, of course, race swapped Namor. You can pronounce his name any number of ways, the movie does. Here he is played by Tenoch Huerta Mejia, taking a relatively unknown character that’s white in the comic books and changing him for no reason. It makes even less sense here. After all, Namor’s people have largely never seen the light of day, so you’d think they’d be pale white.
The ones deep under water don’t look blue, but maybe because they couldn’t get good body paint. There is a throw away line were Namor says he brought the sun to his people, which is just a large glowing sphere rising above the main city. Take that as you will.
Namor can speak out loud under water. It was stupid when Aquaman introduced talking under water, but at least that movie tried to explain it away. It’s never told how Namor talks under water in Wakanda Forever, but it doesn’t really matter, because it’s a dumb premise in general.
This all happens after Shuri and Riri Williams (Dominique Thorne) are taken by Namor. Williams created the vibranium-detecting machine, hence the reason Namor is after her. Originally he wanted Shuri and Queen Ramonda to find the person that created it, tell him and then he’d kill the person. Somehow he found her without their help, begging the question why he went to them in the first place?
Williams is apparently so smart that she’s been building cars and machines from the age of three. Can Marvel not figure out that it’s alright to have characters become smart over time? Do they all have to be weird child prodigies? It’s okay to have her becoming interested in this stuff at an early age in high school, from there going to college and learning more. No, she has to be a baby genius like half the Marvel universe.
Not only are we introduced to Williams in this movie, but we get a look at Ironheart as well. The Ironheart suit looks like a discount Power Ranger. I don’t really have anything else to add to that. Her suit is ugly and looks like a cheap Iron Man suit from wish.com. I’ve seen cosplayers with better looking armor. Maybe Marvel should’ve hired them to make something. This goes to the corners that Marvel is clearly cutting.
The plot of Wakanda Forever is a mess. During all of this, we get a brief backstory for Namor, trying to humanize what he’s doing. This could’ve been told in his own movie. After all, he’s not a villain as much as he’s an anti-hero. Just think of all the colonization stuff Marvel could’ve added in then.
Instead, it’s wedged into Wakanda Forever which already has a bloated runtime. The majority of this movie could’ve been cut out, and it would have been better for it. I’m not at all sure why Marvel is dead set on long runtimes these days. I assume they saw it work great with Infinity War, so they want to pack as much into one movie as possible. It’s probably cheaper than giving Namor his own movie.
M’Baku (Winston Duke) and Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o) are both back, but neither feel used properly. They have their roles to play, but feel more like background characters. Not that they were the main focus in the first movie, but seem less important this time around.
On the other hand Okoye, the general of the Dora Milaje (Danai Gurira), has a bigger part to play this time. She’s not a great actress and probably shouldn’t have been used as a major character. To be fair, no one did a good job of acting here.
Everything about this movie is weak. The acting is terrible, the plot is a disaster and most of it feels unnecessary. You could cut out all the fluff and have maybe an hour’s worth of movie here. The action scenes are not good and the CGI is a nightmare.
I liked reading Black Panther comic books as a kid. I wouldn’t say they’re my favorite or that I followed the story lines thoroughly. I did enjoy the comics all the same. It’s sad seeing the character done this way. It’s sad seeing all these characters being used for an agenda, instead of great stories.
I’m sure I’ll keep watching MCU movies (no interest in the Disney+ shows) and being disappointed. It’s like an abusive relationship at this point. That being said, the MCU ended with End Game for me.
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