First Impressions of the Black Panther’s Second Movie
Attending opening night of Wakanda Forever, a mix of emotions swells throughout the first act and many, many sniffles can be heard in the crowd. (I’m fine; I swear). The entirety of the film creates a beautiful tribute to Chadwick Boseman without being insensitive or disrespectful of his passing. Regarding the frontlining characters, Angela Bassett was an absolute powerhouse in her role as Ramonda, Queen of Wakanda, alongside Letitia Wright, who stepped up her role as Shuri, and Princess of Wakanda, and put forward a commemorable performance. New characters were introduced in the film as well, with Riri Williams, or Ironheart in the comics, played by Dominique Thorne, and one of the first superheroes ever created by Marvel Comics, Namor, played by Tenoch Huerta.
Each character played integral parts to the storyline, but the overall premise of the almost three-hour movie felt like it bit off more than it could chew. Like many Marvel fans, I fall into the trap of saying what I would do differently throughout the film, but some plot features definitely could have been cut to add to the profoundness of the desired storyline. Too many elements are introduced in the first half of the film that draw away from the intended climactic second act, which shockingly featured too lengthy action scenes. However, the leading plot at the onset of Wakanda Forever was more than what I expected from the movie based on the time and effort that went into making it.
Namor’s introduction to the MCU was alluring and unexpected with his character being known to his people of Talokan as the Mayan feathered serpent god, Kukulkan. It was an excellent choice for his character to be adapted to a new backstory and underrepresented acting minority. Let me tell you, it is difficult to make a character’s costume from the 1930s be even relatively comic-accurate and still look phenomenal in a modern lens. If you’ve been keeping up with my reviews, you’ll know I am such a sucker for costume design and will be asking for all of the ensemble creators to be given a raise, because whatever they’re getting paid is not enough. The once Atlanteans in the comics, and now citizens of Talokan, are visually imposing and beautiful with their headdresses and appearances.
Despite Namor always holding the title of anti-hero, the movie teeters on portraying him as a villain. I wouldn’t be opposed to this, as we all know I love a good morally gray character, but more was needed within the film to support Namor’s motivations, possibly even a whole other movie. Yet, I’m sure all of us X-Men fans can agree it’s exciting to have another mutant in the MCU. Now all we need is for Magneto and Namor to team up. Ultimately, the film offered decent introductions to characters that will be significant to the next phases in the MCU, but couldn’t meet the artistic vision of the first Black Panther film. Though, until I can fill the hole in my heart that was wrenched open by this movie, I will be searching the Atlantic Ocean in hopes of another glimpse of Namor.