Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever ★★★½

Marvel pulled it off with its conclusion to Phase 4 as Black Panther: Wakanda Forever succeeds as a tribute to the late Chadwick Boseman while passing the mantle as a sign of respect and honor for his legacy.

Where the film shines is with its performance of the ensemble cast, where star power in its headliner was not necessary; Letitia Wright takes the main stage, and she delivers, with Shuri taking a more prominent role. There is talk of Angela Bassett garnering a nomination for Best Supporting Actress, and it's deserving, capturing that pure sense of genuine emotion in her character dealing with loss.

And somehow, someway, the score here, composed by Ludwig Göransson, surpasses the first; there are instances where it heavily contributed to the thrills and uplifting moments of its crowd-pleasing scenes, notably the re-introduction of the Black Panther suit.

It improves upon some of the issues I had with its predecessor film, notably between its VFX work, though some of the green-screen backdrops are still noticeably wonky. But the tone feels more appropriate where it detracts from the goofiness of its one-liner humor; I have always argued these films are better in quality when the subject matter is more aimed at mature audiences.

With a runtime of over two-and-a-half hours, there are instances where you can feel it, and it never feels wholly justified or warranted. That's not to say there were dull sequences, though, and it commits to developing the backstory of Namor and his underwater tribe. Many people will make comparisons to James Cameron's Avatar (2009) between the water setting and the blue-skin look when they are breathing oxygen.

I understand this is a cinematic universe, but there are subplots here with the sole purpose of setting up future properties, and it comes across as forced; save that stuff for the mid and post-credits scene. Everything with Everett K. Ross felt unnecessary, as it added little to nothing to the narrative with no substantial payoff, likely another case of studio interference.

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