Aside from a reasonably touching tribute to the deceased T'Challa, it had all the emotional heft of a music video. 6/10. 7 if you consider that the team had to work without the heart and soul of the Black Panther franchise.
Angela Bassett as Queen Ramonda was the only powerful presence on screen. And if you hadn't known the director's work on the first Black Panther and Fruitvale Station, you'd have thought this was the first feature film by someone whose credits only had music videos.
The dissonance between the cool music playing in the background and the emotional scene playing out on screen was unforgivable at times. Bad editing spolied the much-improved fight choreography.
The forced humour also betrayed the lack of confidence in the audience to mourn the character of T'Challa. 2 weeks 1 day ago
There's a bit of a reversal to the DCEU/MCU dynamic in Wakanda Forever that I found interesting. Comic nerds have gotten used to Marvel thoroughly smoking DC by introducing their characters first, even if the DC version was chronologically earlier. And so Dr. Fate in Black Adam seems a copy of Dr. Strange, when it's the opposite, etc. Namor the Sub-Mariner is actually the ORIGINAL fish-man from Atlantis, but because DC pulled the trigger on Aquaman first, Marvel chose to completely redesign him. Instead of Atlantis, we get a sunken Aztec city, and the movie just about gets away with it until Namor says "Imperius Rex", which is even more nonsensical in this context. Still, putting Wakanda and the Aztecs at odds/possible allies against vibranium-seeking nations strengthens the franchise's anti-colonial theme, and effects more world-building than usual. We might also appreciate the lack of multiversal shenanigans in this one. But with Chadwick Boseman's untimely passing, it's really about finding a new champion, and I'm not particularly impressed with the final choice, nor does the movie really nail the promised internal conflict. WF has a better ending than the first Black Panther, but what was eye-popping then is rote now (Wakanda having shown up in several installments by this point). Faux-Atlantis is cool, but not as cool as DC's Atlantis, unfortunately. Every MCU movie is of course a cog in a larger machine - which is perhaps where my implied impatience with the material comes from - so we get the probably unnecessary introduction of Ironheart, but the movie still deserves bonus points for not just being about people of color, but mostly WOMEN of color. (Whatever happened to the rhino wranglers though? I missed them.) Not surprisingly, this is a more sober MCU experience than most, but the way they deal with Black Panther's off-screen death is too terse and hand-wavey for me to really be moved. Pretty conflicted about this one. 2 weeks 2 days ago
Pros: strong arc building up to the new Panther, great actors for new characters Ironheart and Namor, consistently cool world-building (especially the whales). Returning cast continues to rock it. A great surprise cameo at a crucial moment, and a midcredits sequence that carries real substance instead of being
a preview/tease. Smart idea to make Namor and his people Mesoamerican, which makes the Atlanteans feel more grounded than you'd expect.
Cons: the action often feels more obligatory than suspenseful, aside from the strong Wakanda fight sequence. Especially the ending is mostly just characters tossing each other back and forth without any stakes or suspense (and you can guess an hour ahead of time exactly how the big fight will end). Martin Freeman has nothing to do in this one but keeps getting full scenes anyway. There isn't much comic relief and the few jokes mostly miss, so the 2.5 hours felt a bit monotone at times (lots of Serious Gloom). Namor and his crew contribute to that, too. Namor's cool in action, but in conversation, he doesn't have the big scene-chewing personality of Klaw or Killmonger that lit up so many scenes of the last film.
I'd give it 7/10... Not in the top tier of Marvel movies, but I'll definitely watch it again. 2 weeks 4 days ago
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