Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

After the death of King T’Challa, Queen Ramonda, Shuri, M’Baku and the Dora Milaje fight to protect the nation from the intervention of the great powers. As the people prepare to overcome the loss of their king and embrace a new chapter, the Wakandan heroes aided by Nakia and Everett Ross make plans for a new, brighter path for Wakanda.
In 2018, Black Panther dazzled both with the adventures of the first black superhero who became the protagonist of a blockbuster with superheroes, and with an attached message (“let’s build bridges, not walls”) in full sync with the political concerns of the United States at the time. Two years later the actor Chadwick Boseman was killed by cancer, and the sequel Black Panther: Wakanda Forever bids a proper farewell to him. Although it does not lack emotional scenes and visual spectacle, Ryan Coogler’s new film suffers from an uninteresting antagonist and from an unbearable sense of déjà vu, which leaves behind a trace of “same old, same old”.

It must be said from the beginning that lately it has been increasingly difficult for us to keep up with the films and series that populate the Marvel Cinematic Universe and that staying up to date with the multitude of characters, alliances and events has become more of a chore than a pleasure. Gone are the days when you could go into a Marvel movie without “doing your homework,” that is, without having invested too much, too many precious hours and too many neurons to still feel like you were in control of an ever-expanding story. It must also be said here that Marvel’s successful formula, that of obstinately investing in a universe familiar to a global audience, has become a nail in the coffin of Hollywood originality, with Marvel’s competition applying similar formulas in order to keep up.

Even after the above considerations, Wakanda Forever was still a disappointing experience, which is also the reason why I needed five days to publish a review of perhaps the hottest film of the fall. The decision of Marvel studios not to replace Boseman is undoubtedly commendable, but, beyond the homage paid to an actor with much more influence and popularity at home than in Romania, Wakanda Forever offers far too little for its considerable duration (161 minutes), sometimes cutting off boredom.

Perhaps the film’s biggest problem is the antagonist, Namor (Tenoch Huerta), a leader of an underwater kingdom who reacts violently when the US begins drilling the ocean floor in search of the priceless vibranium. Forgive us, but I didn’t believe one iota of this character’s origin story, in which the screenwriters invest absolutely nothing beyond his initial motivation, that of protecting his subjects. From his fins on his legs (remember Claude Zidi’s comedy Wing or Leg?) to Huerta’s bizarrely detached performance, Namor only succeeds in reminding us that in the original comics the antagonist was a leader of Atlantis (a direction that Marvel could no longer explore due to the global success of Aquaman) and that Namor, a villain inspired by Mayan mythology, is only a stopgap solution. That’s how it feels…

Otherwise, when it’s not steeped in mourning, Wakanda Forever offers the usual spectacle of introducing new members (including Michaela Coel) of the Dora Milaje into battle and new chases with various vehicles, but, as I said above, the feeling of same old, same old it’s annoying. This opinion is certainly unpopular, but it’s like we were expecting something else from the film that closes Phase 4 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and which feels unexpectedly modest compared to the endpoints of other Phases, such as The Avengers. As I said, this review is the result of “exhaustion” caused by the inflation of Marvel movies, and maybe other viewers will love the movie, including the excitement of the end credits scene.

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