Review: Wakanda Forever

David Castañeda

More stories from David Castañeda


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Wakanda Forever released on November 11th celebrates both African and Mesoamerican cultures as well as honoring the late Chadwick Boseman.

It’s not often that a movie is tasked with addressing and honoring the loss of its lead. Yet after the release of 2018’s “Black Panther” and the regretful passing of lead actor Chadwick Boseman in 2020 director Ryan Coogler had a heavy weight on his shoulders and the attention of everyone in the world awaiting the release of “Wakanda Forever.” 

However, director Ryan Coogler and screenplay writer Joe Robert Cole surprisingly manage to juggle Wakanda Forever’s many plot lines quite well. Yet “Wakanda Forever” further proves that Marvel’s biggest problem lately is its very own ambition to replicate the excitement that came with Infinity War and Endgame.  

The plot of Wakanda Forever is quite simple. : After the death of King T’challa, Wakanda finds itself under attack from the countries attempting to benefit from Wakanda’s vibranium. Though not initially worried Wakanda finds itself in trouble once Talokan, another fictional country ruled by King Namor (Tenoch Huerta) gets dragged into the dispute.  

Much like in the film’s predecessor Black Panther, Ryan Coogler and Joe Robert Cole do a wonderful job at portraying the African-based culture of Wakanda as well as introducing the world to the Atlantis like Talokan, a country and culture heavily based on Mayan and Aztec mythology.  

The visuals in Wakanda Forever are also adapted wonderfully once again and arguably improved on from the franchise’s first film. Though like the rest of Marvel movies the cinematography is not something to awe over, it is clear that director Ryan Coogler and cinematographer Autumn Durald did their best to break the mold, even cracking it in a few scenes.  

The beautiful scenery and vibrant colors of both Wakanda and Talokan truly honored the cultures that both were heavily based on allowing the viewer to truly appreciate and be enamored by the mythology being presented.  

While being a wonderful celebration of both African and Mexican cultures as well as an honoring of the late Chadwick Boseman, Wakanda Forever doesn’t manage to juggle all these topics as well as it could’ve. The issue, however, does not lie in the story that Ryan Coogler wanted to tell but rather in the side plots forced upon him and the writers by the Marvel executives like Kevin Feige. Because the MCU has been so focused on making every one of their latest projects into a promotion for a different project coming our way in preparation for the next Avengers, it was inevitable for Wakanda Forever’s plot to be harmed by this formula.  

The introduction of Dominique Thorne’s Riri Williams, though welcomed by the fans, was not Ryan Coogler’s plan for Wakanda Forever but rather an unnecessary pawn added to the game by Kevin Feige to promote her upcoming show, “Ironheart.” Though the performance and character of Riri Williams was quite likable, the time spent with this character took away from the time that could’ve been used to further  develop the many other plotlines on the movie’s plate. Riri Williams was not the only one. Other characters from Marvel’s previous and future projects were also included in the film as promotional pieces, further taking away from the plot and story that fans were wanting to explore. 

Nonetheless, Wakanda Forever is a beautiful homage to Chadwick Boseman’s life as well as the many cultures celebrated in the film. Ryan Coogler was burdened with a heavy weight on his shoulders and surprisingly managed to carry it all significantly, better than expected. While not handled perfectly due to the stories forced upon the crew, Wakanda Forever was still a much needed tone shift in Marvel’s catalog and a muchwelcomed step toward what’s to come in the Black Panther franchise.  

 6.5/10 Stars  

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