Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
Onto the final release of the weekend(and I still have Uunchai to cover) and I finished watching the new Marvel Superhero movie Black Panther : Wakanda Forever in a theatre near me. And everytime there is a new superhero in town(Marvel or DC), everyone is excited. There was a time when Marvel films were ruling the roost. But the phase 4 Universe Expansion hasn’t been quite the expected success for Marvel. In fact, this year has seen surprisingly substandard Marvel projects releasing much to the dismay of the fans with many terming the films as cash cows who are sitting on their past laurels. Having said that, I did have high hopes from Wakanda Forever.
I remember watching the first film in the Black Panther franchise and was absolutely blown away by its storytelling which was bold and quite impressive even for a superhero movie. But seldom did I know that the man who carried the film on his shoulders, Chadwick Boseman would pass off so suddenly. It has been about two years since his departure which kind of did leave a void in people’s hearts as also the Black Panther franchise. So while I was expecting a heartfelt tribute, I was eager on how the story would build from here on and whether it would resurrect the Marvel films this year. And now that I have finished watching Black Panther : Wakanda Forever, here are my two cents on the same.
Story & Screenplay
Black Panther : Wakanda Forever follows the story of the Kingdom of Wakanda who are now dealing with the loss of their king until a new obstacle awaits them. The story here is really good and more grounded culturally so which is a rarity for superhero films. One of the major reasons why Marvel Superheroes are appreciated by the audience is because they originate from different parts of the world that kind of makes for a universal appeal. The screenplay standing at about a 160 minutes might seem daunting, but the drama has enough of it to keep you invested throughout.
The drama opens on an emotional note wherein the health of The King Of Wakanda(Chadwick Boseman) deteriorates before sinking completely. This was a heartfelt scene straight up that does set the ball rolling for the rest of the drama to follow. But the writers do not cash in on this ‘reel’ death for too long. The writing does throw in the conflict immediately and soon you are introduced to a new antagonist or Supervillain in the MCU.
The drama is engaging and engrossing but also supremely entertaining. To give you one instance, there is an exhilarating chase sequence that absolutely gives you the thrills. But elsewhere, there is a beautiful human touch to the proceedings that consistently keeps the drama grounded. What that does is that prompts the audience to have an emotional connect with all its characters that virtually pays off in its pre-finale act.
There are subtle twists and turns in the events leading up to the final act which is a visual treat. But minor flaw in its final act is that it is far too simplistic in its approach as opposed to a layered or a slow buildup to the eventual action sequence. But once again the drama ends on an emotional note setting up the franchise perfectly for its next part. So overall, the screenplay is entertaining but heartfelt and emotional too.
Dialogues, Music & Direction
The dialogues are very well written and make for an impactful viewing. The music is soulful and blends perfectly with the drama. The BGM is pulsating and often sets your adrenaline rushing, elsewhere it is soft and heartfelt. The cinematography and VFX are absolutely world-class. Director Ryan Coogler does a phenomenal job here in keeping the viewers engaged throughout. But his biggest victory as a director is that how well he has rooted this film in culture which is a rarity in over the top superhero films.
The performances are excellent. But before that this was a fitting tribute to Chadwick Boseman who will always remain our “Black Panther” for life! Martin Freeman as Everest and Michael B Jordan as N’Jadaka have their moments to shine as does Michaela Coel as Aneka. Angela Bassett as Ramonda delivers a very dignified performance. Dominique Thorne as Riri is first rate. Winston Duke as M’Baku contributes to some of the lighter moments of the film pretty well which thankfully doesn’t overpower the narrative(like it did in Thor). Danai Gurira as Okoye is excellent here. Lupita Nyong’o as Nakia delivers a heartfelt performance. Tenoch Huerta as Namor is a great antagonist here and a welcome addition to the MCU. But it is Letitia Wright as Shuri that comes off age in a stunning performance here. She is excellent in emotional scenes as well as in combat scenes making her character a complete package.
Black Panther : Wakanda Forever is a deeply rooted superhero film which is heartfelt and entertaining at the same time. Available in a theatre near you and Highly Recommended!