When Peace Conquers War

Wakanda Forever

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. © 2022 MARVEL.

Director: Ryan Coogler

Cast: Letitia Wright, Angela Bassett, Lupita Nyong’o, Winston Duke, Danai Gurira, Tenoch Huerta, Martin Freeman, Dominique Thorne, Julia Louis-Dreyfus

Running Time: 2 hours and 41 minutes

Film Rating: 7 out of 10

When Black Panther star Chadwick Boseman died unexpectedly in August 2020, it left a film franchise without a definite superhero scuppering director Ryan Coogler’s plans for a sequel. However not to be daunted the Creed director forged ahead with a lavish sequel retaining most of the original cast except for Oscar winner Daniel Kaluuya (Judas and the Black Messiah) and of course Boseman himself.

The lavish fantasy sequel Wakanda Forever is part of phase four in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and is certainly a spectacle to behold as Letitia Wright takes a much bigger role as Shuri as she tries to hold the Kingdom of Wakanda together amidst a new threat from an underwater Mayan civilization led by King Namor played by Mexican actor Tenoch Huerta who has all sorts of evading oceanic abilities.

As Wakanda and the devious Mayans fight it out for the vibranium that is remaining, the conflict gets the attention of the US government represented rather blandly by characters Everett K. Ross played by Martin Freeman and Valentina played by Julia Louis-Dreyfus.

At 2 hours and 41 minutes, Wakanda Forever is very long and really a lavish tribute to its main late star Chadwick Boseman who made the original Black Panther so riveting, but what is left is a superhero movie without a definitive hero, leaving the middle of the film bloated.

Oscar nominee Angela Bassett (What’s Love Got to do With it?) reprises her role as Queen Ramonda as does Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o (12 Years a Slave) as Nakia, which helps elevate the convoluted plot. Fortunately Lupita Nyong’o lifts the spirit of the film by her excellent acting.

Visually, Wakanda Forever is stunning and is efficiently directed by Ryan Coogler although the middle of the film was lacking and at times, the viewer might be forgiven for thinking they are watching the Avatar sequel with all those blue Mayans swimming around.

As the action travels around the globe from Haiti to Cape Verde to Cambridge, Massachusetts whereby Shuri and the warrior Okoye played excellently by Danai Gurira track down a science genius played energetically by Dominique Thorne.

Viewers must realise that they are watching complete fantasy and in that genre, Wakanda Forever excels and there are some light hearted moments provided by M’Baku played by Winston Duke. What was interesting in Wakanda Forever was the complete lack of male actors in this sequel compared to the original film.

Despite its visual dazzle, the storyline falters and Wakanda Forever only gets a film rating of 7 out of 10.

Recommended viewing for those that enjoyed Black Panther and follow the entertaining Marvel Cinematic Universe.

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