Thanks to Disney, I got to screen the new Black Panther film in advance of its theater release on Nov 11th, to attend the press screening. And the first thing you’ll notice about “Wakanda Forever” is probably how slow it starts off … so of course that’s where I’ll start my review.
With the runtime of “Black Panther 2: Wakanda Forever” being 2 hours and 41 minutes long, I’m actually shocked that it’s not just completely all action. But as we all know, this film isn’t just another superhero film.
With Chadwick Boseman passing, the director, producers, and cast wanted to use the Black Panther sequel to honor him. So its slow pace actually makes sense, as you can tell the pace of the script was intentionally slowed to allow room for those watching to breathe, and feel their emotions.
“Black Panther 2: Wakanda Forever” Review
But while “Wakanda Forever” may be a bit slow paced, you’ll definitely need tissues.
The emotions kick in from the very first few minutes of the film, as the Marvel opening rolls with absolutely no sound — which I can only guess is a “moment of silence” to pay respect to Chadwick Boseman. Which I have to say was not only an amazing way to start the film, but it was also super emotional.
Having our entire screening room fall silent, as we waited for what would come next, was something I didn’t realize I needed. And even when the music is upbeat, and makes you really wanna dance … the sadness of the film, of the two funerals, yes … there are two in “Black Panther 2” causes you to pause for a bit.
And if you’re still mourning, as I am, the ending will hurt like hell! “Wakanda Forever” touches on death, and grief, continuously throughout the film. Not in a way that causes one to run from these feelings, but in a way that makes one stop and think … and really sit in it, cathartically.
But still, as this carries a PG-13 rating, for those with younger ones wanting to make their way back to Wakanda this year … please note that this film can bring up heavy feelings for them, and for you … if you’ve been through a lost recently. (However recent feels to you and your grief process.) So maybe have a conversation about grief with your kids, (and self) before and afterwards?
I have been telling everyone that they should plan a day to relax afterwards, and just sit with their feelings to get through it. Now, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go see “Black Panther 2: Wakanda Forever”. That’s not what I’m saying here at all!
In true “Black folks” fashion … there is a bit of comedic relief throughout the pain.
Y’all know we can’t sit still for long without making a joke, especially when dealing with heavy topics like grief. Jokes are how we made it this far in life, I believe.
It’s not all heavy!
This time around, while folks may think that M’Baku is alarmingly underused in this sequel … he does provide us with comedic relief. Which, I really liked to be honest.
I do agree they could have used the Black men in this movie a bit more, as everyone has spent the last few days pointing out to me on Twitter and TikTok. But for M’Baku, seeing his transition from almost an enemy, who just wanted the throne for himself, to what now feels like an annoying cousin you just can’t seem to get rid of … I do love his character.
And I love the banter amongst him and the others, and between Shuri and Okoye.
Despite it’s focus on grief, and Marvel not recasting T’Challa, there’s a lot to love about “Wakanda Forever”.
While, again I do agree there’s a huge issue with Marvel erasing a Black superhero from the MCU, just because the actor died.
I do love that “Wakanda Forever” does focus on the women of Wakanda. Seeing Black women scientists on screen makes me so happy! And even one who may now be, Wakandan adjacent? Yes, I’m talking about Ironheart. I love that they let the princess learn another culture. Okay, let is a strong word, but I do love that they wrote this into the script.
I also love the costumes, not that there was any doubt in my head that Ruth Carter wouldn’t provide a second time around, because that’s just what Black women do! Provide! But I did notice that Shuri had on a lot of white, and seeing as how white is their “mourning” color, that was clearly intentional.
Then there’s the excitement of the film throughout, I’m talking “Top Gun: Maverick” excitement, “WTF” and “oh shit” moments of excitement! Like, I know everyone thinks that because the film focuses on grief, it’s just this big ball of depression, but it’s really not. The fighting scenes are dope, especially the one on the side of the ship. (I still need to know how they made that happen!) And watching Black women warriors fighting alongside Black men warriors, working together to protect their country, their culture … is sexy as hell!
This film is gonna go CRAZY in IMAX y’all.
Of course, the film isn’t all good vibes — as there are a few things we’re all going to disagree with.
On top of T’Challa not being recasted, I feel like for a powerful nation like Wakanda, a few things were dumbed down in this film that makes my thoughts spiral.
Like — why are two powerful nations fighting each other, when they know it’s the colonizers that are at fault? Are you telling me that we can always advance technologically, but not mentally, emotionally, and spirtually? I don’t believe for one minute that such advanced beings would have their judgement clouded so easily.
I also don’t believe we’d be so f*cking nice! BURN THE WORLD DOWN DAMN IT! Start that shit over if you must. Show them why they shouldn’t be messing with you.
And how do they not anticipate someone strong not destroying things? Oh yeah, he’s clearly strong as f*ck, and swings planes around for fun. His people get hit and then get back up again, like robots. And you’re telling me the kid who can solve science problems couldn’t foresee something as simple as “what if he destroys the thing we’re using”?
They’re smarter than that, and let’s not try to make it seem like they’re not.
But overall, “Black Panther 2: Wakanda Forever” is definitely an event you don’t wanna miss.
It’s giving Gen Z working with millennials to change the future vibes and I love that for us!
It’ll make you cry, and yes, if you’re looking to show up and show out again — white is your color! But just remember, you may need a break after watching this, so don’t think you going out to dinner after to chop it up, and laugh it up. And I don’t suggest drowning your feelings in alcohol either.
Yet, the film was good enough to make me wanna see it again. Hopefully, I’m not a bucket of tears at the end the second time around!
“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” opens in U.S. theaters Nov. 11, 2022.