There is something redeemable in every superhero movie. And because I’m not hard to please when it comes to this genre, I’ve never seen one I hated. Call it caped wonder syndrome. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is a beautifully filmed and moving tribute to the late Chadwick Boseman, though it doesn’t live up to the original. There are myriad reasons for this – a thin storyline being one of them – but this film had more than a high bar to cross. This film was a monumental challenge for director Ryan Coogler after the franchise’s central actor died. The script was largely completed, so it had to be rewritten without Boseman’s character, T’Challa, as its central focus. As a co-screenwriter with Joe Robert Cole, Coogler and his team strived to weave a story that would be compelling on its own, while also paying tribute to the actor.
They almost succeeded.
Filming this follow-up without the uber-talented Boseman would have been tantamount to Warner Brothers moving along with Superman II without the late Christopher Reeve. The situation is similarly dire, except in the Superman franchise’s case half of the sequel to the 1978 original had already been filmed. Because Marvel chose to move forward without its titular character, we’re left with an ultimately unsatisfying film. That isn’t to say Black Panther: Wakanda Forever isn’t fun. It has all the slick CGI and humor Marvel films have become known for. It will still succeed. The introduction of a childhood favorite, Namor, was neat. And seeing powerful women step forward to carry the film was inspiring. It all just feels a bit empty.
7.00 out of 10.