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BLACK PANTHER: WAKANDA FOREVER 🤩

PREMISE

The people of Wakanda fight to protect their home from intervening world powers as they mourn the death of King T’Challa.

THE GOOD STUFF

THE TRANSITION- Given the trailer of the movie, the toys that have been put out, and multiple interviews with the cast before the movie even premiered… It became apparent that Shuri would be the next Black Panther. This film’s effectiveness completely hinges on explaining and justifying how that is given that we’ve never really seen Shuri in hand-to-hand combat on screen as of this point.

And you know what? That’s exactly what this film does, and I think it justifies its running time because of that.

ANGELA BASSETT- A funny story. I saw this movie with a sold-out crowd (of course) and coming out of the auditorium, there was a large group of people standing around talking about what they had just seen. Somebody much younger than I pointed out to the group that “the lady who played the queen” was really, really good. Which then prompted the older people in that group to look at that younger person like…

And you know what? I’m not even mad at that young whippersnapper. We have, in fact, arrived at a new generation that will come to understand rather quickly that “the lady who played the queen,” the lady who carries the first act of this film rather effortlessly, and the lady who is the emotional anchor of the majority of the film, is one of the greatest actors ever to walk the face of the Earth and has perhaps never been bad in anything she’s ever done.

Danai Gurira- Quite possibly the most underrated character in all of the MCU is Okoye, the general of the Dora Milaje. Whether it be in civil war, the first black panther movie, or the falcon & the Winter soldier, Okoye makes for a compelling presence simply by being spectacular at her job, backing up every single thing that she says, being fiercely loyal, and having surprising chemistry with everybody she’s on-screen with no matter what the emotional location of the scene might be.

In this movie, she has a lot more to do, and Gurira knocks it out of the park in every scene she’s in. She should be a much bigger star than what she is.

Namor (The good stuff)- Well, a lot has been said about the MCU’s villain problem. The complaint is about many boring routine villains that exist to be the fodder for the heroes without really making any impact. Namor is not that. He is one of the more serious villains to come along in the MCU for quite some time.

The film doesn’t convey him as some maniacal antithesis to the Wakandans but more as a natural-born leader with a lot of responsibility who agrees to disagree with how the Wakandans get down. Tenoch Huerta is so good in this film. He’s charismatic, soft-spoken, and gives off the vibes of a man many would want to follow. This is a unique MCU antagonist. And there aren’t many of those around.

THE BAD STUFF

NAMOR (THE BAD STUFF)- The MCU tries hard to make every one of these villains have a point and be relatable. And sometimes, audiences want a villain that’s going to show up, wreck s***, be formidable, and do so because he’s evil and not because there’s a humanity to him that needs to be explored.

I completely understand that this movie has so much to cover in its running time, and I do understand that it covers its bases in explaining everything you see on screen. I say that, because the reason why Namor is doing what he’s doing is very……. (Trying not to get spoiler-y here) familiar to other villains that we’ve seen before. And his decision-making towards the climax of the film is flat-out confounding.

3RD ACT SHURI- To avoid getting spoilery, I will ask a question. Do you ever watch a movie where the main character is acting a certain way for 95 percent of the movie only to have one ancillary thing happen and the character’s whole personality changes for the rest of the 5% of the film with no buildup at all?

Well, that happens here. And because it happens at around the two-and-a-half-hour mark, one gets the impression that this film may have been wrapping things up a little bit too quickly so that we didn’t hit the 3-hour mark. Drastic changes in a character’s personality kind of need to build up. And when that doesn’t happen, it’s a bit noticeable.

THE UGLY STUFF

That Rihanna song. Hot garbage.

Rihanna is at her best when she is up-tempo. Rihanna singing ballads has never made sense to me. Ever.

*************************

This movie covers a lot of bases, introduces a fresh-faced villain and a character getting her spin-off TV show, gives a lot of shine to supporting characters who otherwise may not have had it, and, yes, gives tribute to Chadwick Boseman in many, many ways.

Much has been made about the film being somewhat cathartic for pretty much everybody in the cast to express their grief over losing Boseman. You can see it all on the screen. This, perhaps more than any film I’ve seen in a long time, is an absolute labor of love. It’s A beautiful film in many more ways than one.

BLACK PANTHER: WAKANDA FOREVER is in theaters now.

Eli Brumfield

Eli Brumfield in an actor/screenwriter from Seattle Washington, living in Los Angeles.

He is the host of the RV8 Podcast.

He hates the word cinefile, but considering how many films he consumes in a week...and how many films he goes out of his way to see, no matter the genre...he kinda seems to be one.

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