Black Panther: Wakanda Forever Movie Review: Script Analysis
Ever thought a superhero fantasy film based on a widely popular comic, banked by Disney will ever teach you how to process grief? The Marvel Cinematic Universe in phase 4 has more duds than hits. The studio decided to close it with Black Panther: Wakanda Forever and now I can tell you why. It is the passing away of a King, the void of his absence, the new enemy at door, and the weight of the mantle he left. A lot has changed since 2018. The biggest change is of course Chadwick Boseman’s untimely passing away. He led an evolution in cinema as he dressed as King T’Challa for the first time. He practically even took Marvel to the Oscars. Even the viewers have gone through a pandemic and a gazillion amount of lukewarm Marvel content. So this is of course a redemption, and what follows now is a love letter.
Story by Ryan Coogler with Joe Robert Cole’s help for the screenplay, Wakanda Forever is how you define a good film. Marinated in intricacies but sorted to an extent where you can see the makers dealing with a single storyline one at a time. There is no rush to reach from point A to B, but the journey is what you must see. And the journey begins with a tribute. Boseman’s death for every fan and cinema lover, was a personal loss. Coogler in his writing shapes the funeral like we all are present in there. The homage is so heartfelt, the tears so real, that first 5 minutes and the viewer has Goosebumps with a thudding sound that signals the last visuals of T’Challa leading to a dead silence. Ryan and the team’s language makes you feel Chadwick’s void is silences. Every time he enters the frame there is zero music, a vacuum almost, and I felt that to my core.
And begins the life after the passing away of the King, and what is served ahead. Queen Ramonda played by an incredible Angela Bassett has taken over the throne for the time being. Coogler makes sure that he doesn’t let the pain die even for a minute because the loss is that big. Amid that, he also continues to build his story leading to a successor. What is surprising is that Wakanda Forever has all the trait of a perfect Marvel movie, chase sequence, fights both land and underwater, and a lot of action, but there is also a heart to it all, and one that is vulnerable. With Shuri (Letitia Wright) he makes sure you are reminded of the responsibility and the pain of bearing it. The world while is very personal and intact in the vicinity of Wakanda but the approach is much larger. A thing every other MCU project has failed in phase 4 except for a couple of them.
He understands the importance of family in the life of a superhero whose existence was about his father. So it is the women in T’Challa’s life that now rise and take the driving seat. Criticise the Avengers: Endgame women uniting scene as much as you want, but that is why this exists. Ramonda, Shuri, Nakia (Lupita), Okoye (Dania) & Riri (Dominique), shows you the future of the MCU, which is right now majorly in the hands of women (She-Hulk, Ms. Marvel, America Chavez, Yelena Belova, Captain Marvel). And you have no right to complain since you saw men rule this space for a decade. It’s time for a change. Together the Wakandans address Wakanda as ‘HER’ and there is so much pride in that little detail. Remember how Valkyrie was called the King? Same energy!
The efforts shows in how Namor is created. One cannot call him a bad man in general. His fight technically isn’t for a bad cause, his ways are. His anger and grief both are a result of enslavement, human greed, discrimination, and cultural divide. Even his name is a classic etymology and one you must discover yourself. He is a very creation of T’Challa’s noble behaviour if one can say. So when he strikes, you don’t want him to die. Also, the fact that he is a mutant and also has all the possibilities of being a good man is exciting me more.
The only complaint is that Martin Freeman doesn’t get much to do as expected. But he is adorable in whatever he does. The charm remains intact and how.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever Movie Review: Star Performance
First, we miss you Chadwick Boseman, our one true King T’Challa. Second, it is the women running the show baby! Letitia Wright as Shuri is an actor par excellence this time. She not only has to retain her beliefs as a youngster, but with it has to process the grief of her brothers demise. And the responsibility is a byproduct already. Wright does an amazing job of keeping this camp together. With Angela she brings the emotional core of the movie alive. Sit through the post credit to see a zoom in shot of hers where she aces it without a single dialogue.
Angela is anyways an actor who hardly goes wrong. There is power in how she approaches Ramonda because she doesn’t allow her to visually break at any point. So the constant pressing of pain does lead to a blast and when she does, she puts up a brilliant exhibition of her talent. So does Dania Gurira as Okoye. She is put to test and comes out glorious with Lupita, who I feel should have had a bit more than what she got.
Talking of the antagonist, Tenoch Huerta was born to play Namor. The actor almost confuses you if he is good or bad and then manages to also make you root for him. There is a lot of him in the future of MCU and it is made clear. He has the potential to be the next Thanos with a story even supporting his cause like the now-dead baddie.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever Movie Review: Direction, Music
For Ryan Coogler this wasn’t just losing his lead but also a close friend and you can see in his vision that he had to entirely change only for his dear pal. You can feel how many tears might have been shared on the sets behind the camera while shooting those scenes. But at the same time he doesn’t let them blur the future. While everything is all kinds of amazing, there is a lot of politics Coogler talks about. He is himself from a community marginalised for years, so he doesn’t think twice to make colonizer jokes, or credit a pop sensation for her makeup brand (Rihanna’s Fenty is mentioned in the most fun way), or even take a look back in the traumatising history of his people, or even the capitalism and power abuse. Even his cultural detailing is so strong that the customs of Wakanda now seem normal and familiar. Don’t even get me started on the brilliant visual symmetry of it all.
The humour he brings is so organic and not at the cost of killing the seriousness of the entire situation or movie (Yes, Thor: Love And Thunder did that). His idea of making a film is dealing with one thing at a time regardless of the runtime and that is how it must be. More power to you Ryan. Go take up Secret Wars, you beast, and give us a fulfilling Avengers movie.
Talking of beast, Ludwig Goransson’s score is what you call the music of the Gods. So powerful and scintillating that you can feel it in your bones in the Dolby atmosphere. This is probably the first Marvel movie with kind of situational songs and they work so good. Also, Lift Me Up by our Queen is here to alarm and sooth us all.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever Movie Review: The Last Word
The void is felt, a new hero has risen, the future of Wakanda looks glorious and we must thank Ryan Coogler. Everyone else in the MCU, please take notes.