Despite some outpouring of criticism, ‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever‘ (2022) has arrived with the same hesitation with which it was announced when the death of Chadwick Boseman disrupted plans with the franchise after having created an icon for the African American community. A pity for many reasons that the feature film transmits in a resigned way, with a sincere regret, but not without its cynical trace of “well, we will have to move on” that the 330 million dollars raised their first weekend account.
An operation that did not leave much room for maneuver in the complex system of communicating vessels that has reached the machinery of Marvel Studioswas to follow or make a complete resignation to Wakanda as a key element of the geopolitical structure that develops in the universe, as he well attests ‘Falcon and the Winter Soldier‘, another series of succession of a great icon by another that managed to convert The racial shift of America’s image into a philosophical and political core much more kaleidoscopic and organic after the post-George Floyd riots.
However, ‘Wakanda Forever’ is like watching a very solemn ritual to embellish the dilution of a main character in the MCU to one who will be secondary for necessity. The foundation on which it is built is soft in itself: it turns Shuri, almost a comic resource, which worked, into a depressive, sad heiress, who soaks a relay out of obligation with withering inertia, representing the sensations of the spectator tied to the chair so they can tell you that ‘Succession‘ full of routine, without black humor or satire.
Starting from this base, very few of his emotional bets work, despite his air of great elegy, with a hard plastic work in the representation of the tribute that is not capable of transmitting the bitterness of the mourning of the characters in any catharsis that moves or excite. There is nothing especially erratic in the concept decisions, it just shows a well-intentioned intention and with some confidence in the metacinematic hodgepodge to get a tear from the postulates of the monarchical epic of the previous installment.
One of the most boring movies of the year
This is transferred to the dynamic that fuels all of ‘Wakanda Forever’, the dispersion. Nothing is in focus, everything is important, so nothing ends up being.. On paper, the story of Shuri’s arc is not a bad idea and the conflict over resources could not be more interesting. But it never starts. It has no entity nor does it know how to flow. It gets stuck in blocks of exposition and repetitive dialogues that seem like the first version of a script that lacks twists, betrayals, emotion… Everything is fixed with… More tragedy. Another nail to the coffin in the middle of the movie.
There’s an accent problem in development when we start with a funeral and go on to play 40 secondaries trying to fill the gap. The option could have been a choral story, but, although it sometimes seems so, it is not. End up looking for the epic about a character without charisma, unable to bear the weight of the leading role on her own. Letitia Wright is the victim of a maneuver on the public that she could use as a simile, as if she were trying to give chard to a child who has just gorged himself on candy.
It’s not Wright’s fault. She’s not a bad actress, and I’m sure she physically looks feline inside the black panther suit, but her role was something else. It was the Q of James Bond, changing its imprint is exactly that, making Ben Whishaw’s Q become 007. It seems that with the succession system there was no other option, but it is symptomatic that it seems that the film is not aware of the power on screen that they give off Lupita Nyong’o and Danai Gurira without barely giving it the weight they deserve. They are the best of the movie and they cast such a shadow over everything else that it’s frustrating to know the key was here. Is it hard to believe that there wasn’t a possible script twist to make Nyong’o the lead?
Cameos turned into narrative warts
Special mention for the horrendous trip made without Vaseline on the character of Riri Williams. There is no way to justify her appearance in the plot, the presentation could not be clumsier and all its scenes more discarded from DVD edition, breaks the rhythm, destroys the tone of homage to the dead and proposes a very rude utilitarianism of what was going to be the film tribute to Boseman. The opportunism of the MCU interrupts what could have been a different, mature film with the appearance of doing things differently.
Everything related with ‘ironheart‘ does not hold two questions in the framework of the argument. What problem does Marvel Studios have with this custom of introducing the episode into their movies? back door to do spin-offs. It is already a mechanical obligation, without considering the coherent whole of a feature film, it plays because it plays and they forget the most important thing: the hook?The plan is that we want to see a series about her? For something so halfhearted, they could have used one of the 100 series per year that appear on Disney + to make the same contact.
But if the appearance of Williams is worth anything, it is that the symptom of the exhaustion of ideas of this phase 4 is exposed with the repetition of script template tricks for these characters, for example, the presentation of America Chaves. (Adolescent with a special gift that the bad guys want to kill, we will have to protect her) is essentially the same as ‘Ironheart’, who spends most of his time in custody. Little more or less with the appearance of Namor, a character who inspired a lot of respect in the comics turned into a pimp Mariana trench pools.
Marvel facing the void of ideas
It turns out that the cinematic Sub-mariner is a Hacendado Maluma at an Aztec costume party you’ve seen the trailer too much ‘Avatar 2‘. His nation’s similarities to the Na’vi suggest a Kevin Feige right-hand move to Cameron that has come off as an Asylum-advanced rip-off that is presumed to hit the table at the box office of a different kind. of Blockbusters. The truth is that the ambivalent arrogance of Tenoch Huerta does not create nor a villain who likes to hate nor an antihero who invites the cynical maneuver. It makes you miss ‘Aquaman’.
But the truth is that ‘Wakanda Forever’ has a solid visual imprint and some BSO options that range from the original to the tremendously tacky. There are good action scenes and great special effects, but most of them arrive late and catch you out in a mammothretic length of… 161! minutes. It is impossible not to see the result as a corollary of what phase 4 of the MCU has been after ‘end game‘, a funeral for a key stage in the global cinematographic experience that ended without leaving a consolidated plan and is dedicated to improvising with samples of disorientation and continuity without risk.
In fact, the game of ‘Wakanda Forever’ with the intrigue of who will be the new ‘Black Panther’ is summed up in that marketing idea of generating mystery, from the silhouette of the character in the shadows, when in reality it supposes a fusion of this in the darkness, the mediocrity of being one more within a plan. The result is more doubts about what is coming. After the false mirage that Sam Raimi achieved in ‘Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness’ remains the anguish, caused not by the lack of direction or a clear common thread, but by the feeling that the helm of the entire company is compromised by panic and improvisationthe lack of confidence in films as separate and compact entities, and a general lack of good taste.
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‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’ is the perfect metaphor for phase 4 of the MCU: a funeral for the lost spark in Marvel after the cultural milestone of ‘Endgame’