Movie Review: ‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’ proves to be underwhelming


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‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’ proves to be underwhelming. The movie was released Nov. 11, 2022 and grossed over 800 million dollars in the worldwide box office. 

On Feb. 9 at 7 p.m. the Black Student Union hosted a movie night featuring “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” in the Washburn A/B room. This is the second installment of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s “Black Panther.” While I was blessed to have seen the movie in theaters, I attended the event to gain another viewing perspective.

Storm Henry, a junior majoring in anthropology, thought this was a great way to show support to BSU as well as see the movie for the first time.

“It was really good,” said Henry. “It exceeded my expectations. It was very funny and wholesome.”

I, for one, do not agree. With a run time of two hours and 41 minutes, I expected more out of the plot. This was a great introduction of the new Marvel supervillain, Namor (Tenoch Huerta) and his story. Everything else seemed to lack depth.

The conflict between Wakanda and Talokan starts as a result of Wakanda protecting the scientist who created the technology to detect vibranium. Namor thinks that Wakanda is responsible and visits the Wakandans knowing well that the people he found with the machine were not Wakandan. They attacked a boat with US soldiers on it. Namor then notifies the queen and princess of Wakanda that he and his Atlantean army plan to kill the scientist.

Namor’s focus on the scientist seems to lack foresight to me, as the machine was taken from the US Government. There is no way the US would not have taken the time to learn how to build more of that machine, let alone immediately deploy it without further research. Logically, the scientist is no longer the problem if the US has the machine.

Later in the movie, the Talokans kidnap Princess Shuri (Letitia Wright) and the scientist. Even though they have the scientist within their reach they do not kill her or make any attempts. The entire reason for the conflict is Namor’s obsession with killing the person responsible for creating the vibranium detecting device, yet, he does not immediately kill her. This is one of the many instances where the motivation of Namor does not fit his actions.

Another issue I had with the movie was with Namor. He is seen as a villian with aspirations to take over the surface world, and he is offended when Wakanda does not want to join them.

Furthermore, Namor threatens Wakanda several times within this movie, but each time it seems to lack purpose. The first time he threatens Wakanda is when he tells them about the machine and unwarrantedly wants them to take responsibility for it. The second time is when Shuri refuses to join the Talokans in world domination, and his response is that Wakanda would be the first to go. At the point when he made this threat, he had the scientist alive, captured and poorly guarded which leads to the next scene.

Shuri and the scientist are saved by Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o) and a Talokan is killed in the process. This sparks retaliation from Namor, which I find to be the most reasonable motivation behind any of his actions. He destroys Wakanda and in the process kills the queen of Wakanda. Then, the villain announces that he will return. I thought this was unnecessary because at that moment he could have wiped Wakanda right then and there.

There was no reason for him to stop if his purpose was to kill the Wakandans. Namor stopped his rampage solely for the plot to move forward. This feels eerily similar to the time when he does not kill the scientist. After this action, logic of any kind went out the window.

Wakanda wants revenge after losing their queen and having their home destroyed. I feel like the writers chose not to use Wakanda’s technology to bomb or electrocute the Talokans who live underwater. It was plain bad writing.

Instead the Wakandans build a giant ship with an easily accessible weak spot underneath the ship and then challenge the Talokans in the middle of the ocean. This ship does not have any defenses or weapons on it. A spear from a Talokan was all that was needed to damage its built in underwater weak spot and the Wakandans were subsequently slaughtered. Even a child could not have thought of a dumber way to die.

This movie felt like a 3 hour set up for more content in the Marvel Universe instead of Black Panther specifically. The scientist will be the new Iron man and her introduction feels forced in this movie. Luckily, Henry agrees with me.

“It wasn’t something you could really pick up on entirely. Like you kind of got it but it was there,” said Henry.

One complaint that I have between “Black Panther” and “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” is the lack of actual panthering. The black panther is essentially dead for almost the entirety of the first movie until the very last scene where Shuri fights Namor. I would not care much for the lack of intelligent plot if the hero of the movie was actually in the movie.

Edited by: LeSha’ Davis and Simran Shrestha