I saw the movie Black Panther: Wakanda Forever back in November. Yet I didn’t review it because, in some ways, I found it almost unreviewable.
It was challenging to separate the death of T’Challa from the passing of the first film’s star, Chadwick Boseman. Even before the film was released, ABC-TV was plugging the stars, writers, and director on a primetime special, saying they were trying to make sure they honored the late actor. It succeeded at that.
Think Christian ran a spoiler-laden but touching piece, Mourning Chadwick, Mourning T’Challa, back in November, which you should read unless you haven’t seen the film. Back in 2020, the publication ran Chadwick Boseman’s Sacrifice.
Also, there was a pre-review by Joshua Adams, who made a point of NOT reading any analyses of the new film. He commented that “some of the reactions towards the support of the first film left a bad taste in my mouth.” Specifically, “all the people (across the political spectrum) who implied or asserted that Black Panther was only popular because of black identity politics.” While I had not thought about it before, I got that feeling too.
The other factor is that I went to see Wakanda Forever at the neighborhood Madison Theater. The marquee did not reflect that the film was even playing there. As a result, I was the ONLY person in the theater. I’m not much for private screenings because I like getting the audience’s reactions.
The one part of the film I will comment on is the introduction of Namor (Tenoch Huerta Mejía). He’s not exactly the villain, as he’s trying to protect his homeland. The emperor of Talokan, a hidden undersea kingdom, offers to fight with the Wakandans against the folks threatening both of their cultures.
The Mayan ancestry backstory worked for me. It was compelling and as logical as a narrative about a secret group of underwater humans could be.
They are not the blue people that Bill Everett drew in the 1940s and again in the 1970s. I’m a huge fan of that Sub-Mariner published by Marvel and its predecessor. As I’ve noted, the comic book universe and Marvel Cinematic Universe are destined to be different, and I’m all right by that.
I read a reprinted column that the late Greg Hatcher wrote about Batman, where he counted eight different iterations, and that was just between 1964 and 2005.
Back to the film, maybe it was the lack of an audience in the cinema, but I started to find the fight scenes, which were well-choreographed, not so interesting, except for the one-on-one near the end. still, it was well done, and I’m glad I saw it.