Review: Wakanda Forever is an Epic Tale of Grief and Survival

Wakanda Forever starts off with the death of King T’Challa and Shuri’s (Leticia Wright) guilt at not being able to create a cure for his disease. In the aftermath, Queen Ramonda (Angela Bassett), and Shuri attempt to rule and protect despite their debilitating grief. When a cache of the precious metal vibranium is discovered in the waters off Mexico, Queen Ramonda must decide on what role Wakanda will take in protecting vibranium and if they will ally with a mysterious underwater kingdom led by its charismatic leader Namor (Tenoch Huerta.)

Wakanda Forever review
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. © 2022 MARVEL.

Most of the performances in Wakanda Forever are strong, but Angela Bassett is this film’s heart and soul.  The visceral pain that is written on her face throughout the course of the film is something to behold.  There’s a scene where Queen Ramonda speaks about her losses in front of the council, which is easily the most powerful scene in the film.  

Another magnificent performance is Tenoch Huerta as Namor who once again is a villain that genuinely believes in his mission to protect his people no matter the cost. I don’t know if it’s the blue-tinted skin or the winged ankles but he is ethereal in Wakanda Forever and the scenes in his kingdom Talokan have him in the middle of some beautiful CGI.

Wakanda Forever review

When prepping to review Wakanda Forever, I thought the soundtrack would be iconic (and there are some great songs), I found myself studying the costumes, the majority of which are designed by Ruth E. Carter.  The colors, fabrics, and draping are really well done in this film.  The stark white of the funeral wardrobe stands out in the yellows and tans that make up the capital of Wakanda.  Like Black Panther, Carter’s costumes take traditional African garments and modernizes them with beading and bold designs.

Director Ryan Coogler has crafted another epic Marvel novel with heart, adventure, and almost an entire cast made up of women of all backgrounds. New to the franchise is Michaela Coel a new member of the Dora Milaje and Dominique Thorne as teen genius Riri Williams.

Wakanda Forever runs almost three hours long and there’s an entire CIA subplot that could have been left out. The fight scenes feel much brighter than in previous Marvel movies and there are a few cameos but they feel thoughtful and not just arbitrary familiar faces. Despite these missteps, Wakanda Forever is an epic film and quite possibly the best that Marvel Cinematic Universe has released so far.

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