Movie reviews: Franchise moves on smoothly with ‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’

Nov 20, 2022, 6:30 AM
(Marvel Studios via AP)...
(Marvel Studios via AP)
(Marvel Studios via AP)

With the passing of Black Panther’s leading man, the adept and charismatic Chadwick Boseman, it was hard to see how the franchise would go on.

But go on it does in  with beautiful production design and world building, stellar costumes by Oscar-winner Ruth Carter and a watchable storyline that includes a tissue clutching homage to Boseman.

While T’Challa has passed, his mother Queen Ramonda and sister Churi (Leticia Wright) have to deal with their loss while also dealing with a political issue that mirrors current real politics.

Angela Bassett fills the screen with earnest and powerful majesty as Ramonda. She leads a grieving nation while also trying to comfort her daughter who is drowning in grief.

Wakanda is the most powerful country in the world (in the Marvel universe) and some other world powers want to get ahold of that power. One may see this as subtext vs. text in clashes over the pillaging of real world resources by world powers in Africa.

But in this instance, it is straight up text, as when the ever talented Julia Louis Dreyfus, as a US Intelligence chief, lustfully says “I dream of it!”

What adds to the topicality of a film about Africa and filled with Black characters is the addition of Namor, quite capably played by Tenoch Huerta and a Latin underwater world.

What is striking here is that the protagonists and the anti-hero represent minority groups, and the theme of sharing causes and the need to work together is glaring text at a time when this discussion has been forced to the forefront (thanks most recently to the Los Angeles City Council).

But this is Marvel, not the real world, so for entertainment’s sake, the story works. The story runs a bit long, however; about 20 minutes could’ve been cut.

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Movie reviews: Franchise moves on smoothly with ‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’