I went to see Black Panther: Wakanda Forever last night with my younger son and we both enjoyed it. However, I think I enjoyed it more than he did as it is a slow burn of a blockbuster (there’s more dialog and less action set pieces or at least it felt that way). There is a large amount of attention to handling grief (rightly so). The loss of Chadwick Boseman weighs heavily on so much of this film.
Namor (Ku’ku’lkán) is a solid inclusion and is handled well. I thought the character development balanced respect for the comics as well as a desire to present a more diverse view of the character’s backstory. The shifting from him being from Atlantis to tje underwater kingdom of Talokan is presented as a diversity change in some ways, but I have to imagine this is also to avoid camparisons to Aquaman. I don’t know much about the actor, Tenoch Huerta, but I thought he did a great job breathing life into the character and making Namor feel like he had authentic motivations.
Returning from the last film, Angela Bassett as Queen Ramonda, Dani Gurira as Okoye and Winston Duke as M’Baku were all great. I also liked Martin Freeman though he had a smaller role in this film, but he did help to flesh out Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Valentina Allegra de Fontaine.
I thought Letitia Wright did good work evolving the character of Shuri in this film. She grew on me in this film in a way that she didn’t in the first film. I’m curious to see how long she continues in the role given that this film could be seen as an entry resetting the Black Panther character and it felt like they left a couple of options open for the mantle to be passed from her to another.
I did feel Ironheart and the Midnight Angels had a bit of an odd design in that the face mask portion of the armor felt too animated/video game-esque for my tastes. The characters themselves were just fine, but it’s the design that felt off to me. When I think back to how the Iron Man suit looked (starting with Mark 2), I remember being struck by how kinetic and physical everything looked. It was as if someone had made a working suit. These two designs just didn’t work for me on that level, but maybe another viewing will lead me to feel different. Having said all that, I am very curious where the character will go in the upcoming Ironheart series as I do believe Dominique Thorne made for an interesting Riri Williams.
It’s not the rollercoaster ride that I can’t wait to board again, but rather the film that leaves me thinking about how this story will grow and evolve in the MCU as I don’t believe this is the last we have seen of Talokan or Namor and I look forward to seeing their interactions with the wider MCU.