Chadwick Boseman’s death in 2020 shocked the world. In the months that followed, Marvel had to totally rewrite the script for Black Panther 2 and kill off his MCU character T’Challa. Now Black Panther: Wakanda Forever sees Shuri and the royal family coming to terms with life without their King as they face a new threat from the mutant Namor. At time of writing, the reviews are 94 per cent positive on Rotten Tomatoes, although there’s a real mix of reactions from the critics.
The positive reviews
This riotously poetic, serenely political and spectacularly cathartic yarn is the best blockbuster of the year. 2022 isn’t about Maverick anymore. It’s about mavericks.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever stands out from a somewhat formulaic era of Marvel movies: held together by its compelling sense of place, and by acting as a passionate eulogy for Chadwick Boseman.
Wakanda Forever is masterfully and delicately handled. It doesn’t sink under the weight of its uphill challenges, rather it rises to and exceeds expectations.
New York Post
Wakanda Forever solidifies Black Panther as Marvel’s richest and most high-quality franchise.
Director Ryan Coogler delivers a powerful follow-up to the phenomenal 2018 Black Panther that’s funny, clever and heartbreaking, impressive in its world-building, honest in its view of world politics and naturally packed with huge action sequences.
While a Black Panther without Boseman is undoubtedly nothing like the film’s creators or any of its cast wanted it to be, the movie they’ve made feels like something unusually elegant and profound for the multiplex.
The middling reviews
There’s a great deal to enjoy here, and fans of “Black Panther” won’t necessarily leave feeling disappointed, but there’s a sense of strong elements not quite coming together.
There’s more than enough wit, beauty, and imagination to Wakanda Forever to outweigh its weaknesses.
As with the last film, there are bold extravagant gestures of spectacle, while Wright, Coel, Bassett, Gurira and Thorne all supply fierce performances; each of them ups the onscreen voltage simply by appearing.
READ MORE: Black Panther 2 is first Marvel film since Endgame to change ending
The bad reviews
A near-three-hour endurance run of gloomy photography and turgidly staged, emotionally empty two-way conversations, all seemingly designed to sap cast and viewers’ combined will to live.
This installment was always going to be more somber thanks to the loss of its star. What the film lacks is the will to make that loss heartbreaking.
Though its lugubrious and plodding narrative spins its wheels ahead of someone coming along to fill T’Challa’s shoes, Wakanda Forever does stand out for its depictions of grief.
Black Panther Wakanda Forever hits cinemas on Friday.