What are the critics saying about Black Panther?

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Disney and Marvel Studios’ Black Panther: Wakanda Forever hits theaters on November 11, 2022 (with showings in some cities beginning November 10) and the official critic review embargo for Wakanda Forever has finally lifted!

As of the time this was written, the current Rotten Tomatoes critics score for Marvel’s Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is 86% fresh based on 146 reviews.

Queen Ramonda (Angela Bassett), Shuri (Letitia Wright), M’Baku (Winston Duke), Okoye (Danai Gurira) and the Dora Milaje fight to protect their nation from intervening world powers in the wake of King T’Challa’s death. As the Wakandans strive to embrace their next chapter, the heroes must band together with Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o) and Everett Ross (Martin Freeman) to forge a new path for their beloved kingdom.

Written and directed by Ryan Coogler, Wakanda Forever is a sequel to the filmmaker’s 2018 movie Black Panther and is the 30th feature film entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

The hotly anticipated sequel ran into some problems which delayed filming. In addition to the global covid-19 pandemic, in August 2020, the world lost Chadwick Boseman, the amazing talent who brought T’Challa to life on the big screen. Unbeknownst to Coogler and Marvel chief Kevin Feige, not to mention his millions of fans, Boseman had been quietly battling colon cancer. 

Just when filming seemed to be getting back on track, Letitia Wright was injured in late August 2021 during the filming of a stunt sequence on set in Boston, which ended up suspending filming for almost 5 months as they waited for her injured shoulder to heal. 

In addition to the already existing cast, Wakanda Forever will also feature the MCU debut of newcomers Tenoch Huerta as Namor and Dominique Thorne as Riri Williams/Ironheart.

Here’s what critics are saying:

Brian Truitt from USA Today said, “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.”

David Rooney from Hollywood Reporter agrees, “Even if the length feels overextended, Coogler and his editors deserve credit for allowing breathing space between the action scenes for character and relationship development, with Ludwig Göransson’s African-inflected score enhancing both those quieter moments and the big smackdowns. It’s impossible for Wakanda Forever to match the breakthrough impact of its predecessor, but in terms of continuing the saga while paving the way for future installments, it’s amply satisfying.”

Leah Greenblatt from Entertainment Weekly also agrees, “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 at the multiplex; a little bit of forever carved out for the star who left too soon.”

Owen Gleiberman from Variety said, “Wakanda Forever has a slow-burn emotional suspense. Once the film starts to gather steam, it doesn’t let up.”

Johnny Oleksinski from New York Post agrees, “the superb Wakanda Forever solidifies Black Panther as Marvel’s richest and most high-quality franchise. There are no noticeable symptoms of sequelitis in director and co-writer Ryan Coogler’s film. Every aspect — acting, writing, special effects, score — is a notch above its superhero peers. In the best possible sense, you forget you’re watching just another Marvel movie.”

David Ehrlich from indieWire was also impressed, “Coogler’s subthread of the MCU continues to operate at significantly higher strata of thought, artistry, and feeling than the rest of Marvel’s assembly line. Every major character in Wakanda is left to determine whether T’Challa’s memory will be a blessing or a torment, and the movie around them is so wracked by the same tension that even its most formulaic moments are heavy with a human weight that blockbusters seldom have the strength to carry.”

Richard Roeper from Chicago Sun-Times said, “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever succeeds as a new adventure, and as a tribute to a wonderful actor who was taken from this world decades too soon.”

K. Austin Collins from Rolling Stone seemed to enjoy the film, “Every sequel of a franchise as major as this one has the difficult task of finding a novel way forward through familiar pleasures, reminding millions of us of what brought us here to begin with while delivering something new. Wakanda Forever is adventurous on that front.”


REELated:


Believe it or not, Wakanda Forever did receive a couple of negative reviews!

Tim Grierson from Screen International wasn’t wowed, “The sequel ends up at war with itself, wanting to honor Boseman’s legacy while obeying commercial considerations that insist more Black Panther installments must follow. Ultimately, Wakanda Forever is about the fact that Wakanda will never be the same again — a heartbreaking reality that this haunted, imperfect film can’t escape, no matter how hard it tries to soldier on.”

Cary Darling from Houston Chronicle was also not impressed, “ultimately, it pales in comparison to its predecessor, one of the best entries in the field of superhero cinema, and feels largely like a placeholder for the next movie.”

Stephanie Zacharek from TIME Magazine agrees, “Wakanda Forever is clearly designed to be “about” grief. But that doesn’t mean it deals with grief in a particularly deep or significant way. This must have been an incredibly difficult film to make, for the obvious reasons: how does a filmmaker and his cast carry on after the loss of such a dazzling colleague? But ticking boxes isn’t the same as pulling magic—or even just insight—from thin air. The picture’s most stirring moments come near the end, where we get brief flashback glimpses of Boseman as T’Challa. For those few seconds, he radiates everything that’s missing from Wakanda Forever. The sad reality is that the show must go on, and without him, it’s just more of the same. Our job is to pretend it’s enough.

Once again, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is set to hit theaters on November 11 (with showings in some cities beginning November 10) with a two-hour and 41 minutes runtime. The sequel will be the second-longest title in the history of the MCU behind Avengers: Endgame which had a running time of 3 hours and 2 minutes. Watch the trailer below:


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