BLACK PANTHER: WAKANDA FOREVER
A succession story
RELEASED OUT NOW! 2022 | 12 | Blu-ray/dvd/download
Directors Ryan Coogler
Cast Letitia Wright, Angela Bassett,
Winston Duke, Danai Gurira
Faced with the unenviable task of following a gigantic, zeitgeist-entering hit and soldiering on when lead Chadwick Boseman died while the film was still in development, Ryan Coogler managed to make something that, while it has some major issues, is watchable and a decent tribute to its departed key figure.
Still, it ends up feeling rather fragmented, trying to squeeze in the introduction of a new antagonist (Tenoch Huerta Mejía’s sometimes compelling watery warrior Namor) while figuring out the future of Wakanda postt’challa, and not always able to service both stories effectively.
Extras A couple of decent featurettes – “Envisioning Two Worlds” (11 minutes) and “Passing The Mantle” (six minutes) – offer the usual Making Of material and a moving look at the team tackling, and talking about, the loss of Boseman. A 10-minute batch of deleted scenes swing between subplot connective tissue featuring Danai Gurira’s Okoye, and a fun sequence boasting Martin Freeman’s (naturally) convincing British accent and a very unconvincing beard as Agent Ross helps the Wakandans with a spy mission, within which lurks an Easter egg for a Marvel character.
The star of the show, however, is the commentary with Coogler, co-writer Joe Robert Cole and cinematographer Autumn Durald Arkapaw, which starts slowly but builds into an impressive mix of technical details, emotional recollections and revelations, such as the fact that the giant funeral procession was seemingly a late addition. The mind boggles to think of the crew scrambling to put that one together… James White
Dominique Thorne (Riri Williams) originally auditioned to play Shuri in the first film, and stuck in Coogler’s mind.