First reactions to Black Panther: Wakanda Forever hail a tribute to Chadwick Boseman and praise a 'MCU film anchored by women

The first Black Panther: Wakanda Forever reviews have arrived. Expectations were high, and early reactions indicated that the Ryan Coogler sequel is a strong follow-up to the 2018 film Black Panther, which remains one of the best-reviewed and awarded films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Some critics have also panned the film, but most have praised it for being a fitting sequel and a fitting tribute to the late Chadwick Boseman.

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever has received positive reviews from critics, with a current Rotten Tomatoes score of 94% based on 80 reviews. “A poignant tribute that satisfyingly moves the franchise forward, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever marks an ambitious and emotionally rewarding triumph for the MCU,” the consensus reads. Critics have praised the action, cast, and direction, adding that the sequel pays a fitting tribute to Chadwick Boseman, who played the titular character in the first film.

Alonso Duralde, writing for The Wrap, said the sequel has “a lot to enjoy,” while USA Today critic Brian Truitt called it “funny, clever, and heartbreaking.” Slant Magazine’s Jack Cole was sceptical of the “lugubrious and plodding narrative,” but praised director Ryan Coogler for being “one of the few contemporary filmmakers who’s able to bring a unique vision to today’s blockbuster formula.” Vanity Fair critic Richard Lawson praised Coogler for doing a “commendable” job of acknowledging Boseman’s absence in a respectful manner, praising the “care for craft and detail,” and adding that it was “refreshing to see a Marvel film so anchored by women.”

“The most striking thing about the film, though, may be what a matriarchy it is, both by nature and nurture: Without their king, Wakanda has become a queendom from the top down, overseen by Bassett’s regal, ageless Ramonda, the gorgeously daunting Gurira, and Wright, who rises to fill her dramatically expanded role with feline grace and vulnerability,” wrote Leah Greenblatt of Entertainment Magazine. Namor’s character was also lauded, with Kevin L. Lee of AwardsWatch writing, “Every time the film focuses on Namor, the importance of protecting his people, and his interactions with Shuri, the film excels.”

Some critics were less complimentary, with Mick LaSalle of the San Francisco Chronicle stating that Wakanda Forever “feels as lost and forlorn as the Wakandan people.”

Although the sequel had been planned for a long time, the absence of Chadwick Boseman as T’Challa, who died in 2020 after a battle with colon cancer, caused the release date to be pushed back because the script had to be rewritten. Ultimately, the film’s team and MCU executives decided against recasting his character and instead focused on introducing a new Black Panther character.

Namor, played by actor Tenoch Huerta, is another new character introduced in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. The rest of the cast returns to carry the story forward, including Letitia Wright, Angela Bassett, Lupita Nyong’o, Winston Duke, and Danai Gurira. On November 11, the film will be released in theatres.

By Piya

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