The Marvel Cinematic Universe, which started with Iron Man in 2008, gave us a lot of good feelings with its movies and characters. All of these feelings were related to the themes in the films. Iron Man made us happy when he got out of the cave he was trapped in; Hulk made us laugh when he knocked Loki down; we burst into tears when Black Widow and Tony Stak sacrificed themselves for the future of the universe; When we saw Captain America aged, we were happy for him, but we were sad inside. We have been a part of a magnificent adventure for precisely 15 years, and we have deeply experienced every emotion they have given us. But no one could have predicted that our tears in 2020 would be for a real person. Losing a great man like Chadwick Boseman in a year that will be remembered as a black mark in history like 2020 had ruined our already awful year. The death of Chadwick Boseman, the lead role in Marvel’s most culturally particular film, meant question marks about the course of the universe. A major character passed away at an early age. Could there be an MCU without Black Panther was the first question that came to mind? Wakanda Forever is a moderately enjoyable film that tries to answer this question; it is frugal in itself but has a messy ending, yet manages to give the emotional intensity it wants to impose.
Let’s briefly touch on its subject… The film opens in Shuri’s laboratory in Wakanda. Her brother is on his deathbed. We don’t know why. Just like we didn’t know that Chadwick Boseman was ill in real life. With T’Challa’s death, Wakanda falls into great mourning. Wakanda, which is already introverted, closes in on the world. But the significant countries of the world do not leave Wakanda alone. These countries, which set their eyes on the mine they own, are trying to get what they want at international summits on the one hand and behind the scenes on the other. Their persistent attitude causes them to find the lost Atlantis unintentionally. Living peacefully away from the world’s troubles, the people of Talokan are ready to show their teeth to the impending danger.
Wakanda Forever seeks to lay the foundations for an impending war through Shuri, caught between science and tradition. The progression of the story through Shuri became the focus of criticism. Marvel’s female characters, which have increased, especially with Phase 4, have disturbed many hidebound people. They are trying to criticize every project Marvel puts a woman as lead based on Woke criticism. However, under the leadership of Kevin Feige, Marvel managed to advance its new route without getting involved in populism. Ms. Marvel, She-Hulk, and Black Widow, whom we finally got to see in-depth, her sister Yelena, Kate Bishop, and now Shuri. But Marvel is cautious not to be biased. It was clear from the trailers that Shuri would be the new Black Panther, but how it would happen was essential. Shuri’s story of dressing in black is not based on a forced girl-power story but on necessity. This was perhaps the best possible choice.
The movie makes us watch the fight between 2 closed societies that come face to face because of people who meddle in everything. This is how we met the character of Namor, which everyone has been dying to see on the screen for a long time. People’s persistent search for Vibranium causes them to come to the borders of Talokan. Namor is dissatisfied with those digging around their city with their tools. He is ready to wage war against them. But he is looking for an ally. This ally is Wakanda, the most powerful country in the world above water. The story, which clashes with a young scientist who -involuntarily- found the tool for finding Vibranium, thus introduces us to a new character: Riri Williams. While Namor wants to find and kill the young inventor, Wakanda tries to prevent it while finding common ground with Namor. But opposites eventually collide.
The film is very successful in conveying the anxieties of Namor and his society. The conflict between them progresses throughout the movie in a way that looks like a spy movie. The story, which progresses for a while like a spy movie where everyone plays double, turns into a fight to the death between two giant powers after the death of an innocent. The movie offers exquisite scenes like the first movie in the action part. Especially when the scenes of Dora Milaje, perhaps the coolest and sexiest military troop ever seen in cinema history, are combined with the song of musician Ludwig Göransson, we watch scenes that will give goosebumps. While the neat editing of the movie up to the fight is progressing quite well, unfortunately, the film starts to fall apart a bit when it comes to the war sequence. No matter how satisfying the action is, it loses the logic and finesse of the fiction after a point.
For this reason, especially the episode after Shuri became Black Panther was utterly disconnected and rushed. It is obvious that the movie had severe cuts in the editing. Even though Dora Milaje’s show in the ship sequence was worth watching, towards the end, Namor’s call to go home after returning from a fight to the death, while people of Wakanda were stuck like 300 Spartans, was a bit ridiculous. Likewise, Namor and Shuri’s affaire d’honneur was also below average.
Frankly, I also liked that the movie didn’t have blind-eyed ideas. In my opinion, it was an ideal orientation for Shuri to be Black Panther out of sheer necessity. Likewise, the movie justifies neither Wakanda nor Namor’s case. Both sides have their rightful sides, and of course, we humans are the only side that is wrong between the parties, as usual. This is the foundation that I mentioned above. In the future, humans and sups may meet again, but this time in a much more deadly way. In such a case, the possibility of seeing Namor and his people Talokan again is as likely as he had planned.
It was a question mark of how the story would progress after Chadwick Boseman’s death. It was clear that Wakanda Forever was going to be an emotional project, but I didn’t think they would take the cape off. As Shuri said, Black Panther is just a symbol. Like Captain America and Captain Marvel. We should not see either T’Challa or Shuri as the original owner of the costume. What matters is who wears the cape. I think the film makes an emotional choice in this regard and pays a special homage to Chadwick Boseman by saying let’s look at the name behind it, not the mask. Both at the beginning and end of the movie, they made many people like me emotional by remembering the costume owner, not the costume itself. Especially the Marvel intro, which came upon with deep silence, and was composed entirely of Chadwick Boseman, brought tears to my eyes.
To sum it up… Wakanda Forever is about a people’s war built on profound sadness, made after the death of a beautiful man who will never be forgotten. In the movie, where we had the chance to meet Namor and his people in Talokan, Shuri appears as the new Black Panther due to the circumstances. The film, which does a great job, especially in the Dora Milaje scenes, is satisfying in terms of action but loses its rhythm by getting unbalanced in the final. Although its operation, which resembles like cold war agent movie set in the heat of Africa, gives pleasure, unfortunately, the ending breaks all the magic. Despite everything, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is worth watching with its successful character designs, ambivalent plays, the fight against time, and the right emotional intensity.
Cast & Crew
director: Ryan Coogler
writers: Chris Terrio, Zack Snyder
starring: Letitia Wright, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, Winston Duke, Angela Bassett, Tenoch Huerta, Martin Freeman, Dominique Thorne, Florence Kasumba, Michaela Coel
USA | 2022 | 161 MINUTES |