Early Wakanda Forever Reactions Praise the Sequel’s Emotional Depth

The entertainment industry was left in a state of shock when Chadwick Boseman’s death was announced in August 2020. News that the actor was privately battling cancer for four years hit audiences like a ton of bricks. However, Marvel also faced the dilemma of having to chart the future of its Black Panther franchise without its charismatic headliner leading the way. The success of the original film in 2018 came with its own set of pressures to deliver a sequel that was as good as (or, dare we say, better than) what came before. But fortunately, director Ryan Coogler and his collaborators seem to have another home run on their hands. Last night, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever had its world premiere in Hollywood, and critics have begun sharing their thoughts online.

Early social media reactions don’t always match up with what critics have to say in their full-length reviews. Regardless, the majority of those who attended last night’s premiere have nothing but good things to say about Marvel’s latest trip to Wakanda. Based on these first impressions, it sounds like the film’s new and returning cast members brought their A-game to the sequel, with the ensuing emotional thrill ride closing out Phase 4 on the highest of notes. Check out a few highlights below.

The sequel was always going to be a tough watch given the real-life loss of Boseman and the onscreen death of his character, T’Challa. But the filmmakers use his absence as a vehicle to explore themes like grief and perseverance. And the resulting tribute is one of the most mature MCU installments in recent memory.

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Additionally, many of the reviews single out Letitia Wright and Tenoch Huerta’s performances as Shuri and Namor, respectively. In fact, some argue that Huerta plays one of the MCU’s strongest villains to date. Other cast members like Danai Gurira (Okoye) and Angela Bassett (Queen Ramonda) shine as well. Plus, Dominique Thorne is a welcome addition to franchise as Riri Williams, who will soon appear in Marvel’s Ironheart series.

RELATED: Black Panther: Wakanda Forever Promo Reveals Origin of Namor’s Armor

Some of the movie’s technical aspects are also earning top marks. Critics are heaping praise on Oscar winner Ludwig Göransson’s score and Coogler’s direction. Naturally, the sequel features the MCU’s usual helping of VFX-heavy action scenes. But just like he did with the first film, Coogler succeeds in making the story feel personal. Many critics are lauding his ability to balance spectacle with intimacy, including Star Wars: The Last Jedi helmer Rian Johnson.

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Not everyone was thoroughly impressed by what the sequel had to offer. Although he had kind words for Shuri and Namor’s character arcs, Matt Ramos says the film isn’t quite as good as its predecessor (which is a very high bar to clear). Still, in another tweet, he suggested that Namor and his fellow Talocanians could carry their own movie at some point in the MCU’s future.

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever hits theaters next Friday, November 11.

What do you make of these early reactions to the film? Let us know in the comment section below!

Recommended Reading: Black Panther: A Nation Under Our Feet Book 1

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