Wakanda forever or Wakanda for now?

Sasha Efimchik, Staff Reporter

photo by Sasha Efimchik

A princess who needs to find her place in the world after her beloved brother died. A prodigy college student whose invention can find the most powerful resource in the world. A leader who would do anything to protect his people. These are the main characters of the captivating new movie “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever”, released November 11. 

I liked the first “Black Panther” movie; the plot was easy to follow, the violence wasn’t overwhelming, and it evoked just enough emotions to keep me engaged. I had a good time watching the sequel, “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever”, though it falls short of the original. This article may contain spoilers. 


Plot Summary. Set in the fictional country of Wakanda, the plot of the sequel centers on the unwilling collaboration between Wakanda and a mysterious underwater nation. This nation threatens Wakanda to destroy the scientist who developed a device for locating vibranium, a powerful energy source that is currently only in the hands of Wakanda and this underwater nation. In the course of events in the film, the unlikely collaboration ends up pitting the two nations and their ambitions against one another.


Slow and Drawn Out. If the plot sounds exciting right off the bat, it’s misleading. The movie takes its time to get to the action; the dramatic emotional scenes, while well-done, seemed unnecessarily prolonged. For instance, in one of the very first scenes of the movie, Shuri, the princess of Wakanda, and her mother, the queen of Wakanda, have a lengthy heart-to-heart about their grief over losing T’Challa, Shuri’s brother and the original Black Panther. Set at the beginning of a two hour and 40 minute movie, the scene is slow and depressing, while the audience is not yet primed for it. While the grief scenes made sense for the plot, their execution could’ve been tightened.


Short on Humor. Humor is another aspect of the film where it fell short. I really enjoyed all of the scenes with Ross, the witty CIA agent acting as a spy for Wakanda. His character brings a bit of humor to the dialogue. One of the funniest moments of the film was a scene where Riri Williams, the young American scientist with a target on her back, meets Shuri and Okoye, her faithful general, for the first time. Riri as a character is awesome; her personality contrasts really well with everyone around her, which creates a more relaxed atmosphere for the movie.


Visuals. Something in “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” that was just as well done as in the first movie was the visuals. The filming of the landscapes was beautiful. The director made very good choices with filming locations for the movie. And it wasn’t just the actors’ surroundings: the camera angles really added to the general look and feel of the story. In one scene, Namor, the leader of the underwater nation, finds out that Riri was saved by the Wakandans. He makes a dramatic speech to his people, riling them up to destroy Wakanda. Right before the speech, as he makes his way to the podium, there is a really beautiful shot of Namor appearing in front of the artificial sun that he created for his underwater people. That scene had me holding my breath in suspense and was executed very well.

Marvel Entertainment / Youtube

Plot Holes. There were a few plot holes that made the movie hard to understand. The plot holes didn’t ruin the movie but it would have benefited from more clarity. There were many but this one brought up the most questions.

Why did the underwater nation want to take over the “land people”? They can’t be on land for longer than a few hours, and even then, only if they wear their special sea-water masks. And the “land people” weren’t trying to take over their underwater kingdom. So what’s their motivation? The threat of the “land people” exterminating the underwater nation doesn’t seem like a plausible explanation, given that no one is even aware of the existence of the underwater nation at the beginning of the movie. 

Overall, I did enjoy “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever”. The plot was reasonably engaging, the cinematography was well done, and the jokes, few of them as there were, flowed easily. But I wasn’t “wowed,” as I was with my favorite movie of all time, “Knives Out” which was released in 2019 and directed by Rian Johnson. I would rate “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” a 7/10. The movie was great, just a little too long with not enough jokes.