The sequel to Black Panther is another great action movie, but it’s not much more than that. In fact, thanks in part to the righteous, overbearing virtue signaling that goes on in this movie, and thanks to the fact that this is apparently the movie that’s going to lead the MCU into Phase 5, regarding this movie as a great action movie is about all that needs to be done. But that’s not where things are going to stop. That much is clear since, much like the first movie, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is already being hailed as a ‘cultural’ movie when in truth, this feels like a serious attempt to cash in on the passing of Chadwick Boseman, as many other critics have already stated. Supporters of the movie and the heads of the MCU might not want to hear this or put much stock in it, but the truth is that by celebrating what the man did, it’s very easy to respect the movie, but looking at how things have been moving, it’s become more of a cash grab than anything.
It’s a good action movie, that can’t be taken away.
There’s nothing that can be said that will make anyone feel that the action in this movie wasn’t worth watching, but trying to push the praise beyond that point becomes a personal matter since each person that’s seen the movie thus far has something different to say. Those who want to jump on the bandwagon and claim that the movie was phenomenal in every way to avoid being ostracized will no doubt talk about the cultural impact and anything else that they can in order to stay in favor of those that think the same. But the truth is that the action scenes in this movie were fun to watch, but the exposition felt rather heavy-handed. It’s an action movie that was meant to keep the Black Panther name moving forward, and it did that.
Celebrating cultural diversity and inclusion is great, but doing it at the expense of others is where things get troubling.
It’s not just the fact that Wakandan and Talokan were propped up as the most important locations in the movie. That was to be expected, given that these are the two main locations where the movie took place. But the term ‘colonizer,’ while not particularly offensive, stands out as a double standard that some might see as humorous, which is fair, but others would see as a sign that Ryan Coogler’s sense of humor is kind of ironic. Not only that, but the fact that this movie makes it clear that Wakanda can move within one nation after another when seeking stolen vibranium or even a rumor of it, and can abduct Americans when they simply feel the need, is kind of troubling. Even for a Marvel movie, that’s setting a rather dangerous double standard. In summary, if anyone enters Wakanda unannounced, it’s war, but if the Wakandans want, they can go wherever they like in the world and cause trouble. I get it. This is a movie, but the realism, or lack thereof, kind of spoils the effect.
There are double standards in this movie, that need to be admitted.
Seriously, a lot of MCU movies have dealt with double standards since the franchise started, but trying to push forward and eliminate this issue has been discussed and debated quite often throughout the past decade. But, like it or not, this movie brings that roaring back with only a couple of elements that make it obvious that what came before is okay to fall back on when it suits the needs of those who are using the double standards. Hey, it happens, and it’s bound to keep happening, no doubt, so long as people are able to keep voicing their opinions. Enjoying the action and the story in this movie isn’t difficult, but once a person turns on their brain to really dig into the story, it becomes a little too obvious that things have changed in a way that a lot of fans will accept simply because they don’t the MCU to fail. It’s kind of amazing to realize how much people will put up with when the only choices are to go with the flow or stand against the mob and be ostracized.
If there’s a third movie, it might need a time jump to balance things out.
The ending of this movie was, to some folks, insanely emotional and one more moment that has touched a lot of people on a very emotional level. So Nakia and T’Challa had a son in secret and kept him a secret. Okay, that’s cool, and Shuri letting go of her mother and her brother to move forward is a positive note. But hopefully, if there’s a third Black Panther, things will even out, and the ‘girl power’ era will find a way to be integrated into the MCU in a balanced manner that can elevate the ladies without making it come at the expense of the men. An equal playing ground would be a position of strength for the MCU, whether people want to admit it or not.
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