Unpopular opinion, Spoilery Review of Wakanda Forever
Welcome back to the procrastination blog. The place were all creators can come and waste time instead of working on their current works in progress. I just got back from vacation and now it is the Holiday Season and the push of progress I had planned for the last two months of the year have pretty much gone by the way side. Book 2 is moving but very slow, and I have not had time to start on the audio book yet. We have, however, done some brain storming on the new cover for book one and book two, so that is something.
Now, on to the review. I have found, that my opinion of late is not very popular with the usual group of rabble rousers I run with and follow on social media. I enjoyed Andor quite a lot and don't agree that it "doesn't feel like Star Wars." It isn't an epic story, but it is a tale about the forming of the rebellion and what that looked like among the common folks, not just in the senate or surviving Jedi. This, apparently, is a very unpopular opinion, since according to social media, I should hate Andor and be giving up on Disney Star Wars.
I also, liked Hawkeye, Miss Marvel, Loki, Falcon and Winter Soldier, and Dr Strange. According to the same group of Youtubers and bloggers I have to hate these offerings as well. I didn't and I am looking forward to the upcoming slate of both Marvel and Star Wars content. These social media icons will yell and scream about how they are done with Disney Star Wars and Marvel, but I can guarantee that they will all have videos up about everything that Disney brings out. Why, because it's how they make their money, and in modern times, hate seems to be better click bate than allowing yourself to actually like something.
This post started out as a review of Wakanda Forever, but I feel like I have gone off on a tangent. It is, however, a rabbit hole I feel I need to go down. All of us that grew up enthralled by comic books need to realize something. These movies are not, nor will they ever be, direct telling's of the stories we read as kids. It seems to me, that this is what we want. We want to see beat for beat the stories told on the big screen. Well, I hate to tell you this, but it isn't going to happen. You are never going to get that, not from Marvel, DC or Disney. If this is what you want. just move on to something else. Yes, I do feel that they could do better, but I give them credit when they do.
So, on to Wakanda Forever, Yes I liked the movie. Was it as good as the earlier films, no. It is, however, not as bad as Thor the Dark World, Thor Love and Thunder or Iron Man 2. This movie runs somewhere in the middle. It is, simply just a decent film. Not a good film or a bad one, but a watchable one. I think one of the problems that people have is that we have come to expect excellence from Disney, especially with the cost of movies these days, and since End Game little of what we have been given has been excellent. Most of it has been passable, like Wakanda Forever.
Yes, this film is political, but not as in your face preachy as I expected. All white men are at sometime in the film referred to as "colonizers", and every major character other than Namor, Everett Ross and M'Baku are women. So, with this film, Marvel and Disney are doubling down on the M-She U, even though they have openly said they hate this moniker. If you are one of those people who dislike this direction and can't get passed it, then you will most likely not like this film. Yes, just like in the comics, the majority of new characters that will be introduced in the next phase are going to be female. Disney and marvel are not going to let the virtue signaling go no mater how much we complain.
Ok, on to the movie itself. I like the story. It is not great, but it isn't bad either. They really missed a good opportunity to handle the death of Chadwick Boseman in a better way. Tachalla dies off screen from some random disease that Suri can't cure. He should have died fighting a villain in the opening act, but the writers opted for a lazy off screen death. This was a missed opportunity that really hurt the film. I feel that this change to the story would have elevated this film into the realm of a good film. It would have given us a satisfying ending for a beloved character and still could be used as fuel for Suri's rage and feelings of failure.
For those of us who read the comics, Namor and his underwater city are completely different from the comics. They are altered humans who have been changed by the same kind of plant that gives the Black Panthers their power. This, of course, is how Suri is able to reproduce the black herb in Wakanda and give herself the powers of the Black Panther. I did see this coming a mile away, since they spent half of the movie letting us know she couldn't do it on her own. So, moving on, Namor refers to himself as a mutant who is able to breath both air and water and to fly. He was born underwater and not altered like his mother and her people.
Namor and his underwater kingdom are actually quite fascinating and I like what they did. No, it isn't the same as the comics, but I feel that this origin is actually better and deeper than the comic version. In the comics, they are simply Atlanteans who have always lived under the sea. It is, however, a political move to add more "diversity" to the MCU by making the Atlanteans native South Americans. Other than Namor they are all still blue. Though I feel like the effects artists had brain farts a few times and they were sometimes normal colored instead of blue. This is unfortunately, something that has been happening a lot lately with Disney. Their special effects crews seem to be tired and over worked and mistakes have been getting through often. This really is unacceptable given that we are dealing with a multimillion dollar summer block buster.
All in all, Namor and his underwater city are beautiful and fascinating and they are fighting because they want to protect themselves from the surface world. The USA has a new Vibranium detector built by a young black women who is in college. Since all of the governments of the world are now unsuccessfully attacking Wakanda in order to steal their Vibranium, being able to find a new source is priceless. The new source they found is in the deep ocean, and of course, in Namor's nation. Namor wants to ally himself with Wakanda against the rest of the world. Wakanda refuses, so Namor gives them an ultimatum. Destruction or cooperation.
He tasks them with kidnapping the young black women Riri Williams so he can kill her thus preventing her from producing anymore Vibranium detector. They do, and we are introduced to the most pointless character in the movie as well as in Marvel Comics. A character that was created to be a virtue signal for marvel to say, "hey look at us. We are diverse." She is just as pointless in this movie as she was in the comics, but I did enjoy the performance of Dominique Thorne who made this useless character likeable. Very much like Iman Vellani did for Kamala Kahn.
The story unfolds pretty predictably with Suri going to the underwater city to meet Namor and to try to change his mind on killing the girl. She nearly falls in love with him and his people, but in the end decides she is going to protect Riri, which of course leads to dire consequences for Wakanda. War, death and destruction reign, until Suri manages to duplicate the Black Panther serum. She needs the Black Panther to fight the powerful Namor. They fight, she wins but choses not to kill him and they come to an agreement to stand together against the rest of the world. Honestly all of the action could have been avoided if Namor, Queen Romanda and Suri had just managed to get their heads out of their respective butts and simply talked this out better. Pride does cometh before a fall and this is the major problem with all of these characters.
I don't want to give the entire story away, but I did love what they did with Suri. She becomes the Black Panther for a completely different reason than her brother and what happens in the spirit world with her, I felt was fascinating and a very good choice. She is filled with rage, hatred and a lust for vengeance and it is coloring every action she makes. But, is this angry Suri the right choice to rule Wakanda or should she be more like her brother. Does Wakanda need a hero or a violent protector? Suri's story arc was what made me like this film. That and Namor, even if he isn't the same character from the comics. I actually hated Namor in the comics, so for me, this was a good change.
Overall, Wakanda forever is not a great movie, but neither is it a bad one. It is political and a doubling down on the social justice direction that killed the comics. No, I don't love this, but I can overlook this if the story is good enough. Thanks to some decent story choices and quite a few brilliant performances, I feel Wakanda Forever squeaks passed the line into "decent" territory. I was able to like this film, though I didn't love it. It is not the best Marvel movie and it is still a bit disappointing as most of the Marvel films and shows have been in Phase 4. They made some bad story choices and some good ones, but in the end, this is just a mediocre movie and not a great one. Honestly, I think it is a decent watch, but I could have easily have waited for it to be on Disney +.