Black Panther: The Best of Phase Four



Marvel’s phase four was one that received quite a lot of backlash. Coming off of the historical event that Avengers: Endgame was, people’s expectations were let down as Marvel had to introduce new origin stories and in a way, softly reboot the MCU. However, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever capped off phase four in an unbelievable and breathtaking way.

You could just tell on the surface how much more energy and resources Marvel put into Wakanda Forever over the rest of their phase four projects. And this was the only way they could’ve made this movie. The decision to not recast Chadwick Boseman in the role of T’Challa after his tragic passing was one that caused a ton of controversy. So instead, this movie had to be a complete tribute to Boseman and the character of T’Challa. Marvel nailed it.

Right out of the gate, the movie puts you in your feels. The movie ends in a way where you can’t help but shed at least one tear. But Marvel did an excellent job not overdoing or undergoing the impact T’Challa’s death had on Wakanda. They made it an integral part of the plot, while not being so big that it takes away from Shuri’s character arc. 

Letitia Wright comes through with a great performance as Shuri. Shuri has to deal with so much in this movie, and you can tell what that stress does to her in Wright’s performance. She went from being an important side character to being the important main character with what appeared to be ease.

The best performance in the movie in my opinion came from Namor, the anti-hero of this film. Tenoch Huerta does an incredible job bringing not just Namor, but his entire civilization of Talocan. You can tell that he genuinely cares about bringing important aspects of Mayan culture to this new sector of Earth-616. And what is most impressive, is that he brings a side to Namor whereas the audience, you feel sympathy and understanding of the character and his world, similar to what the first Black Panther did with Erik Killmonger.

Killmonger’s arc in the first movie is eerily similar to Namor’s arc in this movie. Both antagonists are correct in their own right and just misguided. Both of their life journeys were influenced by events they witnessed as kids, which translated into their motivations being correct, but misguided. And the effects that Killmonger left after his death in the first movie are very prevalent in this movie. Wakanda has a hard time dealing with no more heart-shaped herbs and the trust of some Wakandans who easily moved to Killmonger’s side when he took the throne.

Although this movie does a lot right, there are a couple of things that could have been handled better. For one, it seemed like M’Baku’s character was extremely underutilized. Secondly, the addition of Riri Williams, or “Ironheart” seemed more like a setup for her future Disney+ show rather than playing a big part in the plot of this movie. She is a funny character with a ton of Tony Stark-esque characteristics but really doesn’t serve all that much of a purpose in the latter half of the movie.

Overall though, Wakanda Forever was Marvel’s best phase four project as it delivered both emotionally and action-wise. Ryan Coogler does a great job building off of the first installment of the franchise, and setting up a potential Black Panther 3.