Black Panther 2: Overshadowed by loss

What is lacking is a plot that will grip anyone who isn’t already deeply invested in the geopolitics of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Without one central character to follow, it roams all over the place without picking up the breakneck momentum that the best superhero blockbusters have. It pauses for long discussions about the future of Wakanda and the history of Talokan. It checks in on old characters, such as Martin Freeman and Julia Louis-Dreyfus’s CIA agents. And it spends plenty of time introducing new characters, such as a teenage Iron Man wannabe played by Dominique Thorne, and a Wakandan warrior played by Michaela Coel, the creator of the hit BBC series I May Destroy You. All four of those characters could have been edited out without much difficulty. An over-stuffed soap opera that lasts almost three hours, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever might have worked better if it had been turned into a six-part series for Disney Plus.

One issue is that, after a couple of scenes set on US soil in the first half, the world as we know it is largely forgotten. Everything leads to a battle between Wakanda and Talokan – and as both countries are invented, and both seem like wonderful places to be, it’s hard to root for a victory on either side. You can sit back and admire the tremendous craftsmanship involved, but don’t expect to be drawn into the story. The hole left by Boseman hasn’t quite been filled.

★★★☆☆

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is on general release from 11 November.

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