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Black Panther Wakanda Forever (IMAX and/or 3D at some cinemas)


Stars: Letitia Wright, Lupita Nyong'o, Danai Gurira, Angela Bassett, Tenoch Huerta, Martin Freeman, Winston Duke, Dominique Thorne, Michaela Coel, Lake Bell, Julia-Louis Dreyfus, Riri Williams

Director: Ryan Coogler

Well, was it worth the wait? And are we referring to the emergence of a sequel to the iconic, Oscar-nominated Black Panther or the length of the sequel itself?

After the death of its king (the late Chadwick Boseman seen in flashbacks), the African super-nation Wakanda faces hostility from the United Nations over its control of vibranium, a new element 'that could be used for weapons of mass destruction' (sounds like a 'Man from UNCLE' film).

Vibranium is also coveted by an aggressive race of blue-green aquatic human-like creatures, whose underwater empire is ruled by Namor (Huerta, who had to learn to swim for the role!), also known to the natives as K'uk'ulkan' after a legendary feathered serpent (and that brings back memories of 1940s' horror movies) as he has wings on his ankles.

The king's younger sister Shuri (Wright), a science genius, is now busy in her high-tech laboratory - cue lots of vaguely dubious scientific mumbo-jumbo - but she and her mother, the Queen (Bassett) are horrified to find that the aquarians can not only penetrate Wakanda's supposedly attack-proof defences, but can use hypnotic powers to compel people to jump to their deaths from great heights.

After about 90 minutes of whispered conversations, various characters being given their introductions and a slow progression of its storyline, the film finally gets going. 'We need to find a peaceful way to resolve this,' Shuri tells the Queen. Thank goodness they don't, as this would surely have become the dullest superhero movie Marvel has yet made.

So at least there are a couple of mass pitched battles and solo duels to look forward to, although even these scenes, spectacular as they are, could perhaps have been more excitingly edited. The production design, however, is dazzling.

I may be getting a little hard of hearing, but I did have problems with much of the dialogue of the soft-spoken, African-accented Wakandan women. Cheers then for Messrs Huerta, Freeman and Duke, whose lines are crisp and clear. There is a scene after the main credits foreshadowing the continuance of the franchise (presumably to be set some years into the future).

David Quinlan

USA 2022. UK Distributor: Disney (Marvel). Colour by Company 3 .
162 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 1, Drugs 0, Swearing 1.

Review date: 10 Nov 2022