Two weeks ago I watched Black Panther: Wakanda Forever for the first time and like four years ago with Black Panther, I was overcome with emotion by the power of seeing so many beautiful, smart, and powerful POC on the big screen. This time, the movie was laced with a new emotion though, grief. Grief and vengeance are at the heart of this movie in a way that could’ve easily felt overwhelming or mishandled. Instead, what transpires is a superhero epic that at times feels grander than most superhero movies.
Every action scene feels a little longer and a bit more visceral, especially compared to Black Panther. Every section of dialogue feels important and interesting, And the music in this superhero film is the best I’ve heard in any superhero movie ever. It’s astoundingly good.
At this time of year, the holidays bring so much joy; decorating the interior/exterior of your home, seeing the beautiful decorations around town and in the neighborhoods, listening to or singing Christmas songs, enjoying holiday-inspired beverages at Starbucks…you know, the memorable stuff. One of my personal favorite perks of this time of year is watching Christmas movies.
There are only a handful I make sure to watch every year: Home Alone, Die Hard, and A Christmas Story, with the latter being my favorite of them all. (I’ve now added Hawkeye as a fun yearly rewatch thanks to its Christmas theme.) And only recently, I’ve learned that A Christmas Story literally has a sequel on HBO Max right now and to my great surprise, it wasn’t bad.
The MCU has a lot of characters. I’m talking a lot, a lot. Heroes perish and ten or more new characters appear to fill the void they’ve left behind. But there are those characters whose grandeur surpasses the crowd surrounding them. There are some apparent standouts regarding new characters who made their debut in Phase 4; Shang-Chi, Sylvie, Eternals Thena and Makkari, Yelena Belova, and Moon Knight. And then there’s Namor.
Yesterday I shared my updated MCU ranking with Black Panther: Wakanda Forever becoming my second favorite movie in the entire franchise! I never thought I’d see the day when I would enjoy a film more than Captain America: The Winter Soldier but the impact this movie had and is still having on me is truly special.
The heart of this film is a story about grief but in the midst of all that grief is a wealth of fascinating characters whose stories impact the movie in exciting ways. And while Shuri is the lead character I’m finding myself drawn to the antagonist of the film in the same way that happened when I watched Black Panther four years ago.
In Black Panther, we were introduced to Erik Killmonger, a one-off villain whose impact was so special I refused to believe he had died. Michael B. Jordan took the character to incredible heights with the screentime that he had, becoming my favorite character in the movie and the best villain in the MCU…until Thanos arrived a few months later in Infinity War.
Well, Ryan Coogler has done it again by creating another well-rounded, three-dimensional antagonist in Namor.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever was one of a kind. An emotionally charged sequel with the very real possibility of being underwhelming. Instead, it exceeded all expectations, becoming not just a profound tribute to one of this generation’s greatest actors, Chadwick Boseman, but becoming yet another powerful addition to the MCU.
Because it was so good I felt I could no longer wait to share where I rank this film in the MCU so here we are. Enjoy!
39. The Incredible Hulk
Who knew that this movie would now be one of the most important early films in the MCU? I’ve got to watch it again so I know who The Leader is by the time of Captain America: New World Order.
Thor has its moments but overall it’s pretty subpar.
Four years ago when Black Panther entered theaters I remember being overwhelmed by how powerful it was. To see so many beautiful, intelligent, inspiring Black people on the big screen in a fashion that was 100% empowering was something I truly had never seen before.
It’s been four years since I’ve felt the power of this side of the MCU and Ryan Coogler did NOT disappoint with this sequel. He understands that sequels always have to up the ante and that means more characters, bigger action sequences, and even greater depth than what came before. He delivered that with Wakanda Forever, a film that never settles for being anything other than an emotional, ultra-serious story.
When Enola Holmes came out two years ago I was expecting to be bored and maybe even annoyed with the new take on the iconic Holmes story. Instead, I was swept along for the ride, becoming entirely invested in Sherlock’s little sister, played by Millie Bobby Brown.
Just this past weekend, the film’s sequel, aptly titled Enola Holmes 2 came out and I am happy to say it was very entertaining.