5 Biggest Criticisms of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, According to Critics

By Matt Roembke Posted:
Namor, Shuri, M'Baku, Nakia, Black Panther Wakanda Forever

As Black Panther: Wakanda Forever hits theaters, fans and critics alike are pouring in their favorite and least favorite aspects of the much-anticipated MCU sequel. 

And while Marvel Studios seems to have a hit on its hands to end Phase 4, it comes with concerns and criticisms as well. 

The tragic passing of Chadwick Boseman left this movie in a virtually impossible position to deliver a sequel that simultaneously pays tribute to its fallen leader. In many ways, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever succeeds, but here are a few pitfalls the reviews have pointed out. 

A Long Record-Breaking Runtime

Black Panther fire throne room
Marvel Studios

Wakanda Forever sets a record-breaking runtime at 2 hours and 41 minutes. This surpasses the record for the longest non-Avengers Marvel Studios movie, beating out 2021's Eternals (2 hours, 36 minutes).

The emotional stakes in this movie push Ryan Coogler to take the time to allow the characters and audience to feel them. While it adds to the overall impact of the story, it does add some inherent drag. 

Is This Criticism Reasonable?

There is a give and take when tackling the emotional conflicts in Wakanda Forever. Taking the time to sit in these emotional scenes adds invaluable weight that makes an impact. An unfortunate side effect of those decisions is they can feel long. 

Rewatchability may not be as high as the quality here. 

Lackluster Action

Namor, Black Panther 2
Marvel Studios

With a movie that takes itself as seriously as Black Panther: Wakanda Forever does, the energy is almost completely reliant on the action. 

In Wakanda Forever, that energy might just get in the way of some more nuanced and creative action sequences. For a cast full of unique and exciting characters, uninspired action can lower the ceiling of how unique and exciting everyone is. 

Is This Criticism Reasonable?

There is not a full action sequence that will blow audiences away, but each one has a moment that does. These scenes will play much better in short 10-second reels on social media than in full multi-minute clips. 

The MCU Gets in the Way

Black Panther 2 Riri
Marvel Studios

While this is an emotional love letter to Chadwick Boseman, his family, and Black Panther fans, it is still an installment in the biggest movie universe of all time. 

This is the 30th entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the final feature film of Phase 4. Marvel Studios, for the most part, got out of the way of Ryan Coogler and his story. 

Unfortunately, the moments that step away from the story to build out the larger MCU stand out in a bad way. 

Is This Criticism Reasonable?

This is without a doubt the weakest aspect of this movie. 

This is a personal story of loss and grief, politics and tradition, and death and acceptance that takes steps away for quick bursts of world-building. All Marvel Studios movies do this and some blend it better than others; Wakanda Forever leans into the others. 

The CGI Crisis of 2022

Namor, Black Panther 2
Marvel Studios

It has been well documented how strained the visual effects studio has been with the recent influx of Marvel Studios products since 2021. 

Between fans adapting to expectations on Disney+ and COVID-ridden flaws in Phase 4 CGI, it has been a standard critique of the Marvel product. Black Panther is no exception to this critique with a healthy blend of tech graphics, CGI suits, and Volume shots. 

Is This Criticism Reasonable?

With these big blockbuster movies, anyone could pause at any moment and spot a tough-look CGI moment. Wakanda Forever does a better job than most at bringing engaging sets to life and impressing with high-paced action. Even if the CGI isn't always perfect, it never distracts from the movie in any meaningful way. 

Handling the Death of a King

Chadwick Boseman Mural
Marvel Studios

How this movie handles the death of Chadwick Boseman, and in turn, the death of T'Challa was always going to be under a microscope. There is no right way to deal with such a tragic situation. No matter what Coogler and his team did, there were going to be people not on board. 

This movie does not shy away from the real-life emotions and implications of death. It combats them head-on with grit, passion, and authenticity. 

Is This Criticism Reasonable?

Audiences who demand this role to be recast and bring back T'Challa will not like what they did. They never were. 

Coogler, Letitia Wright, Angela Bassett, and the entire Wakanda Forever team had a mission to honor their fallen friend and use his death as a motivation to tell a poignant and nuanced story with a beautiful message about grief. 

The way this story tackles these themes is unlike any other Marvel Studios project, and it creates unprecedented emotional tension in the MCU. 

The Future of the Black Panther Franchise

Black Panther
Marvel Studios

This movie is not without its flaws, but the main complaints seem to be subsections of bigger aspects.

The length is felt, and it can drag from time to time, but those long emotional scenes bring so much value to the characters in the story. 

The action overall was not anything to write home about, but there are key moments in every action scene that stand out. 

The visual production does not land 100% of the time, but the audio production and set/costume design will receive Oscar nominations. 

And while the plot might not be what everyone wanted, it was objectively well-thought-out and engaging. 

The future of this franchise is in good hands with the character arcs delivered in this movie. Ryan Coogler has a Speilburgian vision for Wakanda, its people, and its place in the Marvel Cinematic Universe

This movie is more great than bad and has every opportunity to build on another stellar entry of the MCU. 

- In This Article: Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
Release Date
November 11, 2022
- About The Author: Matt Roembke