By dint of lengthening the “phases” of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) the value thickness of the films produced in the various “phases” is drastically reduced each time. Years ago in the Cineforum magazine the critic Pier Maria Bocchi wrote that in Le Fate ignoranti Stefano Accorsi had the thickness of “a flatbread”. Now, mutatis mutandis, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever by Ryan Coogler has the expressive thickness of a smartphone microchip. The infinitely multiplied commercial ideology of the event is the only raft to which a hyper-modern, banal and dull tale, like Coogler’s film, can cling. Among other things, before we forget, years ago it was said that digital with the MCU would have made great strides. Well, what’s that comedian doing? “But where”? “But when”? Wakanda forever after all, it offers an embarrassing one-room lavatory lighting that not even the Sky City in Flash Gordon by Mike Hodges (but at least there was the idea of pressing on kitsch). A so blatantly poor photography, so artificially flat that the three-dimensionality of the spaces and depth of field (dopey) seem like a memory even for the B-series western backdrops. It would be enough to dwell on the embarrassing shot repeated several times (spoiler alert…) of the death of Queen Ramonda (Angela Bassett) . A kind of photographic junk with the protagonist resurfacing with a flap of her back (the hump?) in a solarium pool with glass windows like a mountain chalet. Pathos… who? Ethos? But please. The logos would be missing. Indeed it is missing.
Filed with a funeral, inevitably, the physical presence of King T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman is died very young of cancer in reality), with half of Wakanda looking for the “heart-shaped herb” that will create a new unbeatable black panther, some clones of Avatar also appear. When the young heir to the throne Shuri (Letitia Wright) is in the United States and is accompanying Riri (Dominque Thorne), a very young scientist in Wakanda, some very powerful bluish warriors emerge from the water onto a bridge who speak like the Mayans of Apocalypto, they massacre the cops and after an unequal physical confrontation they kidnap the two girls. Now, anyone who saw Avatar in 2009 or even just before Wakanda Forever began has seen the trailer for Avatar: The Way of Water which will be released in December 2022, jumps in the chair. But what are James Cameron’s Na’vi doing in Ryan Coogler’s film? Is there any partnership between the two franchises? Not at all. At the MCU you do what you want, so everything is “beautiful” and “original” a priori. Including the transformation of Namur, king of the underwater kingdom of Talocan, the one made up of bluish men à la Avatar, from a kind of beefy Aquaman as in the original comics to a poor grim Mexican orphan oppressed by the bad colonialists of a century ago now however, thanks to the magic mother’s ancestral grown up with Hulk-like pectorals, wings on his feet, superhuman strength and record apnea.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever it doesn’t go much further than this long similar prologue (explaining is human, spilling is diabolical) because it immediately gets wrapped up in the trigger of the reasons for the conflict. At each dramaturgy course they explain that for this crucial step in the construction of the text you need to be clear, precise, dry, then maybe something is added. Coogler and screenwriter Joe Robert Coole, on the other hand, do the opposite: they immediately superimpose layers of subplots (the return to service of Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o); the casus belli with a shot that triggers it is not clear why the wrath of Namur ; the “siaiei” (CIA) that appears and disappears, etc…), outline the political subtext (mercy, please, stop talking about postcolonialism through Black Panther, mercy), gender (the lesbian warrior couple, sic), even the cultural one (tribal ancestry against modernist technology) to tell us what? Basically nothing significant. Better a good fight to distract us a bit. And here we hit bottom. Liven up land and war esplanades afterwards The Lord of the Rings by Peter Jackson and the Eternals MCU ending itself is frankly complex. But rest assured that in Wakanda Forever the effort to stay very far away was also minimal. So much so that the showdown (sorry, but here, behind the scenes, we prefer the effectiveness of Spencer & Hill’s blows in a party hall) takes place on an improbable Wakanda seagoing ship where men and women warriors entrench themselves like real chickens skewered by the strong blue men of Namur who rise from the abyss. After all, the expedient to defeat the vengeful villain had come out of nowhere like a hyperbolic “gosh” à la Robin by the duo Shuri and Riri. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever it also closes with a kind of sol of the future between peoples (exploited? in short), but the amiably consumerist narrative chaos remains and shines on how we have fallen to the bottom after tons of Marvel at the cinema.
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Black Panther: Wakanda Forever has the expressive depth of a smartphone microchip – Il Fatto Quotidiano
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