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‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’ Review | A Deeply Cinematic Journey and Tribute to a King

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“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” is breathtaking and emotionally powerful as it showcases a grieving Nation on the cusp of war after heartbreakingly losing its king. It’s a beautiful story about overcoming grief and what it does to the Community and the people you love. It perfectly honours Chadwick Boseman’s legacy.

In Marvel Studios’ “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” Queen Ramonda (Angela Bassett), Shuri (Letitia Wright), M’Baku (Winston Duke), Okoye (Danai Gurira) and the Dora Milaje (including Florence Kasumba) fight to protect their nation from intervening world powers in the wake of King T’Challa’s death. As the Wakandans strive to embrace their next chapter, the heroes must band together with the help of War Dog Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o) and Everett Ross (Martin Freeman) and forge a new path for the kingdom of Wakanda. Introducing Tenoch Huerta as Namor, king of a hidden undersea nation, the film also stars Dominique Thorne, Michaela Coel, Mabel Cadena and Alex Livanalli.

©Marvel

Review

A Grieving Nation

Writer-director Ryan Coogler has crafted an immense emotional sequel, led by a phenomenal ensemble of women. These influential women of Wakanda are front and centre throughout and each brings to the screen such empowering performances as they are dealing with great change Coogler beautifully and powerfully depicts how each character deals with grief, revenge, and how it can all consume you. Bassett is heartbroken and hopeful in the role of Queen Ramonda, she delivers a stoic, commanding performance as she takes the throne until T’Challa’s replacement is named. With a tense and emotional opening, you get the sense that Shuri feels responsible for her brother’s death, she has these conflicting emotions that truly balance the movie, and there wasn’t a dry eye throughout as a funeral procession takes place, showcasing a celebration of what T’Challa brought to the nation. Wright showcases how Shuri processes her pain as she uses work and technology for distraction and her emotional, gripping performance carries Shuri through the grieving process as Coogler does it again by exploring the war that wages inside of you as self-reflection follows and serves as a reminder.

©Marvel

“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” truly emphasises the importance of Community and the role they play in helping someone deal with grief as well as dealing with their sorrow. Throughout, T’Challa’s peers step into a comforting, reassurance sibling role for Shuri, and the entire cast indeed rises above. Danai Gurira’s Okoye is willing to put her career at risk to aid Shuri’s grief, especially in one sequence where she brings such emotion during an exchange with Ramonda. Winston Duke’s M’Baku enters munching away on a vegetable and provides a performance capturing how T’Challa’s influence visibly changed the Jabari Tribe and its leader. He provides Shuri with such sensitivity in his counsel.

However it is T’Challa’s love, Nakia played by Lupita Nyong’o who offers her support to Shuri throughout the personal parts of her journey . Nyong’o provides such tenderness and has some memorable moments in the latter half of the movie. Her mother and T’Challa’s friends are there to remind Shuri that life goes on, though Shuri isn’t ready to accept that.

The other new addition to “Wakanda Forever” is Dominique Thorne’s Riri Williams who is fiery and personality is infectious. Her appearance and introduction into the MCU sets the stage for her own Disney+ series “Ironheart” Martin Freeman’s Everett Ross is intertwined with this political subplot as he brings such comedic and fun energy as he attempts to aid the Wakandans. Award-winning TV star/comedian Michaela Coel joins the cast as another fierce and funny member of the Dora Milaje.

©Marvel

¡Líik’ik Talokan!

The Power left by T’Challa’s death incites a challenge to Wakanda from the outside world. The outreach program from the end of the first film remains however there’s immense political pressure for Wakanda to submit and obey regulations. The United Nations’ demand for Wakanda to relinquish control of its resources sets up themes of colonialism. With Killmonger having destroyed the Heart-shaped Herb that granted T’Challa superhuman abilities, there’s no new Black panther to protect its nation.

When the United States discovers the film McGuffin at the bottom of the ocean, Wakanda finds itself in conflict with the underwater kingdom of Talokan and its ruler, Namor. Talokan is heavily inspired by real Mesoamerican culture, regalia, and Jewellery, and features Maya-styled murals. Namor’s people who speak Yucatec Maya, call him the “feathered serpent god” or K’uk’ulkan. Their open-palmed hand gesture and Talokan salute “¡Líik’ik Talokan!” are inspired by similar gestures found in Maya codices. Tenoch Huerta Mejía’s performance as the engaging antagonist makes him a force to be reckoned with, his dialogue scenes with Shuri are intense though the two share much in common as important members of their monarchies’ royal families. Coogler and co-writer Joe Robert Cole showcase how far Namor goes to protect his people’s homes, Talokan is another fascinating aspect and society that Marvel could do a deeper exploration of. 

©Marvel

Mabel Cadena and Alex Livinalli are incredible as Namora and Attuma, both characters act as a reminder to Namor that the surface people can’t be trusted. These two also feature heavily in the incredible action sequences whether that’s on dry land or underwater, one is especially breathtaking visually on a bridge. The underwater sequences in RealD3D were outstanding. Oscar-winning costume designer Ruth Carter and composer Ludwig Göransson do a phenomenal job of adding Mayan-inspired costumes and music to the proceedings.

Throughout “Wakanda Forever” the biggest thrills come from watching the two nations clash. The Women of the Dora Milaje are fierce warriors crossing the spears with the gilled warriors of Talokan whose battle gear resembles deadly marine life. They fight and battle across land, sea, and air, and the action ranges from intense car chases, daring escapes, and three-on-one brawls all punctuated by water grenades that essentially cause tidal waves.

©Marvel

Final Thoughts

T’Challa & Chadwick Boseman’s death weighs heavy on Wakanda Forever, with the grieving nation struggling to replace both their monarch and their champion. It’s an emotionally powerful, gripping farewell & perfectly honours his legacy! With powerful Oscar-worthy performances and direction, shows how much love Coogler and the cast have poured into the making of this movie which is no doubt the best of Phase 4. I’m truly lost for words.

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Comic Book Movies

Madame Web Review

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Celeste O'Connor, Dakota Johnson, Isabela Merced & Sydney Sweeney (Sony)

Be ready to get caught in the web of Cassandra, our very own Madame Web. Swing by your local cinemas now to catch Madame Web on the big screen!

Plot

Cassandra Webb is a New York City paramedic who starts to show signs of clairvoyance. Forced to confront revelations about her past, she must protect three young women from a mysterious adversary who wants them dead.

Isabela Merced, Dakota Johnson, Sydney Sweeney, Celeste O’Connor (Sony)

Movie Review (no spoiler)

Madame Web, the fourth entry in the Sony’s Spider-Man Universe brings us a different take on a complete new group of heroes in the heart of New York. I need to caution the readers that when going to watch the movie, keep an open mind. This movie is about Madame Web and her role as a protector to three young women who will play a much greater role in future…hopefully. If you are expecting Peter Parker / Spider-Man to swing in and catch a crook, you will sadly be disappointed.

I firmly welcome the new take on the Spider-Women within Marvel. Since Across the Spider-Verse I have pondered the question on whether we will get a chance to see any of the Spider-Women on the big screen and also the ‘How?’. I have always seen Cassandra Webb / Madame Web play a motherlike and protector role. I personally think Dakota Johnson played her part excellently well in that sense.

Sydney Sweeney, Isabela Merced and Celeste O’Connor plays the parts of Julia Cornwall, Anya Corazon and Mattie Franklin and delivers a breath of fresh air. They are teased to play big roles in the future, according to the villain in the movie. The new villain of the movie, played by Tahar Rahim, provides a thrilling experience at first but gets taken down too easily at the end.

Tahar Rahim as Ezekiel Sims (Sony)

Madame Web provided a good introduction to a new character, which is Madame Web, but sadly doesn’t provide any promise of continuity and linkages with any of the existing movies within the current universe. A few easter eggs in the movie point to another beloved Marvel character, but I would have loved to experience more of Cassie’s web and the chance of a teaser for the other heroines of the movie since there are still so much stories left to tell. There is unfortunately no post-credits scene, which was a let down, considering Madame Web is part of the Sony Spider-Man Universe and continuity is what many are hopeful for. I’m curious if we get to see continuity later in the form of a sequel or even a cameo of Cassie, Julia, Mattie and / or Anya in any other production.

I rate this movie 3 out of 5.

The trailer doesn’t spoil too much of the storyline. Make sure to catch at a big screen near you.

Madame Web Official Trailer (Sony Pictures Entertainment)

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Comic Book Movies

Arachne: Character Profile

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Julia Carpenter née Cornwall (Marvel)

Fugitive, protector, and eventually an Avenger! Many aliases, many adventures. Here follows the background of Julia Carpenter née Cornwall.

Origin of Arachne

Julia, born and raised in Los Angeles, met the love of her life, Larry Carpenter while attending college. They have a daughter together, Rachel Carpenter, but sadly separated due to Larry being unfaithful. To ensure Julia could take care of her daughter she joined a secret covert project where the main objective was to create super-agents. She becomes the guinea pig for a series of experiments which prove to be quite successful.

Abilities

She had super strength, could cling to walls and even generate energy webs! She is given a cool costume, and even though she wants her codename to be Arachne, the Commission on Superhuman Activities decide her new name will be Spider-Woman. She can lift over ten tons and her psychic webs is powerful enough to stop a car at high speed. She eventually inherits Cassandra Webb’s / Madame Web’s powers, which enables her to see into the future and astral project.

Friends and Foes caught in Julia’s web

Julia faced off against the might Doctor Doom alongside the Avengers, the Fantastic Four and the X-Men. As a member of the Government’s Freedom Force, she was forced to arrest both mutants and the Avengers, which made her feel uneasy. She became a fugitive when she helped the Avengers escape. The Avengers would soon be exonerated, but Julia remained on the fugitive’s list. She eventually gave herself up and accepted a deal to work with the government again. She joined up with Spider-Man to face off against the Wrecking Crew and her support to the Avengers made her an active member on the roster of the Avengers, and this even sparked a romance with one of the team members (which I will not share, but allow you as the reader to find).

Julia had to balance her time between being a hero and a mother to Rachel. Another Spider-Woman, Charlotte Witter came on the scene and stole Julia’s powers, crippling her in the process. Joining forces with Jessica Drew, Mattie Franklin and Cassandra Webb allowed them to defeat Charlotte, but it didn’t help to restore her powers. A secret formula helped Julia recover her powers, but her problems was far from over.

Julia Carpenter née Cornwall as Spider-Woman (Marvel)

Using her secret codename, Arachne helped to avoid confusion with all of the Spider-Women, but the new Superhuman Registration Act forced superpowered individuals to register with the government, thus exposing themselves in the process. The Avengers was in full support of the new legislation, and Julia was soon recruited to help the Avengers capture unregistered heroes, however, she helped unregistered heroes avoid capture, and became a fugitive again. She was eventually arrested by Carol Danvers and Wonder Man. A pardon was offered, and she was required to join up with Omega Flight, a Canadian Government superhero team.

A dangerous plot by the Kravinoff family resulted not only in the death of Cassandra / Madame Web, but Madame Web’s psychic powers transferred to Julia, making her clairvoyant and able to astral project herself. This enabled her to see into the future and another hero at a later stage. Can you guess who?

The above stories about Julia Carpenter née Cornwall / Arachne have been shortened and enough detail has been left out to leave you hungry for more. I highly encourage subscribing to Marvel Unlimited to read up about Arachne or any of your favorite Marvel characters.

Madame Web Movie Coming Soon!

In a switch from the typical genre, Madame Web tells the standalone origin story of one of Marvel publishing’s most enigmatic heroines. The suspense-driven thriller stars Dakota Johnson as Cassandra Webb, a paramedic in Manhattan who develops the power to see the future… and realizes she can use that insight to change it. Forced to confront revelations about her past, she forges a relationship with three young women bound for powerful destinies…if they can all survive a deadly present.

Genre: Action / Sci-Fi / Superhero

Release Date: 14 February 2024

Directors: SJ Clarkson

Based on: Marvel Comics

Cast: Dakota Johnson, Sydney Sweeney, Celeste O’Connor, Isabela Merced, Tahar Rahim, Mike Epps, Emma Roberts & Adam Scott

Madame Web Movie Poster (Sony Pictures Entertainment)

Sydney Sweeney plays the role of Julia Cornwall in Madame Web.

Watch Madame Web on the big screen on 14 February 2024.

Madame Web Official Trailer (Sony Pictures Entertainment)

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Comic Book Movies

Madame Web: Character Profile

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Cassandra Webb / Madame Web (Marvel)

Paramedic, Psychic, Heroic! Meet Madame Web before getting caught in her web this month.

Abilities

Cassandra Webb is born in Salem, Oregon, and struggling with both sight and a serious neurological condition known as myasthenia gravis. She discovers she has psychic powers. She masters abilities such as clairvoyance, which is the ability to see things in the future; prescience, the ability to predict things; and telepathy. Through the use of astral projection she can appear to others. At one stage she is even connected to a spider web-like supportive system, but will allow you, the reader to find out more about it in the comics.

Friends and Foes

Madame Web’s web of allies include none other than Peter Parker / Spider-Man as well as many variations of Spider-Women such as Julia Carpenter and Mattie Franklin to list a few. She often helps Spider-Man protect other people, and this brings her in the crosshairs of notorious villains such as Doctor Otto Octavius, Electro and the Kravinoff family. The Juggernaut was sent once to kidnap her and this resulted in her falling in a coma and with short-term memory loss. Fearing death, she reached out to none other than the Green Goblin to learn about an arcane ritual that could grant possible immortality. Madame Web joins up with Spider-Man to stop the Dinosaur Man from turning New York into a prehistoric paradise using a special artifact.

Prior to dying, she managed to transfer her powers to one of the Spider-Women. Can you guess who?

The above stories about Cassandra Webb / Madame Web have been shortened and enough detail has been left out to leave you hungry for more. I highly encourage subscribing to Marvel Unlimited to read up about Madame Web or any of your favorite Marvel characters.

Cassandra Webb / Madame Web (Marvel)

Madame Web Movie Coming Soon!

In a switch from the typical genre, Madame Web tells the standalone origin story of one of Marvel publishing’s most enigmatic heroines. The suspense-driven thriller stars Dakota Johnson as Cassandra Webb, a paramedic in Manhattan who develops the power to see the future… and realizes she can use that insight to change it. Forced to confront revelations about her past, she forges a relationship with three young women bound for powerful destinies…if they can all survive a deadly present.

Genre: Action / Sci-Fi / Superhero

Release Date: 14 February 2024

Directors: SJ Clarkson

Based on: Marvel Comics

Cast: Dakota Johnson, Sydney Sweeney, Celeste O’Connor, Isabela Merced, Tahar Rahim, Mike Epps, Emma Roberts & Adam Scott

Madame Web Movie Poster (Sony Pictures Entertainment)

Dakota Johnson plays the titular role in Madame Web.

Watch Madame Web on the big screen on 14 February 2024.

Madame Web Official Trailer (Sony Pictures Entertainment)

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