Join us every week for a trip into the weird and wonderful world of trailers. Whether it’s the first teaser for the latest instalment in your favourite franchise, an obscure preview for a strange indie darling, whether it’s good, bad, ugly or just plain weird – your favourite pop culture baristas are there to tell you what they think.
The second Black Panther film, Wakanda Forever, has quite a few issues and doesn’t come together nearly as well as its predecessor. At least that was Matt’s take on the film – though it handles Chadwick Boseman’s death with respect and genuine feeling. But since MCU trailers are a dime a dozen, let’s instead lead with a trailer for Boseman’s final films, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.
I liked Black Panther a lot back when it came out. I think that as a film it’s flawed in ways that are inextricably linked with the Marvel Cinematic Universe and everything it imposes on a production, in particular in the obligatory but oddly shoddy CGI fest that is the final battle – and while I am not necessarily a big believer in the Academy Awards as a measuring stick for cinematic quality, I never bought into the argument that Black Panther should have won the Oscar for Best Picture (though, looking at the actual winner that year, I can definitely agree that Black Panther should’ve trounced that one). But I do think that Black Panther was and is important, that it still is one of the most thematically ambitious of the MCU films.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever tries its hardest to be a worthy successor to the first film – but the longer I think about it, the more I come to the conclusion that it buckles under the weight of all the various expectations it has to struggle with.
You don’t often come away from a Marvel movie thinking more about the ideas it tackles than about its snarky one-liners or its action setpieces. You don’t often read reactions to a Marvel movie that mention cultural critics, intellectuals and political thinkers. You don’t often see a Marvel movie being taken this personally by this many people, both among its supporters and its detractors. Obviously Black Panther must have done something right.