Black Panther: Wakanda Forever Review: 7 Ups & 3 Downs


3. The Bloated Runtime & Overstuffed Storytelling

Black Panther Wakanda Forever Shuri
Marvel Studios

With an epic 161-minute runtime, Wakanda Forever is one of the longest MCU movies to date, and while that extended runtime allows director Coogler to let the big emotional scenes breathe, it ultimately also lends far too much latitude to an overstuffed canvas of subplots and characters.

Given that the film's two major storylines - Wakanda grieving T'Challa's death and the emergence of Namor (Tenoch Huerta) - provide more than enough dramatic juice for a superhero sequel, it's rather baffling that Coogler and co-writer Joe Robert Cole decided to bloat it out with so much "added value."

The two most egregious offenders are a subplot involving Everett Ross (Martin Freeman) and the rather unnecessary inclusion of Riri Williams aka Ironheart (Dominique Thorne) - though more on the latter later.

Overall there's just a lack of propulsiveness to the film's pacing, especially in the saggy second act, which suggests that Coogler desperately needed to take another pass in the editing room and cut those leaden scenes that don't enhance the two central storylines.

Simply, there's a lot here that feels like cutting room floor material, ensuring Wakanda Forever's runtime gets unwieldy to the point that it undermines one's enthusiasm to revisit it anytime soon.


Stay at home dad who spends as much time teaching his kids the merits of Martin Scorsese as possible (against the missus' wishes). General video game, TV and film nut. Occasional sports fan. Full time loon.