I watched Black Panther: Wakanda Forever and returned disappointed. I thought it was fine as a comic book romp but a much lesser movie than the original due entirely to not being as directly political. It has a vague something about resisting colonialism and imperialism, but it only gestures at the idea a bit and the actual central conflict is between one made-up country and another made-up country fighting over a made-up natural resource.
There’s a scene in the beginning of the movie where Wakandan soldiers fight French mercenaries trying to steal vibranium, then Wakanda captures these mercs and marches them to the UN to expose the hypocrisy of the UN Security Council classifying Wakandan hoarding of vibranium as a threat to world peace. That’s what the movie should have been about.
The conflict over vibranium was the natural consequence of what happened in the first movie and it would have been logical that it be the subject of the sequel, which is why it’s massively disappointing that it went where it did instead. We could have had metaphors about rejecting the Central African franc or throwing out Canadian mining companies but instead we got a movie about a flying Mexican guy fighting a superpowered black chick.
I didn’t hate the movie, I’m a dork for comic book shit and I actually did dig the whiz bang whale war shit, but we’ve got lots of comic book movies and zero blockbusters about pan-Africanism (besides the first Black Panther, of course). The first movie made me think, “Hey, Marvel finally learned how to overtly put politics into their movies” but its sequel makes me think, “Oh, it was just a one-off.”