Mulling Over Wakanda for Weeks and Weeks


Just before I started writing this review, over a month ago, the exceedingly nice folks at Disney—and they are quite nicegently requested that critics invited to advance screenings of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever "refrain from revealing spoilers, cameos, character developments and detailed story points in your coverage."

Admittedly, this is a bit hard to do when reviewing any film, let alone with this Panther.  In fact, I agree in principle with the studio's intentions. That's why I recommend reading just the intros and finales of write-ups of films you haven]t yet seen, especially those in The New York Times. The Times' middle paragraphs you'll quickly discover are often blessedly worth sidestepping.

Well, anyway back then, on the very day the New York Post reported that Meghan Markle was being "slammed for attempting a British accent on her podcast," I took a second to check out how other critics were dealing with the parameters set by Disney for reviewing.

Let me just note that The Washington Post's daring yet delightful Ann Hornaday did not refrain. Well, truthfully, she didn't reveal the cameo appearances so neither will I. I can, however, tell you who's not in the film: none of the Kardashians, neither Mr. T. Chalamet nor Mr. H. Styles, no Lizzo, and neither Gayle King nor Oprah. I also didn't spot a Schwarzenegger, a Morgan Freeman, a Charlie Sheen, or any of the Harlem Globe Trotters, but I did think I glimpsed Jim Parsons briefly in a crowd scene but realized later "he" was just a kernel of buttered popped corn fused to my glasses.

Ms. Hornaday also didn't mention "character development." That might be because there's only a mere smattering of the latter. No doubt all abustle to hand her critique in on time, she just understandably might've missed the transmogrifications. (Hint: Look for someone putting on a mask and another going all hue-y.)

Ah, but Hornaday did blatantly cold-shoulder the rules by supplying a plot synopsis, which you'll realize after you see Panther 2—and no doubt most of you have already taken in this sequel that has currently grossed $767.8 million worldwide. Her take, though wee, is quite thorough, but without being as convoluted as the actual screenplay.

Spoiler ahead: Wakanda has gobs and gobs of the metal vibranium, which the "colonizing" countries (e.g. the United States, France) want to control to weaponize even more than they have already. Wakanda won't have it, but suddenly blue people show up and . . . .

Did I reveal anything?

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