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Review Black Panther II: Wakanda Forever (2022) and Review Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (2023)

genre: superhero, comic book adaptation, action, adventure, science fiction

Full review is coming. For now, I will briefly share my thoughts.

The death of Chadwick Boseman hit the world pretty hard, especially since he had hid his illness from almost everyone but a few in his inner circle. Now Marvel was in a pickle. What to do? Replace the actor with another one and pretend he is the same character? Or have someone else replace him to take over the mantle. 

I guess out of respect for him, they did the latter. For a while the choice seemed mysterious, but at one point it became clear who it was going to be. From the little I know about Black Panther, it's not uncommon for Black Panther to be replaced. Usually someone in the same family would take over. So, it was very obvious who would be the successor. That successor however has some doubts. This person doesn't feel worthy or is still very much in mourning. In large part, the sequel deals with this journey and the final goodbye to T' Challa. Next to that, there seems to be a serious threat looming that could potentially destroy Wakanda.

The threat comes from none other than Namor, who is very similar to DC's Aquaman. But he came first. In this film he is played by, Tenoch Huerta Mej√≠a. I was worried when I found out about this. I know him from Narcos: Mexico. He was incredibly obnoxious in that one. I don't know if they had written the character that way or if he cheesed it. I simply didn't like it. But rest assured. Tenoch is very good as Namor. Is he a villain or anti-hero? In the comic books he was both. 

Another character is introduced called Riri Williams. (I had no idea that she was from the comics too, but apparently she is a genius who managed to reverse engineer one of Iron Man's armour suits. Not really sure why they chose her to debut in this film, but I had no problems with her, unlike some fans.

I thought the action and spectacle was impressive. And I was completely immersed. Even when the story could have been better. Well, worth your time, especially if like me, you're worried about the big elephant in the room. How would this film fare without T' Challa? Pretty good I should say, although that is not entirely true because T' Challa's spirit was obviously present.

Full review is coming. For now, I will briefly share my thoughts.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 feels a little different compared to the previous films. They were filled with hope and lots of positive energy. Now, most of the crew are burned out and tired of being a Guardian. One of them still has some issues to deal with, so he takes centre stage. Not going to lie, the backstory of Rocket and how he became to be is one of the most heart-wrenching things I have ever seen in a film. It turns out Rocket has a very good reason to be angry. 

I loved this third entry. It was pretty dark and emotional but in a very Guardianseque way. A proper send off for James Gunn as he builds on what he has established but also isn't afraid to go into a different direction. Almost a bittersweet ending to this epic trilogy. Then again, also a very logical one since in the Marvel Comics it's very usual for team members to leave and be replaced by others. 

Action and spectacle wise, it felt a little more restricted and personal in the grand scheme of things. And I happen to like it, but for some this might be a little problematic. For example, one of the new characters that gets introduced is Adam Warlock. As I understood it, he is one of the most powerful beings in the Marvel Universe. Here is he presented as a moron for comic relief. Perhaps MCU are planning to evolve this character into the one from the comics, but now he was a joke. He does redeem himself at the end, but I did expect a lot more from Marvel, especially since he is supposed to be a very pivotal character in the Secret Wars.

But every other character gets some character development, like Kraglin and Cosmo. Perhaps at the cost of Peter Quill and Drax, but that is fine, they were the driving forces of previous instalments. For me, this is a top-notch conclusion and among the best that has been made in the MCU.

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