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Black Panther 2's Rotten Tomatoes Score Hides An MCU Disappointment

ScreenRant logo ScreenRant 11/14/2022 Lewis Glazebrook
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Warning: Contains minor SPOILERS for Black Panther: Wakanda ForeverBlack Panther: Wakanda Forever is rightfully receiving positive reviews, but its Rotten Tomatoes score may hide a slight disappointment compared to other review aggregator websites and its predecessor. Since Black Panther: Wakanda Forever began screening to critics and fans, the word of mouth has been mostly positive. Despite this, the film, when compared with the original Black Panther, may not be quite as overwhelmingly loved.

Again, while Black Panther: Wakanda Forever's reviews seem positive, it is in the deeper aggregate scores that the film's discrepancy with the first film becomes evident. For all the positivity, it's clear that the general critical consensus isn't quite as warm as it was for the first Black Panther. This is also not exclusive to Rotten Tomatoes, with other aggregator websites like Metacritic highlighting this ever-so-slight disappointment amid the film's positive reaction. That said, this disappointment is only evident when compared specifically to the first Black Panther (with its box office also slightly better than its successor's) and the positive light around the sequel is refreshing, not to mention deserved, after the less-than-stellar reaction to the MCU's most recent film, Thor: Love and Thunder.

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Wakanda Forever's Rotten Tomatoes Score Compared To Black Panther

When looking solely at Wakanda Forever's Rotten Tomatoes score, the positivity becomes evident. The movie is currently holding an 84% rating from 320 reviews, meaning 84% of those reviews gave the film a positive score. The first Black Panther holds a rating of 96%, still holding the title as the highest aggregate score in the entire MCU on Rotten Tomatoes. Given this fact, the new MCU Black Panther's score is even more respectable, though its average rating is 7.2/10 in comparison to Black Panther's 8.3/10. This, when paired with other websites like Metacritic highlight the slight disappointment that the sequel is not rated quite as highly as the first, despite still being well-received in its own right.

Wakanda Forever's Metacritic Score Compared To Black Panther

Metacritic is a website that differs from Rotten Tomatoes slightly, in that the score accredited to movies comes from an aggregate of each individual review score, as opposed to a percentage of positive reviews like the latter. Because of this, one would be forgiven for thinking Black Panther: Wakanda Forever was less well-received than the first by a considerable amount, even if that is not necessarily the case. The Metacritic score for Black Panther was 83 and is often considered one of the best superhero movies of 2018, compared to Wakanda Forever's 67. While both are positive scores, they simply mean that Black Panther received slightly higher individual scores than its sequel, despite both receiving plenty of positive reviews.

Why Wakanda Forever Isn't As Well-Reviewed As Black Panther

This begs the question then, of why Wakanda Forever's scores are slightly lower than Black Panther's, despite the overall positive consensus. One of the reasons for this comes from the unenviable position of the cast and crew of the film, who had to follow up the immensely popular Black Panther despite the death of Chadwick Boseman who played the titular role. While the majority, if not all, critical reviews agree that the film works as a highly emotional, beautifully-done tribute to Chadwick Boseman, the film as a whole is slightly less focused than its predecessor given the nature of the story.

While Ryan Coogler - writer-director of both Black Panther and Wakanda Forever - absolutely made the correct choice in writing Boseman's, and by extension T'Challa's, death into the film, it means that the film has an overwhelming amount of emotion. Because of this, viewers' minds can sometimes be distracted from the film itself and focus on the real-life elements that inspired it. This caused the film to lack the focus of the first, which was allowed to be a much more focused MCU-first film. Again, it cannot be overstated how well the film dealt with Boseman's death, but the distracting nature of such a heartbreaking event was also, unfortunately, unavoidable.

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Outside of this, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever received some criticism for its inclusion of certain plot points. One of these was Val/Madame Hydra from Falcon and the Winter Soldier, who was revealed to have worked her way up to become the director of the CIA. While the connective tissue between this and Phase 4 as a whole, and presumably Phase 5, benefited from this, the subplot in terms of its contribution to the film was unnecessary and did not really contribute to the overall plot besides involving Everett Ross. These are some main reasons why Black Panther: Wakanda Forever received slightly lower ratings than its predecessor, despite the generally very positive consensus from both fans and critics.

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