Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (4K UHD Blu-ray Review)

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever was one of the top grossing films of last year, and one that probably peaked the most curiosity of tentpoles. The loss of Chadwick Boseman was one of the most tragic and I’m sure we all convened together in fandom for this movie to be his wake.  Its not time for it to hit the streaming and home video platforms. For us physical media collectors, the 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray release of the film will be arriving on shelves and online stores on February 7th. It comes with an Atmos track, a couple featurettes, commentary, deleted scenes and a gag reel (Aaron Neuwirth’s favorite special feature). Various retailers will have different version of it available (Steelbook, digibook, etc). You can order yourself the standard one by using the paid Amazon Associates link that follows the review.



Queen Ramonda (Angela Bassett), Shuri (Letitia Wright), M’Baku (Winston Duke), Okoye (Danai Gurira) and the mighty Dora Milaje (including Florence Kasumba), fight to protect their nation from intervening world powers in the wake of the death of their beloved King T’Challa. As the Wakandans strive to embrace their next chapter, the heroes must band together with the help of War Dog Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o) and Everett K. Ross (Martin Freeman) if they are to forge a new path for the kingdom of Wakanda.

Of all the Marvel films and television programs we’ve seen in the MCU, perhaps none has had a taller task of a sequel than Black Panther. Wakanda Forever had to figure out how to approach and handle the loss of its star and titular character. There’s pressure to be respectful to the sensitive matter and also deliver a quality film in Chadwick Boseman’s name. Any little miscue could be seen as some sort of slandering him or spitting on one’s grave so to speak.

Wakanda Forever is somewhat of a bridge film. Though, not for the MCU, but for the continued adventures in the Black Panther franchise. A franchise with a rich enough world and glorious set of characters, conflicts and themes that it really doesn’t need the Avengers or rest of the MCU to thrive as a top property. Heck, it probably weakens it somewhat to have to tie into everything. Though, it was introduced in a shared universe piece, this world is much enough its own universe to itself and is more interesting to explore its bubble than what happens outside from it.

Coogler’s second at bat for this franchise is one that is even more ambitious than his first effort. And while the film is a bit overstuffed and long in the tooth, it isn’t without admiration as there’s a terrific parallel journey to her brother for Shuri to take while also introducing some bigger thematic challenges for Wakanda to face. The introduction of Namor and his underwater kingdom arises a challenge for Wakanda to react and handle another kingdom that feels the way they have and even more so. Coogler takes a hard look at some not readily shared nor ever depicted in film here as well. And to do so in a populist, tentpole film has got to be commended.

The second Black Panther film carries a heavy load that I’m not too sure many a filmmaker would want to take on (In recent film history, James Wan and Ryan Coogler have done some great work when put to these tall tasks). Its not as fun and snappy as the first one. Its a bit deeper and sluggier, carrying a story of loss on its shoulders for its runtime. The film does drag for a good portion in the middle, but its bookended by some good stuff while having some excellent character development and themes on display.


Disclaimer: Screen captures used in the review are taken from the standard Blu-ray disc, not the 4K UHD Blu-ray disc.

Encoding: HEVC / H.265

Resolution: 4K (2160p)

Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1

Layers: BD-66

Clarity/Detail Black Panther: Wakanda Forever comes to 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray as a native 4K title. And it looks pretty lovely, exploding with color in many sequences. Much of the CG looks pretty like CG, but good enough to hold up scenes and allow it to pass on a cartoon to life kind of look. Fine details show through very strong and the image is crisp and sharp. Up to par with the other Marvel titles released on 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray this year.

Depth: Depth of field is above average and the image has a good clarity that allows for the heavy CG scenes to showcase spacing and scale. Movement is natural and smooth with no issues occurring from rapid action causing a blur or jitter on the screen.

Black Levels: Blacks are natural and find themselves been deep and saturated very well. No issues occur with any information hidden or lost in the darker corners of the frame and no crushing witnessed.

Color Reproduction: Colors flourish here in this transfer. They pop right and left with purples, reds, blues, greens and more finding great saturation, lots of different tints and a bold look throughout. HDR finds a nice glow in lasers, supernatural beams, lights, fire and more and against great contrast in the blacks as well.

Flesh Tones: Skin tones are natural and consistent from start to finish in the film. Facial features and textures are visible from really any reasonable distance in the frame

Noise/Artifacts: Clean.


Audio Format(s): English Dolby Atmos, English 2.0 Descriptive Audio,  Spanish 7.1 Dolby Digital Plus

Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish

Dynamics: Black Panther: Wakanda Forever features a pretty undewhelming Dolby Atmos track. No surprise given the studio putting it out, but nonethless its frustrating with a movie that has wicked opportunity to be THE disc to show off to people. The music in the film and the score cranks up and is effective, but its the effects and vocals that are flat and never quite hit as anticipated. They feel really low and almost as if they’re being held back. Sure, you can mess with your settings or crank your dial, but its still sort of mediocre even when done louder.

Height: The movie features plenty opportunities from above what with flying people and craft, debris, splashing, crashing, shooting and more that swoops over the camera.

Low Frequency Extension: The subwoofer hits pretty well on some musical beats and cues but is a bit disappointing in terms of impact from action.

Surround Sound Presentation: The room is plenty realized with things people placed and traveling around the room. The problem is in the mix and the effective force with which they could be displayed up.

Dialogue Reproduction: Vocals are clear and crisp.


Black Panther: Wakanda Forever comes with the standard Blu-ray edition and a redeemable digital code. All bonus features are found on the standard Blu-ray disc.

Audio Commentary

  • with Ryan Coogler, Joe Robert Cole, and Autumn Durald Arkapaw

Envisioning Two Worlds (HD, 10:55) – This is an all too brief Making Of that really hits the surface of topics with cast and crew talking about Ryan Coogler, production designer Hannah Beachler, and costume designer Ruth Carter.

Passing the Mantle (HD, 5:50) – This is a bit about the characters of Shuri and Riri. Where they came from, their journey in this film and the actresses that play them.

Gag Reel (HD, 2:28)

Deleted Scenes (HD, 10:11)


Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is a pretty bold film that is a little bit overstuff but overall delivers in better ways than a majority of your Marvel films. The presentation here is akin to your typical Disney/Marvel 4K Ultra-HD video and sound depictions. Extras are pretty average and seem to be getting lighter on disc for these. I don’t need to tell you to buy it if you’re an MCU collector, you’ve probably already got it on pre-order.

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Brandon is the host, producer, writer and editor of The Brandon Peters Show (thebrandonpetersshow.com). He is also the Moderator/MC of the Live Podcast Stage and on the Podcast Awards Committee for PopCon (popcon.us). In the past 10 years at Why So Blu, Brandon has amassed over 1,500 reviews of 4K, Blu-ray and DVD titles.

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