Wakanda Forever Rotten Tomatoes score quickly drops to 85%

The critical score for Marvel Studios’ Black Panther: Wakanda Forever drops from an initial 95% down to 85% after the film’s review embargo.

After an initial 90%+ overall rating at Rotten Tomatoes, the critical scores for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever have dropped to 85%.

Rotten Tomatoes score for Marvel Studios’ Black Panther: Wakanda Forever drops from an initial 94% to 86% after the film’s review embargo. (Images: Marvel Studios/Disney)

Rotten Tomatoes is one of the most popular online review aggregators for movies and television. Many entertainment platforms have used the critical and audience scores at the site as a benchmark for gauging a film or show’s success.

But what does this early drop for the highly anticipated last entry for the Marvel Cinematic Universe Phase Four indicate? What did the top critics have to say regarding Black Panther: Wakanda Forever? Check out the details below.

With the review embargo on Black Panther: Wakanda Forever lifted, the early critics’ Tomatometer scores heaped high marks, topping at 95%.

But within the day, the Rotten Tomatoes' critic score dropped to 93% and has significantly lowered to 85% as of the time of this report (although it retains a "Certified Fresh" rating).

Angelica Jade Bastién of the New York Magazine and Vulture had this reaction:

Regrettably, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever tries to do so many things that it comes across as threadbare and pallid — less a failure of imagination and more of circumstance, time, and narrative constraints.

Robert Daniels of RogerEbert.com scored Wakanda Forever a 1.5 out of 4 and stated:

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever might have its heart in the right place but is in the wrong mindset and in the worst space—at the center of a contrived cinematic universe—to mourn on its own terms.

Ann Hornaday of The Washington Post gave the film a 2 out of 4 and had this to say:

Wakanda Forever winds up feeling hopelessly stalled, covering up an inability to move on by resorting to repetitive, over-familiar action sequences, maudlin emotional beats and an uninvolving, occasionally incoherent story.

TIME Magazine‘s Stephanie Zacharek specifically pointed out the absence of Chadwick Boseman and simply checking boxes is not enough to make up for it:

Ticking boxes isn’t the same as pulling magic -- or even just insight -- from thin air... The sad reality is that the show must go on, and without [Chadwick Boseman], it’s just more of the same. Our job is to pretend it’s enough.

Most critics gave high praise to Angela Bassett's portrayal of Queen Ramonda, for her emotional depiction of a mother carrying grief and trying to keep a nation from falling apart.

While top critics have pointed out the weaknesses of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, there are reviewers who have extremely high praise for the movie. For instance, Grace Randolph of Beyond the Trailer called it one of the best Marvel Studios has produced (not just the best of Phase Four):

A fantastic sequel about grief and true leadership with Shuri's journey. Ryan Coogler handles the passing of Chadwick Boseman quite well. Plus Namor is a fantastic addition with the MCU! One of Marvel's best.

Leah Greenblatt of Entertainment Weekly gave Wakanda Forever a B+:

While a Black Panther without Boseman is undoubtedly nothing like the film's creators or any of its cast wanted it to be, the movie they've made feels like something unusually elegant and profound for the multiplex.

It should be noted that Black Panther: Wakanda Forever does not currently have an Audience Score at Rotten Tomatoes. While the film has already been released in some parts of the world, the United States theatrical release is still on Friday. As such, verified Audience Scores will not be reflected until after then.

Winston Duke (M'baku) had less screen time than the first Black Panther film, but gave a memorable performance in Wakanda Forever.

An interesting point that most of the current critics giving a less than stellar score to Black Panther: Wakanda Forever agree with is the missing presence of Chadwick Boseman. But with the actor’s untimely passing, could a new actor filling the role of T’Challa have made a difference?

Chadwick Boseman’s own brother, Derrick Boseman, spoke out against killing the character of T’Challa in the MCU. He stated that Chadwick would have wanted another actor to carry on so that the character’s journey and place in society as a role model would continue.

On another note, will the early drop in the critics score be an indication of the film’s box office performance? The original Black Panther 2018 film had a $202 million opening weekend, with a worldwide total of $1.3 billion by the end of its run. As of the time of this writing, the advance ticket sales for Wakanda Forever is at $45 million, 20% lower than Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness but higher than for Thor: Love and Thunder.

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever stars Angela Bassett, Letitia Wright, Winston Duke, Danai Gurira, Lupita Nyong’o, Martin Freeman, Dominique Thorne, and Tenoch Huerta. Directed by Ryan Coogler, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever makes its North American theatrical release on November 11, 2022.

Geoff Borgonia
Geoffrey "Borgy" Borgonia is a veteran writer, artist, journalist, gamer, and entrepreneur based in the Philippines. When not contributing to some of the top pop culture sites on the planet, he spends the rest of his time running his business, practicing martial arts, working on and developing books, comics, and games. In his man-cave, his only luxury is sleep. Borgy on Linkedin.