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DUBAI: With the world still grappling with the death of ‘Black Panther’ star Chadwick Boseman from cancer two years ago, Marvel Studios has faced the daunting task of keeping up with one of his greatest hits without its main star. But “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” released in Middle Eastern theaters on November 10, manages a heartfelt – if uneven – tribute, tuning into grief and loss with respect and a sense of deserved reverence.
The sequel, four years after the smash hit of the original, finds Wakanda in deep mourning. The sudden death of its king and protector, the Black Panther (Boseman), means that his mother Ramonda is now queen regent. As a relatively new player on the world stage, the power vacuum means rival countries are now looking for easy ways to steal vibranium, a supermetal found only in Wakanda.
The US government, meanwhile, managed to hire MIT student Riri Williams (Dominique Thorne debuting as Ironheart) to build them a vibranium detector, which leads to the metal being found a little too close. of another secret civilization: Talokan, from director Ryan Coogler. Mesoamerican-inspired version of the underwater city Atlantis.
Ruler Talokan Namor, portrayed with exceptional intensity by Mexican actor Tenoch Huerta, wants to ally his secretive nation with Wakanda, united by their aversion to oppressors and colonizers, to attack the rest of the world or risk being themselves. same attacked. At the center of all this upheaval is Shuri (Letitia Wright), a brilliant inventor and scientist who must grapple with the finality of her inability to save her brother despite her considerable gifts.
Shuri’s journey to come to terms with her death and forge her own path – whether following in the footsteps of T’Challa or other characters in her family – is really the only story thread that matters, and while we gives it the appropriate weight, it flows under the tonal shifts of its many story arcs.
Heavy themes such as military oppression, colonizer violence, cultural sovereignty and the struggle between revenge and alliance are touched upon but barely resolved. A bloated runtime also means audiences are going to squirm in their seats watching climactic battle scenes, mediocre at best and boring at worst.
It’s hard to watch “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” and not imagine what it would have been like with Boseman in the lead. But like all goodbyes, no matter how unsatisfying they may seem, closure is coming and all we can do is embrace it.