Wakanda forever

In the world of the writer-director Ryan Cooglerit is Black Panther: Wakanda Foreveras good as Marvel Cinematic Universe more broadly, there are plenty of enemies that threaten these characters. There are those like the menacing Thanos who is capable of obliterating millions of people or the evil Ego who consumes entire planets. However, the greatest threat facing the world of Wakanda that we already know from previous films and the newly introduced undersea kingdom Talokan is a historic force in its origins though painfully present in its impacts. More than any of the various super beings, it is the continuing forces of colonialist exploitation and violence that inform the conflict at the heart of this most recent history.

Ryan Coogler explored colonialism in ‘Black Panther’

Black Panther Michael B. Jordan as Killmonger and Chadwick Boseman as T'Challa
Image via Marvel

This is nothing new for Coogler since the first film, Black Panther, was explicitly about how Wakanda itself managed to stay unscathed from the brutality around them by going into hiding. However, the internal conflict was whether this needed to change so that Wakanda could help those around the world who weren’t blessed with being born into an unseen realm. The whole perspective of the fascinating Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan) was that Wakanda had been selfish in its isolation and left too many people to suffer while they thrived. He was an antagonist in this film as he sought to lead the kingdom to war against the rest of the world, but his perspective still resonated in his vindication. He would eventually lay down his life for his cause and it left an impact on T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) who tried to do everything he could to right some of the many wrongs that afflict the world by bringing Wakanda out into the open. Alas, this has now made Wakanda a prime target for various world powers who now seek to make up for lost time by exploiting the Wakandans however they can.

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‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’ takes the conversation about colonialism in a new direction

Angela Bassett as Queen Ramonda addresses the UN in Black Panther Wakanda Forever
Image via Marvel Studios

This is seen very early in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever where, after the tragic loss of T’Challa, his mother Queen Ramonda (Angela Bassette) passes the United Nations. She is not there alone as she takes captured French soldiers who had raided one of Wakanda’s outposts in order to obtain vibranium. It’s a humorous show of force that demonstrates that as long as Wakanda isn’t the aggressor, they will fight back. Later, the CIA takes on the classic game of resource extraction by heading into the ocean with a machine designed to find vibranium. In doing so, they enter the domain of Namor (Tenoch Huerta Mejia) who knows full well where this encroachment leads. Through flashbacks, we see how he witnessed at a young age the horrifying degradation that can happen to people who find themselves in the crosshairs of colonial powers. In this case, it was the Spaniards who decimated everything they came into contact with. There is a hunger for colonialism that will never be satisfied and will consume all it can for as long as it can. The film is based on the characters’ attempts to interrupt this tragic trajectory as Namor attempts to form an alliance with Wakanda in hopes that they can protect themselves from outside forces. Despite everything they have in common, Namor remains more sensitive to what has happened in history and the fate that awaits the two nations in their future.

Looking at the dynamic worlds of Wakanda and Talokan, we see societies that have been able to thrive precisely because they have been protected from the colonialism of the past. Although the story is often hesitant to tackle the full narrative and thematic scope of this story element, it is also integrated into every setting. This is seen in Namor’s elaborate paintings of Talokan’s history and the joyous but tragic funeral ceremony in Wakanda. This freedom of culture and community to operate is contrary to the goals of colonial powers who seek to impose total subjugation. Although the scenes between Everett Ross (Martin Freeman) and Valentina Allegra de Fontaine (Julia Louis Dreyfus) are often a distraction from the emotional heart of the story, there is a conversation that makes it clear how cruel the forces of colonialism are. Everett, who believes he secretly provided information to the Wakandans, defends his friends against Valentina who was aware of his deception the whole time. This rightly indicates that the United States, the colonial power in this case, probably would not have exercised restraint had it had access to the powerful vibranium, but will now justify Wakanda having it to threaten and destroy them. tackle. It’s an impending conflict in a fictional history occupied with the excesses of the MCU, yes, but it also manages to tap into something much bigger.

Namor's mother in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
Image via Marvel Studios

When you peel back the whole spectacle that’s playing out, there’s a more honest undercurrent to Black Panther: Wakanda ForeverWorld-building that often proves accurate in identifying what’s behind the threats to characters. Unfortunately, many of these intriguing ideas are not explored as deeply as one would have hoped. In many cases, it feels like the movie is about to get to something edgier before we’re thrown back into the often clumsy plot machinations. Obviously, it would be unlikely for a movie like this to abandon the recurring trappings of blockbusters to focus solely on a sociopolitical storyline. Still, we had hoped it could do that in a bit more depth, especially since the original managed to unravel some surprisingly complex storylines while still being a thrilling superhero movie. It doesn’t go nearly as well as there, as this film often has to juggle a multitude of moving parts. That being said, even if it requires looking a bit harder than the previous iteration, the way Coogler is able to provide glimpses of wondrous worlds as a means of establishing what is lost when colonialism sets in reveals to how much more is happening lit in the background. No matter how many CGI battles against fantastical forces populate these stories, the more they tackle these deeper ideas, the better.

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