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Yibambé: a review and analysis of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

The Brilliance behind Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

By Joe PattersonPublished 3 months ago Updated 2 months ago 6 min read
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Do you know what the term “Yibambé” means? In the African language known as Xhosa it means “Hold Strong”. The term became very popular in 2018 when it was chanted by the Black Panther and the Wakandan empire in Marvel’s Avengers: Infinty War. Yibambé is the perfect term to describe the greatness of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, because this film definitely holds strong. From beginning to end, Wakanda Forever is an emotional roller coaster that will make you laugh, cry, and jump for joy at all of it’s amazing moments. This film had some big shoes to fill when you keep in mind it’s predecessor and deceased leading man and without a doubt did this following film fill those shoes perfectly.

The film’s plot follows Princess Shuri and Queen Ramonda as they struggle to maintain the stability of the kingdom of Wakanda after the illness-caused death of King T’Challa. In the months following T’Challa’s death many militia forces from around the world make attempts to steal Vibranium from Wakandan possession, prompting a powerful underwater being referred to as Namor to rise up from his underwater kingdom of Tālocān, which is based on the underwater kingdom of Atlantis, located underneath the ground land of Wakanda and propose an alliance with Wakanda to join forces and wage war on the rest of the world before the rest of the world can wage war on their respective empires for the source of vibranium. Given the culture clash between Africans and Mayans, I personally felt like the film’s plot had a hidden subtext about unity between Black and Brown people.

Wakanda Forever starts off bringing back fan favorite characters like Dora Milaje tribal leader, Okoyé, as well as her second in command, Ayo and Jabari tribal leader M’baku. In some of the film’s earliest introductions of Okoyé and M’baku, fans are given some great laughs to start as the two bicker back and forth in their sibling rivalry dynamic of a relationship. The film also brings back Everett Ross, the government agent who previously assisted Wakanda in both Captain America: Civil War and Black Panther. As one could imagine, Ross has become a dear friend and trusted ally to the Wakandan empire and once again do we see him go to tremendous lengths to ensure the survival and safety of Wakanda, even at the expense of his own freedom.

In Wakanda Forever we get to see a more prominent role played by Queen Ramonda, portrayed by the legendary Angela Bassett. In Wakanda Forever we dig deeper into the heart and will power of Ramonda as she struggles with running a kingdom in the aftermath of the deaths of both her husband and son. Her heart aches, but her resolve and determination is stronger than it has ever been. The new development of Princess Shuri, portrayed by Leticia Wright is as one can imagine the center of the film’s plot as she is next in line to take the mantle of the Black Panther. Shuri’s biggest struggle is not just maintaining Wakanda and embracing the mantle of Black Panther, but also confronting the death of her brother who she loves dearly. He was a part of her own heart and accepting his passing is perhaps her greatest challenge. Also making a triumphant return is Nakia, the love interest of T’Challa portrayed by Lupita Nyongo. Nakia joins the story at the behest of Ramonda to rescue Shuri and newcomer Riri Williams from the clutches of Namor. Along the way we find that Nakia has of course been struggling with the death of T’Challa and also that she interestingly enough survived the snap of Thanos and had been living in exile in Haiti in T’Challa and the rest of the royal family’s absence. Nakia has also been carrying a secret that none of the other citizens of Wakanda know about, a secret that is shocking and leaves MCU favs very curious about the future.

Of course no one can argue about the undeniable impression made by the new characters of the series. From the underwater kingdom of Tālocān we have the powerful and charismatic Namor, portrayed by Tenoch Huerta. As the leading antagonist of the story, Namor is a successful continuation of the MCU’s villain solution. As a descendant of oppressed Mayans, Namor’s actions in the film are justified in reasoning, even if not in tactic, much like the preceding Killmonger who came before him. Namor is not an expendable villain, like Killmonger and Thanos, he has a struggle you empathize with, even if you don’t agree with his methods for handling the situation. In the path of Namor’s destruction lies a young intelligent prodigy named Riri Williams. Riri is very comparable to the amazing Tony Stark, and not surprisingly she attended his alma mater of MIT. Like Stark, Riri is wise cracking and a scientific genius of nanotechnology. Riri is also a young African American female who’s relationship with Shuri and the rest of Wakanda serves as the story’s bridging of the gap between continental African and African American, much like the dynamic between T’Challa and Killmonger who came before.

The quality in this film that tops off it’s complex and high stakes plot is it’s emotional tone and posthumous presence of the late great Chadwick Boseman. All throughout the film we are reminded of the loss of Chadwick Boseman, not only in terms of the film’s storytelling, but also in real life. Every act of the film has a major callback moment that reminds us of our fallen hero and how this story is not only a new chapter in the legacy of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but also the preservance of the legacy of one of its dearest fallen actors who was taken from his throne far too soon. A part of the film that did a great job at capturing this emotion was the film’s soundtrack. Songs like “Lift Me Up” from Rihanna and “Alone” from Burna Boy do a great job at putting the audience in the shoes of the characters to show us how they are feeling in the struggles of their new journey and when the understanding hits us we become just as emotionally taken as they are.

Last, but certainly not the least, the icing on the cake of this masterpiece is the ending tribute to Chadwick Boseman. As young Shuri finally comes into her own in the mantle of the new Black Panther she finally takes the time to grieve her deceased brother in a quiet and somber moment of reflection in which we see highlights of the mighty King T’Challa in the prime of his life, a life of which we all loved and enjoyed watching take its shape. Not crying during this scene was arguably the toughest challenge many Marvel fans have ever faced in a movie theater.

When the film ended the theater erupted in a thunderous applause. There was not a dry eye in the room and no one could sit quietly as we cheered in appreciation for how well Wakanda Forever delivered. As stated before, Yibambé means to hold strong and Wakanda Forever certainly held strong in light of all its obstacles. So for Holding strong and it’s poignant tribute to Chadwick Boseman, I say thank you to the MCU and the cast of Wakanda Forever for Yibambé.

~~For Chadwick.

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About the Creator

Joe Patterson

Hi I'm Joe Patterson. I am a writer at heart who is a big geek for film, music, and literature, which have all inspired me to be a writer. I rap, write stories both short and long, and I'm also aspiring to be an author and a filmmaker.

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  • Rick Henry3 months ago

    As always your writing is professional and well polished yet still has heart and soul. Your details are well organized and easy to read and understand. Great job!!!

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