Article. Im Sooyeon (CINE21 reporter), Yun Huiseong, Kim Doheon (music critic)
Design. Jeon Yurim

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

Im Sooyeon (CINE21 reporter): How does a superhero movie franchise find its way back after the charismatic villain (in this case, Michael B. Jordan as Killmonger) is already killed off in the first movie and the actor who portrayed the main character passes away? Black Panther: Wakanda Forever came back with a revised script after being put on hold after the death of Chadwick Boseman, who portrayed T’Challa (aka Black Panther). When director Ryan Coogler announced that Boseman would not be brought back to the screen through CGI magic, it seems he had made up his mind that a proper succession of the Wakanda throne would be the most appropriate way to pay respect. The new movie opens with T’Challa’s funeral as the political turmoil of the previous film falls upon the shoulders of the successor to the Black Panther title, his sister Shuri (Letitia Wright). The sequel also introduces Talokan, an underwater kingdom with vibranium of its own, as well as its rule, Namor. The way the Talokan Empire, which is modeled after the Aztec Empire and imperialism in general, provokes Shuri is reminiscent of Killmonger’s conflict with T’Challa, who had to balance different diplomatic approaches when Wakanda becomes known as a vibranium-rich nation to the rest of the world. As with the first movie, the Martin Luther King Jr.-like nonviolent approach edges a little too close to placing the hero on an impossibly high pedestal, but the sequel successfully solidifies the series’ sense of identity and serves as well as a memorial that continues in the spirit of the previous star. We also get a sense of where the fourth phase of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is headed, with most new roles going to women and younger actors, like Ramonda, the sovereign queen mother of Wakanda (Angela Bassett); Okoye, the general of and greatest soldier in the Wakandan army (Danai Gurira); and Riri Williams, an MIT student who invents a vibranium detector for fun and becomes a target of the CIA (Dominique Thorne).

Young Royals (Netflix)

Yun Huiseong: Two boys bump into each other and fall in love. Once they learn to be true to themselves, they face a new hurdle: being true to the world. When summarized, Young Royals sounds like a cliche-ridden teen romance. The commonplace setup—one of the characters is the Prince of Sweden and they meet at a preppy boarding school—is enough to leave the viewer questioning the show’s originality. These young students have to constantly balance their lives between duty and freedom and between ethics and desire, all under the weight of the customs that come with being in line for the throne. They have the power to cut each other down, but at the same time, they’re desperate to find someone to rely on. But the show pushes back against the idea that well-worn tropes always equate to laziness. Their love is constantly viewed through, or concealed within, a political lens, leading viewers to consider what living your life means to younger generations. One of the most ambitious scenes of this new season comes when the students make eye contact while talking about the works of Swedish writer Karin Maria Boye who was herself a lesbian. Borrowed directly from literature, the words are a spark for boys who aren’t yet sure how to understand what they’re feeling or put their emotions into words of their own. And it’s through those exchanged glances that they see they’re both maturing. When Prince Wilhelm (Edvin Ryding) finally confesses that the customs that confine him to a choice between duty and freedom are more of an affront than an honor, and there seems to be hope that we’ll be treated to more stories of a new kind of royals. While some viewers may have gone into the show expecting the tale of a prince’s young love, it’s actually a story that encourages us to think about what new leaders in a new era can look like. Either way, season two is a great addition to an already enjoyable show.

“The Loneliest Time” feat. Rufus Wainwright (Carly Rae Jepsen)

Kim Doheon (music critic): Most people still remember Carly Rae Jepsen for her 2012 teen pop mega hit, “Call Me Maybe,” released when she was 25 years old. She recently told Vogue that, at the time, she had felt like there was a small window to have a successful career in pop music, saying that she “had this idea that there was only a short amount of time to have a career in pop.” Since then, Jepsen has gone from one-hit wonder to one of the best singer-songwriters of our time, giving us beautiful melodies and experimental dance songs for a decade. Her sixth studio album, The Loneliest Time, was released on October 21 and is absolute bliss. It’s sweet, elegant and delicate. You might tear up listening to the titular finale, which explores the darker side of love and the loneliness that came with it during the pandemic. The song is a blend of Alfred Hitchcock and George Méliès-esque imagination, beat-for-beat 1970s disco and turn-of-the-century vocals from Canadian singer Rufus Wainwright—all accompanying Jepson on a timeless journey in 2022. What a shame that the album was released on the same day as Taylor Swift’s Midnights … but the fact that she did is a classic move for an indie darling. What’s not to love?