The media frenzy that trailed the release of Kings of Boys: The Return of the King was high. Before and after its release the movie triggered interesting conversations on and offline.
Kemi Adetiba did well and also produced merchandise for the movie. The merchandise was sold out. The reactions of Nigerians to the seven-part light series released on Netflix on August 27, 2021 were fuelled by the successes of the first sequel, King of Boys released in 2018. King of Boys grossed over N200 million after seven weeks in the cinema. Star actress, Sola Sobowale won the Best Actress in a leading role at the 2019 African Movie Academy Awards while co-star, Adesua Etomi-Wellington won the Best Actress in a supporting role in the King of Boys also at the African Movie Academy Awards. The movie received seven nominations including, Best Costume Designer, Best Make-up, Best Soundtrack and Best Director at the African Magic Viewers’ Choice Award.
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The Return of the King is another success from Kemi Adetiba following the accolades The Wedding Party received.
The first sequel ended with several questions, especially around the dynasty of Alhaja Eniola Salami also known as Oba (played by Sola Sobowale). Sola Sobowale the ‘underestimated’ kingpin of an organized crime in the movie defied age and exhibited great energy and experience as the king that she truly is.
The seven-part light series started with the return of Oba to Nigeria. The news generated mixed feelings and her arrival changed the political permutations in Lagos State. The series is centred around the quest of Eniola Salami to become the governor of Lagos State, taking off where she left it in the King of Boys.
Eniola Salami’s troubled conscience made her desist from her past ways that led to the death of several people including her children. She returned to the country with an eye on the governor’s seat, but with a heart to do well. Would she succeed in the same ambition that got her children killed and made her a fugitive before she was exonerated of all charges by President Mumusa (Keppy Ekpeyoung)?
The plot is built around her pursuit which has several implications for the elders at the table who have pledged their loyalty to Odudubariba (Charles Oputa) that claims Eniola’s crown and seat at the table. Also, at the receiving end of Eniola’s quest is the incumbent Governor Tunde Randle (Lord Frank) and Aare Akinwande (Akin Lewis).
Kemi Adetiba was able to weave octane actions around reverberating visual effects in delivering this blockbuster series. Each episode leaves the audience with more questions than answers whetting their appetites for the next episode and the next until the seventh which is the final.
Hidden in the gun, blaring scenarios is a revelation of the ugly truth that characterizes the Nigerian political scene. Kemi Adetiba showed that there are several forces at play in the emergence of governors and presidents in the country, from party politics to involvement of journalists. It reveals the extent to which politicians can go in securing endorsements, especially from covetous hypocritical religious leaders as seen in Reverend Ifeanyi (Richard Mofe Damijo).
The movie also reveals the exclusive lifestyle of jailed top politicians as seen in the roles of Aare Akinwande (Akin Lewis) who still calls the President of Nigeria from the prison and still controls happenings in the political scene. While in prison, the wardens are his messengers, he lives in a modest abode with a television, refrigerator, and personal guards. He visits his house every weekend from the cell and has his driver on standby within the premises.
It also shows the theatrical displays of politicians to secure movement from the prison to the hospitals on false ailments which are endorsed by judges on their payroll.
The movie showed the bane of investigative journalism in Nigeria. Dapo Banjo (Efa Iwara) and Bimbo Manuel (Mr Mogaji), reporter and editor respectively of Conscience newspaper was able to tell the story of how interests affect objectivity in journalism.
While the producer and director did well and the series ranks among the best produced in the country, it fails to the typical Nigerian debacle of longer scenes, especially scenes that involve Eniola Salami.
Sola Sobowale’s act showed her energy but her best act from the series was one without shouts as she whimsically attempts to poach Mr Mohammed Gobir. Her sarcastic moment with the First Lady Jumoke Randle and her unscathed visit to the Lion’s den to visit Aare showed her as the king of wits.
Scenes from the series left the audience guessing. How did Charly Boy rise to become elder at the table in five years? How did Eniola Salami contribute to the emergence of the president with the rivalries at the table that affected her chances at becoming a governor?
Of course, the whole thing around Makanaki (Reminisce) is left to the assumption of the audience. If he survives Odogwu Maylay (Illbliss) shot, how did he reconcile with Eniola Salami?
However, there are still more to expect from the producer considering the ending of the limited series. How do two lions reign together in the same jungle? Will the combination of Eniola Salami in the governor’s house and Makanaki at the table help the state? And who wins the battle of wits between Eniola and President Mumusa (Keppy Ekpeyoung)? And the journalist, did he stage a comeback? What happens to Eniola Salami’s maid? What lies for Ade Tiger (Titi Kuti)? These are among the few questions film lovers are left pondering over.
The series boasts of a stellar cast peculiar to Kemi Adetiba’s works.
Cast: Sola Sobowale (Eniola Salami), Toni Tonnes (Young Eniola Salami), Titi Kuti (Ade Tiger), Lord Frank (Governor Tunde Randle) Nse Ikpe-Etim (First Lady Jumoke Randle), Richard Mode Damijo (Reverend Ifeanyi), Efa Iwara (Dapo Banjo), Deyemi Okanlawon (Adetola Fashina), Reminisce (Makanaki), Osas Ighodaro (Sade Bello), illbliss (Odogwu Maylay), Bimbo Manuel (Mr Mogaji), Keppy Ekpeyoung (President Mumusa)