After so many years of discussing why culture matters so much in the movies and why it’s important not to mess with it, the idea of forcing a Marvel character and his entire kingdom, as well as his race, to change their culture around feels like a great deal of hypocrisy that many are allowing to pass for a chance at representation that isn’t guaranteed to work. Many people already think it will be great and better than the comics. Still, Wakanda Forever already has a slew of issues that can be pointed out, and eliminating an entire race’s identity to make it fit into another culture feels like an odd and even controversial decision. The question of why Atlantis can’t have its own culture, apart from the surface dwellers that they’ve had to withstand for generations, is kind of tough to get on board with simply because those who have followed the comics have never seen even a hint of Aztec culture among Atlantis or its people. If it’s been there, then it’s been well hidden.
Atlantis and Wakanda aren’t strangers in the comics.
These two nations have met before in the comics, but in the MCU, it’s easy to see how things will get turned around and redone in several ways since this is how Disney wants it, and this is how it will happen. But there’s change; then there’s retooling that can ruin a story or change so much that the fans no longer recognize it. Granted, a guy with a trident who lives in the ocean and has command over the seven seas is hard to mistake for anyone else. Still, the idea that anyone would think that Namor is a generic character or a knockoff of DC’s Aquaman hasn’t read the comics and doesn’t know the character well enough. Namor is quite different from Aquaman in a few ways, not the least of which is their temperament. Plus, Atlantis and Wakanda do have a history in the comics.
There was plenty of material to pull from without copying any storylines.
It’s been noted since the MCU started that the initial storylines have been upheld at times and changed at others, which is fine. However, it was regrettable that the MCU didn’t have access to the wide selection of heroes and villains they do now for Infinity Saga since Namor was a part of the Infinity Gauntlet in the comics. But at this point, it feels as though the MCU is glossing over a great deal of what the comics have to offer in favor of bringing something entirely different to the people, as the act of re-creating Namor and his people as ancestors of the Aztecs feels like an odd move considering that Atlantis had a culture all mapped out in the comics. It wouldn’t have taken anything above a gentle tweak to make sure it could be accepted. There’s nothing to say that the Aztec angle won’t work, it’s simply a question of why it was necessary and why supplanting one culture for another wouldn’t be considered a hypocritical move.
At some point, asking why things are changing this way might sound like a lot of whining.
The truth is that while it might sound like whining, it’s more akin to an honest question as to why anyone would think it’s a great idea to force another culture onto a character and his people that already had an established identity in the comics. Copying everything isn’t necessary, but allowing Namor and his people to retain their fictional identity feels like a better idea than forcing another identity onto them. Some people are bound to wonder why it matters, and their point is also valid since, being fictional, it’s straightforward to state that it’s not that big of a deal when all is said and done. But keeping some elements the same as they are in the comics sounds like a better idea than forcing reality upon them in this manner. Suppose one wants to compare Namor to Aquaman. In that case, it should be stated that the DC version of Atlantis was allowed to thrive without being completely disregarded for one reason or another.
It’s interesting how fans react when the movie hits the big screen.
Many fans are already waiting for anticipation to see what will happen and how Namor and his people will interact with the Wakandans. But, of course, there are more significant issues to worry over when it comes to the movie since the whole idea of who will be the next Black Panther and how it will work out has a lot of people excited to see this movie hit the big screen.
It’s interesting how culture doesn’t matter in fiction until people want it to.