The praise heaped upon Black Panther: Wakanda Forever has kind of a saccharine feel to it since the MCU has gone out of their way to make sure that they ‘honor’ Chadwick Boseman while using his name and likeness as much as possible to squeeze every cent they can out of the movies. The truth is that the man made the character, there’s no denying that, but his family made it clear that they had no issue with recasting him, which would have allowed for a stronger and more endearing story since, with all due respect to Shuri, she didn’t come off as a leader in this movie. Even when she assumed the mantle of the Black Panther, she was less convincing than Killmonger in the first movie. Whether it was her grief, her need for revenge, or the sudden reversal that came about during her fight with Namor, which she shouldn’t have been able to finish, she didn’t come across as the type of person to be looked up to as a leader. But strangely, that’s not the hypocrisy that needs to be addressed at this point since the loss of a chance to provide a much-needed cameo that might have given this movie a little more promise was felt when there was no connection to a certain doctor who a lot of people have been waiting to hear might be coming to the MCU.
It wouldn’t have taken much to mention Latveria, at the very least.
Apparently, any and all mention of Doctor Doom was left out of this movie to make sure that it was kept as a self-contained movie that told the story of a nation’s grief at the loss of their king and protector. That’s strange because an Easter egg can be small and innocuous as well as big and glaring, like say, a cameo or a post-credit scene. It’s agreed that a post-credit scene might not have worked quite as well, even though the reveal of the son of T’Challa doesn’t come across as much of a shock unless people are willing to say that it does. At any given time, the mention of Latveria, or the ruler of this small country, could have been made in an offhand sort of way, just to connect Doom to the MCU finally. But hey, that would have been too much to inject into this movie, right? Instead, it was okay to show how Americans and everyone else are greedy and how Wakanda is a peaceful place that just wants to be left alone. Of course, someone did say something about opening the nation to the world, remember? Oh, right, it was the guy that they killed off with a virus rather than letting him die like a hero.
It’s a bit interesting how certain characters get to grieve for an entire movie while others need to sharpen up quickly and get back to the world.
Look at it this way, when other characters have undergone tragedies, they get only so much time to grieve before things have to move on, and they have to suck it up and get moving. Shuri, while she does lose her brother and mother in the same movie, is seen to wallow in her grief and do the bare minimum to get back to a level base, which must mean that emotionally she’s much weaker than many other characters, or perhaps the MCU is simply making allowances to make things work so that she can take the needed time to grieve. The other characters can just suck it up and move on because their loss isn’t that bad, right? If anything, it feels like Shuri is an insulated kid that suddenly realized that life can and will take people from her at any given time and wasn’t ready for the experience.
The ‘self-contained’ nature of this movie kind of compounds the hypocrisy that was put into the character in the first place.
It’s kind of interesting how Black Panther was able to be inserted into other movies, as was Shuri, and yet this sequel was meant to be self-contained because it preserved the character of the story and allowed it to be a cultural masterpiece that wouldn’t suffer from any interference. So, by that measure, perhaps Captain America: Civil War should have eschewed Black Panther, and Infinity Saga could have done without him and Shuri as well. Obviously, that’s not the case since their technology was needed to help with Vision and the Soul Stone, but the general feeling is that the Black Panther movies were meant to be as exclusive as possible, while the other MCU movies are meant to make room for anyone and everyone that is desired to be seen in them. Oh well.
The idea that the rest of the MCU needs to back off and let this movie happen while still worrying about representation and diversity is a headscratcher.
This movie was a woke mess that only gets worse as one continues to think about the need it had to be so exclusive. At this time, it does feel that diversity and inclusion are one-way streets that are used when the MCU needs to appear as woke as possible.
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