Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is finally playing in theaters worldwide. The highly anticipated Black Panther 2 launched on Thursday, so plenty of fans might already know the story. Whether you saw it or you’re about to see it, you might realize that Wakanda Forever has a massive Endgame issue that sort of ruins the story of Namor (Tenoch Huerta).
Namor is Marvel’s newest villain — a mutant leading a powerful underwater nation that’s been living in secret for hundreds of years. Talokan is an even bigger mystery to the world than Wakanda. And we might see Namor in future MCU adventures, given how careful Marvel has been not to paint him as a full-fledged evil villain.
But Marvel seems to have forgotten an incredible detail in Namor’s history which should not be missing from a movie like Wakanda Forever: Everything that happened on Earth from Infinity War to Endgame. Before we explain this plot issue, we’ll warn you that big spoilers follow below.
The main Black Panther 2 conflict
We’ve known since the first trailer that the next Black Panther will fight Namor (Tenoch Huerta) in Wakanda Forever. Therefore, we’ve known the war would be the most important conflict in the sequel.
Marvel also told the world that the main action in Black Panther 2 happens one year after the death of T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman). Therefore, it’s well after Endgame.
Separately a massive Wakanda Forever plot leak dropped a few days ago, revealing that Namor comes to the surface because of vibranium. Years after the events in Endgame, the world wants vibranium, and it will not get it from Wakanda.
It turns out there’s vibranium in the ocean, and the Talokan has used it to develop their own underwater world.
Riri Williams (Dominique Thorne) is the gifted teenager who invents a revolutionary vibranium detector, setting in motion the action in Wakanda Forever. Namor wants to kill Riri to prevent the world from discovering his nation. And he wants Wakanda’s help to wage war against the surface world.
That’s the gist of the story and the reason why the two nations will go to war. After all, nobody would expect Wakanda to find Namor’s requests reasonable.
The big Endgame detail that Wakanda Forever ignores
Namor seems genuinely interested in ensuring that no harm will come to his people. Just as Marvel said, he’s a hero in his own mind. He doesn’t set out to conquer the world; he responds to perceived threats. However, he does so rather impulsively.
His hatred toward the surface world is understandable, given what happened to his people some 500 years ago. That’s the kind of trauma that doesn’t go away, especially in a world that’s secluded from others, impervious to other opinions and perspectives that could reshape minds and help people heal.
But what Marvel ignores in all of this is what Thanos (Josh Brolin) did in Infinity War. The Mad Titan wiped out half of all living beings in the universe with the help of the Infinity Stones. It all happened dispassionately and somewhat equitably. The stones objectively chose who lives and dies.
By that logic, half of the Talokan population must have turned to ash in the ocean. There was no safe place to hide from Thanos’s snap. It killed birds and fish, not just people. Namor would have witnessed all of that, not knowing what was happening. Maybe he was dusted as well.
Five years later, half of the Talokan would have returned to life. Namor and his people would have had time to understand what had happened. And realize that the surface world, with the Avengers at the helm, beat a different Thanos to preserve all life in the universe. Talokan life included.
Speaking of the Avengers, the lack of Avengers activity in Wakanda Forever is the film’s big plot hole and a troubling theme for Marvel’s MCU Phase 4.
How Marvel can fix this Black Panther 2 plot issue
With that in mind, Namor’s fierce hatred toward the world just a few years after Endgame feels unwarranted. He’s not a psycho who can’t help himself but be evil. Going after Riri after what the Avengers did for him seems petty. Talk of waging war against the surface is even more troubling when you think of Endgame.
Namor should be thankful that the surface helped him and his people by fixing a problem he couldn’t have. If he were alive to do it during the blip, that is.
Not even Shuri (Letitia Wright) tries to make that point while reasoning with him that the surface world helped Talokan, whether Namor likes it or not.
Marvel is dying to move away from Endgame in its MCU stories. But you can’t ignore that world-ending event that marked the entire universe. It’s like moving on after COVID and pretending the pandemic years never happened, or that they did not influence everyday life in ways we couldn’t have foreseen in early 2020.
Marvel can still fix this plot hole. The end of Wakanda Forever tells us that Namor still expects to play a role in the surface wars that might follow. So Marvel has time to explain what Namor was up to during Infinity War and Endgame. And why his actions in Wakanda Forever indicate he didn’t care that much about the huge debt he has to the Avengers.
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