Why Is Riri Williams Treated Like an Infinity Stone McGuffin in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever?

Full spoilers ahead for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is in theaters, and the highly anticipated sequel has a lot of roles to fill. It’s the next blockbuster installment in one of Marvel’s most important franchises, an exciting tribute to the late Chadwick Boseman, and a poster for the next phase of the ongoing MCU saga. Not only does it introduce Namor and the people of Talokan, and set the stage for the MCU’s version of mutantsbut also introducing the latest in a long line of young, upcoming superheroes coming out in Phase 4: Riri Williamsseen in the comics Ironheart, which will appear in its spin-off series on Disney + in 2023.

However, while Riri’s intention in Wakanda Forever is to generate excitement for her own show and the behind-the-scenes scenes of future teams, the way she’s used in the film works against that goal. . Before becoming a fully fleshed out person that people can fit into, Riri (who is played by Dominique Thorne) is treated like a designer for different characters and with parts of the film to contend with, such as the way the Infinity Stones were used in the Infinity Saga. How did this happen? Let’s take a look.

Riri Williams: A Chosen Debut

Although on the surface, with a character like Riri Williams in Wakanda Forever, it is not a dead-end idea, the way it is put into the idea is very demanding. After a prologue showing T’Challa’s funeral, the story begins properly with a vibranium detector being used by the CIA in the middle of the ocean to try to find new packets of that miracle metal, only the American tour group is attacked and killed. by Namor and the warriors of Talokan, an underwater civilization (and the MCU’s take on Atlantis). Soon after, Riri Williams, an MIT student and engineering prodigy, was revealed to be the one who designed the device. This puts him on Namor’s radar as a threat he needs to eliminate, something he orders Shuri and the Wakandans to do – or face an attack from his army. .

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However, Riri isn’t the only one who doesn’t know much completely finished This is until Shuri and Okoye arrive at his bedroom, but we don’t get a chance to understand who he is and how he’s going to mess things up before the show begins. planning. The question of how the CIA found the informant in the first place without Riri’s knowledge remains up in the air. The longer you think about it, the more you see the article about a pretzel to justify Riri’s inclusion, and the movie tries to convince people of this fact. Fast forward to a chase scene where the Wakandans, the Talokanil, and the FBI are all trying to get him. Riri’s inclusion was not required by the needs of the story, but in simple fact it was just that. necessary stay there, even if it means leaving the first class as a collection of noodles.

Questions but no answers

Regardless of how she is framed in the story, it is questionable whether Riri was created in a specific way or served a related thematic purpose. However, he does none of that, instead acting as a chess piece for all sides to fight against. The idea that Riri’s work could cause the world to teach Namor’s government the reason he gave for the need to kill him, but this ignores the fact that the CIA has vibranium in the ocean, and they. will probably try again to get it. Although the CIA blames the Wakandans for the attack on their trip, the cat is out of the bag because the new investigation from the US government will not show the existence of Talokan.

Shuri’s refusal to allow Namor to kill Riri is part of what drives a wedge between them as Namor says he wants to join Wakanda instead of fighting. Riri was not a part of this conversation, but she was left in Talokan’s custody for the duration of this process while important people discussed what to do with her. For a story with machinations that are heavily built around Riri or someone who can join her at any moment, it doesn’t really care what Riri thinks about what’s going on. . Does he regret building the detector? Does he feel responsible for the growing tension between Wakanda and Talokan? Is he angry with the government or his school for going behind his back? If there are answers to these questions, the film doesn’t want to find them.

We don’t learn much about Riri’s character other than the basics: “she’s very smart” and “she wants to never die.” It can be argued that most of his character is meant to be done in his solo story, where he is the protagonist and the story could have spent more time developing him. This is true, but it only reinforces Wakanda Forever’s approach to treating him as a character, not acknowledging his great work and leaving only a valid reason for his participation in the campaign. for his own story. What’s even more strange is that Riri dressed herself in a superhero costume in the movie, but the story doesn’t give her any reason to make her look like Iron Man, although his superhero form of Ironheart is a real departure from him. in the story.

America Chavez and a disaster

None of the things we talked about were about Riri and her use of Wakanda Forever as a movie. At least one supporter among those short-changed is kind of a hit for a class with movies of this size. What makes Riri famous is how it’s treated, and it’s not the first time that “the new young person making their movie” has been used as something that people soldier and all the bad things to catch. In fact, a new version of this was made earlier this year as well American Chavez to Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.

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In that movie, it is America that Scarlet Witch wants to kidnap because she needs the girl’s natural powers in order to find a world where she can reunite with her children, Billy and Tommy. Similarly, Doctor Strange is trying to keep America out of Wanda’s hands and prevent her plan. Like the Infinity Stones, America often changes hands between heroes and villains. But unlike the Stones, America is not an inanimate creature, and it is not given many scenes where we learn everything about its character as a person. He has a short story about getting his parents killed by first using his powers, and a cursory arc about believing in himself so he can make fun of Wanda in the end, but in the context of the whole film he is more. of a piece of work rather than the third form.

The reason for this is that Riri and America are new heroes who are expected to be part of the team that will take this franchise forward for years to come. The MCU has made a point of introducing a whole bunch of characters that could be part of a hypothetical. Young Avengers list, such as Billy and Tommy Maximoff, Cassie Lang, Eli Bradley, Kate Bishopa Kamala Khan. Although the development of some of these scenes is better than others, especially Kate and Kamala lead their Disney + show, the fact that two young heroes are reduced large (of color!) model. If the MCU really wants us to root for these new heroes, they need to find a better reason to include them in a story than “because the company asked us to.”

For more on the movie, check out our Wakanda Forever post-credits explain, dig up our priorities Black Panther 2 hot questionsand read ours assessment!

Carlos Morales writes Mass Effect novels, articles and stories. You can follow his edits at Twitter.


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