Wakanda Forever

#345: Lara, Marc, and Link discuss Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, its representations of grief, and how we resonated with the storytelling.


Marc Cuiriz 0:11
Welcome to GT radio on the Geek Therapy network. Here at Geek Therapy. We believe that the best way to understand each other and ourselves is through the media we care about. My name is Marc Cuiriz and I am joined by Lara Taylor.

Lara Taylor 0:23

Marc Cuiriz 0:25
And Link Keller.

Link Keller 0:26

Marc Cuiriz 0:28
So guys, this has been a long time coming, Huh?

Link Keller 0:32

Lara Taylor 0:33
I mean, I’ve been wanting to talk about it. When? When? Like, November, November? November.

Marc Cuiriz 0:40
November, yes,

Lara Taylor 0:41
November. Yeah, November.

Marc Cuiriz 0:44
Whew, man.

Lara Taylor 0:45
It’s been months. Yeah.

Marc Cuiriz 0:47
Yeah, Wakanda Forever. ooooh Finally touching you guys because they finally came out on Disney plus, what was it Friday? Right?

Lara Taylor 1:00
I don’t know. Because I watched it in the theater twice.

Marc Cuiriz 1:06
I mean, yeah, I watched it in theater. Opening night and I cried.

Lara Taylor 1:14
I cried a lot too. I feel like a lot of people cried a lot.

Link Keller 1:19
I watched it last night. I did not cry.

Lara Taylor 1:23
That’s so sad.

Marc Cuiriz 1:25
that’s big sad.

Lara Taylor 1:27
I cried at the beginning and the end.

Marc Cuiriz 1:30
So So tell me guys what what were your what were your thoughts?

Lara Taylor 1:35
I loved it enough to go see it again. Although, to be fair, the first time I saw it, we were the drive-in the car battery died. Spoilers time already. Right before Ramonda dies. And so I missed all of that. Except for the parts with subtitles. And I was still moved by what happened. I just didn’t see exactly what happened. Because I was dealing with getting battery jumped. But I saw it the second time around. And again, I loved it. And also like, oh, that’s what I missed. Okay. Now some other things make some more sense. But I thought it was great. I thought there were a lot of good themes of grief in there. And growth. So those are my thoughts.

Marc Cuiriz 2:33
Link, what, what sort of thoughts did you have?

Link Keller 2:39
Um…here at Geek Therapy. we try not to be too critical or yuck people’s yums so I’m going to do my best. It was not my favorite movie. There were parts about it. I enjoyed. I do think that the stuff where they were touching on grief was the strongest part of the movie. And clearly the weight of that is so important because of Chadwick Boseman’s death. So both the fictional characters and also all of the real people who knew him were grieving his actual loss. And I definitely thought that that was the strongest part of the movie but I wish that they had honed in and focused on just that instead of trying to do all of the other stuff that I felt like really undermines the emotional parts and it felt like too much like Marvel movie setup stuff that I did not really vibe with. But I will say Ruth E Carter, the costume designer. Ruth if you’re listening to our podcast, will you marry me because oh my god. Every outfit is a 10 out of 10 I could not look away it was a visual treat. Absolutely loved the costume design. i

Lara Taylor 4:05
If she does not win the Oscar for costume design it is it’s over?

Link Keller 4:11
I am because I am I gotta check if it’s still happening there was at the Seattle Museum

Lara Taylor 4:19
The costume

Link Keller 4:19
Yeah, they had her exhibit up there and I was gonna go with a friend and something didn’t work out and we ended up not going and I’m like super bummed like God I hope it’s either still there or it comes back again so I can see it because I love her costume design is so gorgeous. But yeah, that’s my baseline feelings about about Wakanda forever I thought the the opening not not the opening scene but the beginning part of the movie when they are doing the funeral procession was the coolest part of the movie i loved that

Lara Taylor 4:58
which was which was taken from actual like, so I can’t remember which tribe or tribes but act from actual African like funeral processions

Link Keller 5:09
that I am I am not familiar with most African funeral ritual, I do have some familiarity with like American, like black American funeral rituals, but I thought it was really beautiful to see and it definitely felt real. So yeah I liked that a lot

Lara Taylor 5:32
I don’t send them into into space in a thing.

Link Keller 5:36
I mean, I’m, I’m not gonna say that. I don’t know

Lara Taylor 5:40
Yeah, who knows? Maybe there is?

Link Keller 5:42
Who knows? But yeah, no, I thought that that was really emotionally impactful. I thought the, again, the costuming having everybody in White was so beautiful. Having the the use of the slomo in that scene was really great. It felt very much like, respectful of people who lose somebody and what that that feels like to exist within. while also bringing, you know, the big screen experience of getting to see so much stuff happening at once like that. It was really cool. I really liked that scene.

Lara Taylor 6:22
Yeah, yeah. Um, one of the things when you brought up Link your offline talking about your thoughts, and I had a feeling, overarching narrative, like wasn’t going to be what you were drawn to, but like the individual stories of grief and the individual character, the characters we love, and I think, yeah, you’re asking for like more of that.

Link Keller 6:47
If it had been a movie that was just focused on women’s grief, which it did in a lot of parts, like that was like the emotional through line there is is looking at the Queen and the princess dealing with the death of T’Challa. And how that ripples out through their community, including internationally, like having it be narratively focused on that I felt like would have strengthened to the entire thing, but it had to squeeze in so many other things happening.

Lara Taylor 7:19
Of course,

Link Keller 7:19
I was like, okay, all right. Okay, like, uhhhh

Lara Taylor 7:24
some things I was like, Okay, we did we, I felt most lost when like our CIA. Friends were around. I really liked Riri Williams, and I’m really looking forward to her show. But, yeah, my favorite parts for Shuri, Ramonda, Nakia, Okoye. uhh It was, those are the important pieces and looking at especially Shuri, who has literally lost her entire family. And what that does to her

Link Keller 8:07
What do you think, Marc? Hmm,

Marc Cuiriz 8:11
you guys are bringing up a whole lot of just tidbits of goodness here. And I think when I watched it, because I’ve only seen it, I only saw it once I didn’t go see it again. I haven’t had a chance to rewatch it. But when I watched the first time I think that a lot of my opinions of it and my views of it or were skewed because I was like oh, this is a Marvel movie. This is Black Panther. Like the first one was so good. And so I walked in. And just with it being a Marvel movie, I guess I was able to turn my brain off to my analyzing side of it, and just sit there and be able to enjoy the movie for what it was

Link Keller 8:55
there is something very wonderful about having that power.

Marc Cuiriz 8:58
It’s it’s a wonderful superpower.

Link Keller 9:01
I would also say I think viewing this movie in theaters is like the intended viewing experience. So I feel like you guys like you know, I have a okay TV. I sit close to it. But um, I you know, I was watching it at home by myself. I did. I did watch. Black Panther in theaters is the only movie I’ve ever gone to see by myself, which was like a big deal at the time. Now I’m like, Oh, I don’t go to theaters anymore because COVID But I do I do think that like getting the like full sound system because also the audio design was very good.

Lara Taylor 9:42

Link Keller 9:42
that would definitely elevate the experience.

Lara Taylor 9:45
um having gone to the drive in. The visual wasn’t so great for me. There was the helicopter scene towards the beginning. I was like, what just like and it was the second time around. I was Like, how did that helicopter like, get pulled out of the sky? And I was like, Oh yeah, he has wings on his feet. But

Link Keller 10:09
there were a couple of scenes that were like, real dark, really hard to see what’s going on. Which felt, yeah, sort of, out of place in Black Panther,

Lara Taylor 10:19
being in my car with a really nice sound system that rumbles was really nice. And at home, we have a home theater with a sound bar and a subwoofer. So it makes things really nice and almost theatrical to watch things at home as well. So I am probably Yeah, I get the best of the visual and audio experience most of the time. But I really enjoyed the movie. And I was having fun the whole time and figuring out trying to figure out what’s going on. I know it’s a Marvel movie, I know, they’re gonna pack a bunch of stuff in and that’s the stuff I’m usually looking for. Because they are catering to the nerd that is me. So

Marc Cuiriz 11:05
but I think what was really cool was it was incorporating my culture is a part of like, I feel like now my culture has really entered the Marvel Universe. And it feels kind of weird for me to say, because I’ve never really identified with a lot of my Mexican culture. But I think just seeing it there was like, I was like, Oh, wow, that’s really cool. And then the other part of me was like, wow, so we’re the bad guys in this movie. But obviously, it’s a lot more

Lara Taylor 11:43
but also not

Marc Cuiriz 11:45
yeah, exactly.

Lara Taylor 11:45
it’s colonizers

Marc Cuiriz 11:47
Exactly. Exactly. It’s the colonizers. So like it, but in my head that like that was like a little joke that I made in my head. I was like, wow, what were the bad guys here? Okay, I get it. But all in all, it was it was a really, I really enjoyed it. It was a really nice viewing experience for me. But when I was hearing, when reading Link’s, opinions about it offline and Josué’s as well, I was like, hmm, it got me to rethink on my experience in the movie, and there were a lot of things that I was able to kind of like think back and recognize and be like, Okay, I can see where you’re coming from I see those points

Lara Taylor 12:27
don’t let them steal your joy Marc.

Marc Cuiriz 12:29
I still really enjoy the movie. It’s not like all of a sudden, I hate the movie now. Like this, you know, this movie is not good to me. No, I still very much enjoyed the movie, and I enjoyed my experience. But I do see how my opinion like because it was a Marvel movie. And because it was brand new. And because the first Black Panther was so good, I could see how because I turned my brain off and was just able to enjoy the movie. My I can definitely see how I overlooked a lot of things and didn’t quite pay attention to a lot of things. Kind of like like how you guys are talking about like the women’s grief part of things. While obviously it’s all there, and I can see that I didn’t put a whole lot of focus into that particular piece. I think I’m more so focused on the different stages of grief just as a general piece. And it’s more more specifically with with Shuri’s anger towards everything. And her resentment that grows towards just the world as a whole and how that ultimately feeds into sort of the Black Panther that she’s choosing to become which is more vengeful, a little bit more serious then I’d say T’Challa was because obviously, you know when she undergoes the transformation, and she goes to the ancestral plane, she doesn’t see her family like she really wants to, because that’s not who she’s the most connected to at that moment. It’s killmonger and he’s sort of having her realize that Shuri and him are a lot of like in the same sense because they’re choosing to enact their grief and their pain in the same way.

Lara Taylor 14:29
I think about that fact that like she’s expecting to see her mother there and I was like, you think about she rejects everything about how her mother is grieving T’Challa. And so of course she’s gonna see killmonger

Marc Cuiriz 14:47
Yeah, like

Lara Taylor 14:48
of course,

Marc Cuiriz 14:48
they both decided like, like when you draw the parallels from it from the first movie and with the with killmonger and Shuri you can see the definitely see a lot of their similarities how They chose to instead of to kind of sit there with the grief and the pain and really process through it and come to terms with it, they chose to what was Shuri, she’s trying to do everything she can to avoid it, to ignore it. And I think with killmonger, he’s doing a lot of he wants to take action in hopes that the actions will make the feelings go away, when in reality, they’re not. But in that sense, like, they’re both trying to achieve the same goal of running away from the pain that they’re feeling for him. It’s the loss of his father. And for her, it’s, you know, her mom, brother, literally everybody else. So I thought that parallel between the two characters that I initially I didn’t even think it was a surprise to me when I saw it. But afterwards, I was like, that makes a whole lot of sense, considering how Shuri was throughout the whole film. And it’s also interesting to see just how like her character has developed over the course of the films and how much she’s grown as a person, but also just how drastically different her view of the world has been since the very beginning, when she goes, ‘what are those?’ to This stuff is stupid, and forget about this, because it’s not going to bring anybody back. So I’m just gonna focus on my technology.

Lara Taylor 16:27
Well, because it’s essentially from when the world discovered Wakanda what Wakanda actually was. Her world has been destroyed in so many different ways. And she’s been on this ride and can’t get off. Yeah, yeah, I didn’t, I haven’t read. So one thing that I appreciated about the previous movie, and this one, all, I have been someone who’s read all of Ta-Nehisi Coates and Roxane Gay’s version of Black Panther and world of Wakanda. And there were so many little nods and things that were included that made it so rich and good. And I’ve read a couple of other Black Panther runs, as well. But I haven’t read a lot of like, what Shuri’s experience was like, because in the comics, like T-Challa, dies, and then comes back or they or he dies, they don’t know where he is. And she has to be the Black Panther. And then I think she dies and then is pulled out of the ancestral plane and comes back. Because not sure if this one is accurate, but I think because T’Challa is going away to space or went missing going through a black hole or something. So there’s a very different Shuri. And I I hope that some of it was pulled from the stories in the comics. But yeah, lots of grief. Lots of different kinds of grief, lots of different I don’t know Okoye is also grieving, right? Grieving her, her best friend, her king, dying. And then she loses her job. That is everything she is and eventually gets to rise as as a midnight Angel. Which is so cool. In the comics. Aneka? Anika? who is the other midnight angel in the movie, and her partner IO are the midnight angels in the comics. And I was kind of hoping that we’re going there, but at least we got a little we got we got a little queer kiss

Link Keller 18:55
a little gay as a treat. Yum, yum, yum.

Lara Taylor 18:58
It actually happened. I wasn’t imagining it. So that was nice. And I think about all the things that Ryan Coogler had to balance in making this movie right all the Marvel stuff that like we have to make sure we get this in for the like a Riri Williams so we’re setting up the show. We got to set up the Thunderbolts with Madame Hydra and and all of this and he still manages to bring it full circle. There might be some pieces missing in the middle, but like, it’s about T’Challa and Chadwick Boseman and losing him and how, like they, like I said, and I will still stand by it. I think it’s a wonderful tribute to him, and I feel his presence in the movie without him being there.

Link Keller 19:52
I mean, they did give you two whole montages. So like don’t forget

Lara Taylor 19:57
don’t forget the Second, they did. And the same thing happened but not to the same extent when they did the Stanley tribute in the Marvel logo. I got teary eyed there with this one. Chadwick Boseman. Being all the scenes in the Marvel logo that got me and then watching Shuri try to save him and being unable to see him. I feel like that hits home for me in a lot of movies is that like trying to save somebody desperately and knowing you have the skill and the power to do it and you can’t? I think that one is, is particularly hard.

Link Keller 20:36
I think that that was like a really good directorial choice to have him being sick and dying off screen, we are just in Shuri’s point of view, we are experiencing her and then cutting to the Marvel opening montage. And it’s all him. I think that that was actually a really good choice because it does center him as such an important part of the story without focusing on him being sick and dying, like visually, like relying on that kind of visual impact for emotion is

Lara Taylor 21:13
that it’s already done.

Link Keller 21:14
it’s painful, we don’t need to do that. Instead focusing on Shuri’s pain experiencing that, I think was an important choice.

Marc Cuiriz 21:24
Yeah, it was the thing that when when it came on, like you could feel it in the entire theater, like everybody was hit. It was such an emotionally charged and powerful moment. From that scene all the way through the the Marvel logo opening. It boy, it hit me it hit me hard. And I wasn’t expecting it right out of the gate like that. But they they came swinging. But then But then yeah. Having it really just be focused on Shuri’s point of view. And then we’re basically on this whole grieving journey with her throughout the whole rest of the film, I think is is really nice. But I do think now that I look back on it that the trying to cram a lot of the stuff in there. It’s good for what they were doing. But I do think it it at times, it was a bit much and sort of just detracting and derailing itself from the act, what the actual story was supposed to be.

Lara Taylor 22:32
And some of the like, I don’t know, the the shock and the anticipation and all of that. I think that you felt Marc, we went to go see it. Opening weekend. Everybody knew what would let like, we didn’t know exactly what was going to happen, but we knew he was gonna die. We knew that there was no way they were keeping and recasting T’Challa. So it’s like that moment, we were all waiting in anticipation for like the shock of him dying and the grief that we were going to feel and that these people who had worked with him on the previous movie were feeling while doing this. And I think that added another layer of like knowing that some of those tears were probably real. So we watched it at a time when it was on everyone’s minds and there was like a collective grief going on. Link and Josué just watched it and there’s not that same context even though their own personal experiences might have waiting to see what happens. Were there it just wasn’t in that swept up in that collective grief possible.

Link Keller 23:44
Yeah, I definitely think that’s that’s a big part of it is the experience of being in a shared space with people who very much wants to be there for opening like specifically, I’m going to see opening night like that vibe brings a lot to the experiences. Fantastic if you if you get to do that with something that you care about. That’s that’s quite an experience. Yeah, yeah, I um I I I like I said before, I thought that the grief stuff was the the most interesting and impactful part of the movie. So when they sort of shifted away from that to do other plot stuff and introduce new characters and stuff. It felt a little bit like it’s like, get that out of my way. I want to see I want to see the good stuff, for me. But yeah,

Lara Taylor 24:39
and some of that is also related. Like Namor is also feeling some grief. He’s long removed from it, probably but like, the grief of his mom dying And then also the grief of what his world was before it, people started figuring it out and knowing that there’s something down there and like, this grief of like not being able to like, stay, it’s not protected and hidden anymore and the world is changing. Yeah. And some of it also, like, I think some of those pieces are there to be how Shuri works through her grief and moves through things. Like there’s all all of the interactions having to go find Nakia and even though that wasn’t her, but trying to figure these things out, and I don’t know, it’s her way of working through things and yes, most of the scenes involving our the CIA agents, I’m like, Why?

Link Keller 25:58
They could’ve cut all of that.

Lara Taylor 26:00
There was no point, there was no point.

Link Keller 26:02
like, I love Julia Louis-Dreyfus like I love her and I as like chef’s kiss, calling Martin Freeman colonizer to his face is still funny. It’s still funny, but they could cut all of that stuff. mmm Yeah, the Namor whole plotline I feel very conflicted about because he was entrancing. When he was on screen. I was eyeballs on him and he was so charismatic. And like, I was like his design with the little wings and his ears and his necklace piece with the pearls. Like, loved that and the way that taka taco lon, fuck. I’m forgetting the name. Oh, no. The city, the city that he’s from the underwater city. Whoo. I’m really embarrassed. I messed that up. It’s fine. Keep going. That city looked gorgeous. The people looked really cool. Like visually, so so intriguing. Interesting. I was so excited about it. But they didn’t let any of his supporting characters have any depth at all, which was really disappointing. i

Lara Taylor 27:40
The city is Talokan

Link Keller 27:43
Talokan. Thank you. Um, I did not like that. He and his people were antagonists to the Wakandans.

Lara Taylor 27:56
Which again, it’s like it’s similar, but not quite to the first movie where he’s not really the villain like, yeah, we’ll understand why he’s doing what he’s doing. He’s not really the villain, colonizers. Modern world that is the villain, but they pushed it. It was different

Link Keller 28:15
Killmonger’s whole thing was like, had a lot more depth to it. I kept getting hung up on the like, you’re worried about people finding your underwater lair. So you’re going to kill a scientist to created a tool that a government is using? Like, why isn’t the government your focus there? And then why would you redirect that towards the other group of isolationist indigenous group? Like, I was just like, I was like, the government’s already blaming Wakanda like if you don’t show up, if you don’t say anything

Lara Taylor 28:59
It’s Wakanda,

Link Keller 29:00
you’re skate free here, nobody’s coming after you. You’re gonna start an international conflict. And that’s kind of shitty, but like, you would be fine. Nobody would come looking for you.

Marc Cuiriz 29:10
but it’s not your international conflict.

Link Keller 29:12
shush Don’t say anything. was like, No, I really got to kill that kid.

Lara Taylor 29:20
Yeah, which like is, that whole setup is so that you get to have basically have Shuri come to grips with like, what kind of Black Panther is she going to be? Who does she want to be? What does she want to do with the world that she’s in? How does she where’s her morals? Right?

Link Keller 29:43
Yeah, yeah, I like

Lara Taylor 29:44
don’t let people kill the other smart black people. That’s what Shuri’s morals are

Marc Cuiriz 29:50
Yeah, and I definitely think what also kind of makes what made Killmonger a little bit more of an effective antagonist in the story was that, like Link said, there was a lot of depth there. And there was a chance to really build on the character and really solidify his roots in his origins. And sort of give the reasoning as to why and it made sense for the context of the story here, like we were saying, with Namor he is, he’s the only character in their whole civilization that really gets any sort of depth,

Lara Taylor 30:31
other than his mom. Right?

Marc Cuiriz 30:33
exactly. And even then that’s told through

Lara Taylor 30:36
flashbacks, yeah,

Marc Cuiriz 30:39
like, we get a little bit of that, but it’s playing into him and how he became the way that he had that he is. And everyone else is just, just like, they’re just his people. And they’re, they’re the ones that just do what he tells them to do. So like there’s nothing there. So they’re the ones that are going to follow the orders without question. If he says attack, they’re going to go until he tells them to stop. So it’s just like a we’re doing we’re doing as we’re told, and we have no remorse for this. And then, you know, then Link, you make the fair point of like, okay, so we’re gonna go after one person and not the real enemy, the government. Like the government’s the real enemy here. And we’re not we’re we’re being distracted by college age, child.

Lara Taylor 31:34
Yeah, it like literally, you already destroyed the ship that was looking for it and the tool so?

Link Keller 31:44
they successfully did that mission like it really it’s like it the it leads back into like, Marvel is always setting up the next thing. And so it’s like, it was very much I was like, Oh, this like, the reason that they’re so focused on on Riri is because she’s Ironman Jr. And so it’s like, you have to kill the Iron Man is like, hyper focus on that instead of getting into like, more nuanced stuff about international politics and resource management and, and all that stuff. Again, I really liked like, the visuals of Namor and his people. And I wish that we had gotten more time to like, explore that, like, the closest we got is when M’Baku is like, they see him as a god. Like they’re not calling him king. They are they are referring to him as a god. And he’s got this huge underwater temple. And I’m like, I want to know, like, what are their people like? Like, what, what are they doing down there for hundreds of years, while the rest of the world is doing its own thing? Like, how, you know, having a leadership person who doesn’t die? Like what does that do to a people and their culture? Like I’m so intrigued by all of that, and they’re just like, No, no, no. They’ve got a shark throne. Isn’t that cool? And I’m like, Yes, it is very cool. Oh, but I want more

Lara Taylor 33:13
and the sun under the water. Like that’s really cool. But,

Link Keller 33:17
but then they’re like, We gotta go on to the next thing. We got to do the Iron Man suit. We got to I’m like, okay. All right. I want to know more.

Lara Taylor 33:28
The hope is you’ll get more or the hope is you’ll go buy some comics and read more

Link Keller 33:33
I mean, that’s probably the truth of it. though, they changed a lot, like Namor’s supposed to be from Atlantis? and like unrelated to

Lara Taylor 33:46
I’ve got a feeling you’re gonna do a similar thing to what they’ve done with Aquaman what DC is done with Aquaman I have a feeling we’re gonna get some comics that are this version of Namor because yes, he is a very different character in in the comics

Link Keller 34:10
Yeah, I mean, I was I was compelled I wanted more but [background baby noises] sorry, but I it just it felt like it was too many too many things trying to get squoozed into one really long movie.

Lara Taylor 34:26
And then they sandwich it at the end with a beautiful like, Shuri has finally come to grips with like, who she is, how to how she should grieve for herself. Like everyone gets to grieve differently. She makes this decision for herself but this is how she wants to grieve. And she’s come to this like almost acceptance stage of like he’s gone and goes through the burning of the robes and gets a little bit of a new beginning and a little piece of a brother back and that is is what hit me that little boy. And his like, cute little smile, saying, I am Prince T’Challah son of King T’Challa, just like I want more. I want more of him too. And they only gave us a little thing.

Link Keller 35:19
So Jessica said to me, I didn’t confirm this. But originally, before Chadwick Boseman, died, the second Black Panther movie was supposed to be about him and his son doing adventures or something,

Lara Taylor 35:31
something like that. And also playing into the fact that because T’Challa was was snapped away in the blip, like he was gone in the blip. And so he missed the first five years of his kid’s life. So coming back into that, and learning how to be a dad was essentially what the movie was supposed to be about. And that would have been a really cool movie, I would have really thought,

Link Keller 35:56
yeah, I was, I was talking to Jessica about it. And I was like, I want I don’t, I don’t know if it was Chadwick Boseman’s death, and that the impact on the narrative, or if it was just, this is a Marvel movie sequel, and therefore it has certain things that it needs to do that made this movie not as strong as Black Panther. I couldn’t tell you which way that would go. If it would be a stronger story if it was Namor and T’Challa combating with T-Challa coming from the perspective of like, I’m looking towards the future in the eyes of my child who I’m just, you know, building relationship with

Lara Taylor 36:37
I’m just learning and taking care of, and I want to protect him.

Link Keller 36:39

Lara Taylor 36:39
and his future. Yeah,

Link Keller 36:40
I don’t I don’t know if that would have been more structurally put together than focusing on the grief of the main women characters, and then pairing that with the Namor plot. But yeah, yeah.

Marc Cuiriz 37:01
Yeah, I don’t know, I feel, I feel like this is like the idea of the grief and going through that, and sort of framing in for Shuri, like, sort of forging her own identity. After having all these experiences, and these suffering, all these losses, I think is a more it’s a more compelling story in my eyes, because I feel like the the trope of well, I’m looking towards the future, and I’m trying to preserve the past, I feel like that’s something that kind of gets played on quite a bit. And that even goes to just history in general, because a lot of conflicts is about either being looking towards the future or and trying to change the future or trying to preserve things from the past. And so I just feel like while I think it would have been a cool story idea to see, and, you know, getting more of tiny T’Challa screentime I think that ultimately, this is a more compelling story. But again, yeah, it’s it got watered down and with the cramming of, of all these different ideas, and, you know, suffering from the Marvel sequel tropes of Nope, we gotta set things up for phases nine and 10. Right now in Phase four, or Phase Five, whichever one we’re in now,

Lara Taylor 38:33
Black Panther was the end of phase four.

Marc Cuiriz 38:37
Oh, I thought no way home was I think, I thought Black Panther kicked off phase five? Now that I’m thinking about it. Quick Lara, confirm this.

Lara Taylor 38:52
Just might take a second.

Marc Cuiriz 38:55
But I like I think when after kind of hearing you guys sort of talk about it, I think, if I were to choose, I think I would choose this story of of Wakanda forever, as opposed to the original idea, I still think it would have been really nice and really cool. But I think this ultimately has more weight, and has a lot more to kind of dig deep into because I feel like when it comes to the other stuff, it’s it’s been touched on already. And while I’m sure there’d be a lot of cool and interesting things to talk about there. I don’t know. I just feel like it’s been done.

Link Keller 39:34
I mean, my my favorite part of Black Panther was all of these fantastic, supporting women. And so I was very excited that they were the focus of the sequel, like, as much as I you know, grieved the loss of Chadwick Boseman, and Black Panther, like, very much excited to be like, Yes, ladies. Like, let’s go

Lara Taylor 40:02
Technically, the end of phase four is the Guardians of the Galaxy holiday specials. So Wakanda Forever is in phase four.

Link Keller 40:13
I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I laughed

Marc Cuiriz 40:15
oh man, I loved that special.

Lara Taylor 40:17
It was a great special.

Marc Cuiriz 40:18
That song is just so good,

Lara Taylor 40:20
really good Christmas song. But yeah. So they were wrapping up phase four with this one. And then as we go into quantum mania, that will be Phase Five.

Marc Cuiriz 40:34
Gotcha, gotcha. You know, another thing that I also like, that I thought was really, really great that this movie did was the the developments and the sort of natural leadership that was in M’Baku, because in the very in the first film, you know, he’s, you know,

Lara Taylor 41:01
just kind of a dick.

Marc Cuiriz 41:02
Yeah, for lack of better words. He was he was he was a dick. He just was like, woo woo Yeah, I’m strong. And we have this tribe that’s been cast out from the other civilized folk, and I’m going to live in the mountains. And here he is, providing wisdom and guidance and is doing his best

Lara Taylor 41:21
and comfort Yeah,

Marc Cuiriz 41:21
to offer comfort and support to Shuri will also reminding her of the traditions and sort of helping her to see her mother’s perspective even if she couldn’t see it. And then in the end, finally taking that step and taking the role of King I’m interested to see how the world political field and how that’s all going to play out with M’Baku who now being the king of Wakanda I think that’s gonna be really interesting

Lara Taylor 41:55
can you picture him walking into the that space like that international conference at the beginning that Ramonda is in which that was beautiful, by the way her like talking through like I know someone is stealing or trying to find our Vibranium and trying to build it and do other things and then the very person who’s like, oh, I don’t know because you won’t give it to the rest of the world and who would do that and then I know it was you

Marc Cuiriz 42:30
cuz you just like blindly just called out like all these different countries of like, yeah, we know it was you guys like don’t try to play dumb so don’t come at

Lara Taylor 42:39
we got your soldiers. But like, could you imagine M’Baku going in there like

Marc Cuiriz 42:47
I just imagined anytime he tries to say anything he would just do what he did in the first movie [barks]

Link Keller 42:53
I feel like he’s just like shut it down and we’re closing up borders again like we’re gonna walk back that whole thing we’re

Lara Taylor 43:02

Link Keller 43:02
we actually don’t want to participate in international politics like byeee I do I do really love Winston Duke he’s Yeah, he is a treasure

Lara Taylor 43:20
he really is

Marc Cuiriz 43:27
so guys, what else are we what else is there to kind of I know that we talked such a lot about like the grief and the the growth that kind of takes place especially with Shuri we talked a lot about Namor and all the all that other goodness with with their civilization and us wanting more of it. What else? Is there anything else you guys wanted to touch on? That we haven’t talked about yet?

Lara Taylor 43:55
I just I also just want some more Okoye trying to just be like a regular person because I love her in the sunglasses and she is just like her delivery is beautiful. On all of her lines. And it’s some of the some of the best parts of the movie. are just

Link Keller 44:19
get her her going. You made me a spear. Oh my god. That was probably the closest I got to crying. That was literally like the most emotional, impactful moment is her being like a spear. I missed my spear so much. You’re gonna give me a spear back. Beautiful.

Lara Taylor 44:43
Yeah, yeah. Um, I think the probably one of the funniest moments for me is when she walks out of Riri Williams like bathroom and it’s like I told you I was giving you a few minutes we gots to go, basically. Yeah, no, she is And I think her seriousness, played with the comic relief makes it so much harder when like she like basically has been stripped of her honor and is just like, told to go. Because she’s done nothing but try to protect her people. And sometimes that has backfired.

Marc Cuiriz 45:23
Then she

Lara Taylor 45:23
it’s not her fault that Shuri got kidnapped.

Marc Cuiriz 45:27
And then she has to go all Zuko. And that’s it. Like, I need to reclaim my honor.

Link Keller 45:32

Lara Taylor 45:32
at least you didn’t have to go find the avatar, that would have been really hard.

Marc Cuiriz 45:35
I think that really would have been. But also, I think she could have done it in significantly less time.

Lara Taylor 45:44
Probably, probably

Link Keller 45:46
oh my god

Marc Cuiriz 45:49
just wakes up. And he’s like, Wait, where am I? Oh, well, you know, you weren’t that hard to find. So here we are. Done.

Lara Taylor 45:59
Yeah, yeah, a lot of really good little moments.

Marc Cuiriz 46:06
There is a lot of small things, and I can’t I wish I did rewatch it just just like it would be fresh in my mind. Because I’m sure that there are things that when I watched him like man that’d be really awesome to talk about, and it’s just eluding my brain at the moment.

Lara Taylor 46:27
Mm hmm. That’s okay. That’s okay. We’ve talked this movie through.

Marc Cuiriz 46:37
I will say that my, I guess this is going to be like one of my last thoughts here. With Shuri. And with her, once she becomes the Black Panther. And when she’s deciding which suit to put on, and she takes the one that is more in likeness to killmonger. I, I definitely like how that whole sequence went, where she at first was rejecting it, and then decided, no, I’m going to play into this. But at the same time, it’s also carrying those aspects of like, No, this is how I’m going to use this to my advantage. But at the same time, also basically show in a way, like how she can also show restraint and control, that she can feel these emotions so that she can let them out. But also not let them dominate her and take control and then cause her to do something that she would inevitably regret. Because I know that one of the big things that they were talking about was, if she were to kill him, he would be seen as a martyr, and it would launch them into this huge war. And I think, Shuri realized that and instead of being like, No, this is revenge. It’s no, but this is to show you that like, I’m not willing to hold back I am. I will unleash full force if I have to. But I’m not because I recognize that there’s a much bigger there’s much more at stake here.

Lara Taylor 48:27
I am thinking about my people. Not just my personal wishes for revenge. Yeah.

Marc Cuiriz 48:36
Own personal vendetta. Yeah. And so I liked that growth where she it’s okay, because this is gonna be really, really funny because because I just told you guys before we started recording that I just finished watching rewatching avatar, but it’s almost like at the end here Where is doing the energy bending, and he almost loses that battle with Soza or with Ozai. Before he then overpowers it. I feel like in this sense, that’s a lot what happened was Shuri, where she almost fully gave in and became just like killmonger.

Lara Taylor 49:13
She almost destroyed him

Marc Cuiriz 49:15
exactly, because she knew how to and she was doing it meticulously. And she was due to doing it brutally, and then saw and was able to kind of pull herself back and regain control and decide no, this isn’t the way that needs to be done. This is being selfish, and I need to think about what’s going to be best for my people since since by default she is you know, the ruler of them. So whatever she does, it’s not going to impact just her but everyone else that she cares about and all the people that look up to her. Which is also why I think in the end for her it’s a Good thing that she decided I’m not going to assume the role of Queen because that that is something that I don’t think she’s prepared for or ready for. And I think she recognizes that and so she’s like, I need to do my own stuff. So I’m gonna I want to place Wakanda in hands that I believe are more capable.

Lara Taylor 50:28
That sounds about right.

Marc Cuiriz 50:32
Link you’re making a lot of faces, you were doing a lot of motions.

Link Keller 50:35
I didn’t want to interrupt you, because that was that was all really great. I agree. I really loved Shuri’s Black Panther outfit, because it had both silver and gold in it. So it was like she was taking both T’Challa’s suit and killmonger’s suit. And I thought that that was, you know, doubly impactful after she meets killmonger on the ancestral plane, in talks with him and him his perspective of like, you know, maybe you don’t like what I did, but I, I did, I worked bitch, like I got, I got

Lara Taylor 51:09
I got shit done

Link Keller 51:10
I got shit done

Marc Cuiriz 51:11
I got results.

Link Keller 51:12
And I think that was so important that like, in that moment of like, yknow, Marc, you talked earlier about her. Because of her grief, she didn’t go and see her mom and her brother and her dad and her other ancestors on the ancestral plane, instead, she goes to where killmonger is, which sidenote, like, kind of fucked up. Like, they don’t, they don’t have like a cross ancestral plane meetup zone where they can all hang out together, okay, it’s fine. Not gonna get into that. I thought it was really important is like the reasons at which T’Challa had the Purple Heart Flower. And then killmonger In that, like, the reasons they were imbibing this substance to become powerful, affected, like, where they went. And so it’s like for her is like she’s not doing it to connect with her ancestor, she’s doing it to like, we’re in danger. And this is like, the last idea that we have is like, I’ll become a black panther. Because that’s what we need right now. And so having that, like, motivation, connecting her to kill monger, and then her meeting up with him, and instead of fully leaning into like, I like we’re both filled with rage, and it drives us is like, she’s like that is valuable. But that’s not the only way and sort of I thought that was like an emotional moment in Black Panther where maybe we don’t agree with kill mongers actions, but his reasons were all valid. And so it’s like this idea of like, it’s not a or b, like, there are other options available to us. And that was the thing that killmonger introduced to to T’Challa’s, like black and white thinking about running his people. And being like, okay, there’s another option here, we’re going to do that. And so I thought that that was a good, like, reflection echo of that moment, in the first movie of her being like, I’m going to combine these and I’m going to take what is useful and apply it to the situation we’re in now. Killing Namor might, might maybe, maybe make me feel better about him, like killing my mom right in front of me, which was honestly very fucked up. But also, we had that whole scene where you revealed to me, your mommy issues. And so there’s another option here, where it’s like, maybe I don’t continue the cycle of grief between our people within our peoples. Maybe there’s something else we can choose here. And sometimes it takes a weapon to the throat to get you to open up to that like, oh, there are other options available. But I’m glad I’m glad that that’s that’s what how that shook out.

Lara Taylor 54:04
Yeah, yeah.

Marc Cuiriz 54:05
I will say, I didn’t. I understand why they did it. Because I know it’s kind of setting up for anything potentially in the future. But I didn’t like how they made it seem like he was manipulating her in the end to be like, oh, yeah, like, I did this. So that way, when the world turns against Wakanda, she’ll turn to us because we I made it so we would work together to quell this fighting and solve the issue or whatever the case is. And says like, so when she needs us, she’ll call upon us and blah, blah, blah, and then we’ll, he’ll eventually realize his true vision of basically going to worlds going to war with the surface people and having the backup of Wakanda to Vibranium civilizations.

Link Keller 54:58
I I think that would have landed better if they had given those people any sort of backgrounds

Marc Cuiriz 55:07

Link Keller 55:07
because, it felt felt very weird to him like it, just it. Like, I just read it as like him being like, I’m, I’m supposed to be your God King and I’m a little embarrassed, I got beat. So I’m just gonna be like, actually, that was my plan all along is like, now she’s on our side. Don’t worry, like, don’t don’t distrust my, my capability as your leader here, like, I’m still cool. This is all going according to plan that would have been more like, interesting and had more emotional impact if we knew anything about any of the characters he interacted with in his homeland. Like ooh,

Lara Taylor 55:46
right like because when you think about the Wakandans, the reason we care about the Wakandans is because we know about all the people we met in the first movie, right? Even M’Baku

Marc Cuiriz 56:01
Yeah, like the, the death of that one. maid servant person, like the one that the one that died?

Lara Taylor 56:11
doesn’t have a name

Marc Cuiriz 56:12
exactly. Like I’m sure they’ve met probably did mention her name. I just, they may only have mentioned it like twice, which is why it’s like, it’s not memorable. But like, I get why it happened. But it just I don’t think it had the impact that I think they were hoping for it to achieve. Because it is

Lara Taylor 56:30
which is what they had to spell out the like, oh, no, now this is going to start a war because you killed her, you know?

Marc Cuiriz 56:39
Yeah. And so, but then I think then to drive the point home of like, no, they’re actually going to go to war, because of this one death of this one random character. We’re gonna kill your mom to really let that sink in. And like nononono No, this is what happened. You kill one random person from us, I’m going to take out your queen. And, you know, sit with that for a little bit. And she does not, in fact sit with that.

Lara Taylor 57:06
No, not at all.

Link Keller 57:07
It’s it’s such a missed opportunity, I feel because that whole scene ends up being more about Shuri being like caring about people and being like, No, we have to help her. And it’s like, we don’t have time we have to leave. And instead of being like, what, what are the implications of, you know, this person dying and how it’s going to affect the cycle of grief. Like it’s like, we don’t get any of that stuff. It ends up being more just to like, know, like, yes, somebody got murdered in cold blood. But like Shuri was like sad about it. So I was like, that’s fine. Like, missed missed opportunity there. Those facemask things looks great, though, huh?

Marc Cuiriz 58:00
Any any closing thoughts, Lara?

Lara Taylor 58:06
It’s a good movie. We can learn a lot about grief many different kinds of grief in this in this movie. I had fun. And the soundtrack was also really good. Listen to the soundtrack. Solid just like the Black Panther, the first movie soundtrack. I think that also added to the emotional bits.

Link Keller 58:32

Lara Taylor 58:35
Those are my final thoughts.

Link Keller 58:37
Yeah. I enjoyed it. I wish it was a little shorter, and a little tighter. But it was fun. It was a visually exciting movie. If you got to spare almost three hours. It’s it’s a fun way to spend an afternoon. I would love to hear what our listeners think about the movie and what parts emotionally impacted them. And what were your favorite costumes and all that stuff? Yeah.

Marc Cuiriz 59:11
Yeah, no, I think this movie. Overall, I enjoyed my experience with it. And I think moving forward, I start tapping into my GT brain. When I start watching these movies,

Link Keller 59:27
I would submit to you that you should, you should let yourself be free to just experience it as you experience it, especially on the first viewing. I do recommend rewatching things for the more critical brain stuff. Yeah. But like, that is not a negative thing. It is good that you are able to just say it and enjoy it and be in the moment especially when you’re watching it opening night in a theater surrounded by people who are all excited to be there like that is magic. That’s That’s good. That’s good stuff.

Marc Cuiriz 59:56
I guarantee I’m probably still going to do that for quantumania. When I go see that

Lara Taylor 1:00:03
how can you not it’s quantumania is going to be wild and crazy and fun.

Marc Cuiriz 1:00:08
Exactly. And on that note, thank you everybody so much for tuning in to this week’s episode. Feel free to check us all out the discord that’s always popping in there. And remember to geek out and do good, and we’ll be back next week

Link Keller 1:00:29
mmmmmbye mmmm’Baku.

Lara Taylor 1:00:36
I almost went there too

Josué Cardona 1:00:38
Geek Therapy is a 501 C three nonprofit organization dedicated to making the world a better place through geek culture. To learn more about our mission and become a supporter, visit geek therapy.org

Transcribed by https://otter.ai and Link Keller

Characters / Media
  • Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (2022)
  • Ramonda / Wakanda Forever
  • Shuri / Wakanda Forever
  • Okoye / Wakanda Forever
  • Riri / Wakanda Forever
  • Killmonger / Wakanda Forever
  • Namor / Wakanda Forever
  • Nakia / Wakanda Forever
  • Black Panther (2018)
  • T’Challa / Black Panther
  • World of Wakanda (comic run)
  • M’Baku / Wakanda Forever
  • Avatar the Last Airbender (series)
  • Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (2023)
Themes / Topics

Conversation Topics:

* Change
* Consequences
* Cultural representation
* Death
* Difficult emotions
* Family
* Finding Oneself/Identity Development
* Leadership
* LGBT Issues
* Moral dilemma
* Power struggle
* Revenge
* Strong female role models
* Sacrifice for others
* Taking responsibility for one’s actions
* Working with others

Relatable Experience:

* Acceptance
* Clarity/Understanding
* Death
* Fighting
* Loss (other than death)
* Grief
* New Life Event (New Rules)
* Trauma

Questions? Comments? Discuss this episode on the GT Forum.

Links / Social Media

Check out the GT Network: network.geektherapy.com

GT Forum: forum.geektherapy.org

GT Discord: geektherapy.com/discord

GT Facebook Group: facebook.com/groups/geektherapy

Find us at www.GeekTherapy.org | @GeekTherapy | Lara: @GeekTherapist | Link: @CHICKENDINOSAUR | Josué: @JosueACardona

Ask us anything through the Question Queue and we’ll answer on the show: geektherapy.org/qq

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