Black Panther

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The Great Hippo
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Re: Black Panther

Postby The Great Hippo » Sun Apr 01, 2018 4:30 am UTC

I finally saw this movie! I liked it quite a bit; it felt much shorter than I expected, and I thought that, out of all the Marvel movies we've seen, it's probably one of the most thematically coherent (Thor: Ragnorak would be a challenger, but the sheer amount of bathos in it undermines what is otherwise a very thematically consistent movie).

Killmonger was interesting -- outside of the Marvel cinematic universe, I'd describe him as "pretty decent" re: villains. But in the context of Marvel? He's fantastic -- if only because unlike pretty much every every other Marvel villain that preceded him, he 1) Has a genuine, credible motivation, 2) Experiences a character arc, and 3) Actually challenges the hero both physically and ethically.

Spoiler:
That last one is key, I think, and something a lot of these movies miss; compare him to Obadiah Stane in the first Iron Man movie. "Iron Mongerer" challenges Tony physically (forcing Tony to use the original arc reactor ('proof that Tony Stark has a heart') he built in the cave -- using it combined with his suit to defeat Stane's 'heartless' corporate-built version), but not ethically. By the time the final confrontation happens, Tony Stark has completed his ethical transformation; Stane's just a dark reflection of what Tony could have been had he not gone through the change in the cave. Now all Tony has to do is figure out an engineering solution to destroy that dark reflection -- the only challenge left is for him to outwit Stane and destroy his past. To beat Stane, he doesn't have to grow up; he just has to be a better fighter and a better engineer.

But Killmonger confronts T'Challa when he's still in the process of changing. He has to defeat him physically and ethically. T'Challa deals the first blow when he confronts his father and ancestors with what they did, and tells them they were wrong; he deals the final blow in the last scene. There, we don't have T'Challa announcing his identity as Black Panther; it's him announcing his decision to grow based on the challenge that Killmonger presented to him. It's a more satisfying way to pace out your hero's journey, I think -- having T'Challa's transformation as a hero more closely tied with how he responds to and overcomes the villain.
The costumes, sets, and artwork were also all splendid and I could honestly watch Okoye (and the other Dora Milaje) beat the crap out of people all day. I'm glad they didn't go with the Dora Milaje being the pool of prospective brides for T'Challa (which was a thing in the comics that always felt super uncomfortable and awkward to me). I also frigging loved M'Baku (the leader of the Jabari); he reminded me of a modern-day Conan. The final scene was great, particularly how it reflected the opening and brought it all back together.

There were a number of choices that I did find kind of baffling/silly, though:
Spoiler:
  • Okay, I get that this is a story about reconciling tradition with progressivism, but it seriously bugged me how literally no one at any point said "Maybe we shouldn't determine our leaders through trial by combat". Not even in a lamp-shady way.
  • As with the above posters, Killmonger's decision to shoot the lady that Klaue had at gun-point made really no sense. I understand why they did it (they needed to demonstrate that he was all-in; his conviction was unflinching) but this felt kind of clumsy and silly and I think there could have been a better way to do it.
  • What on earth was Killmonger's plan? It didn't make any sense to me: He just wanted to kill Klaue so he could bring his body to Wakanda, right? So why didn't he just do that? Why go through this whole elaborate plot? "First, I'll steal some vibranium I don't need so I can sell it for money I don't want. Then, get this guy who clearly doesn't want to go to Wakanda to take me to Wakanda so I can present him -- then, when he refuses, just kill him and take his corpse there myself".
  • I really liked Shuri (particularly the way she represented progressivism vs traditionalism, with T'Challa as an attempt to reconcile them), but I found the whole 'Vibranium is pure magic' element to be kind of silly. Like, it's a metal that does weird physics stuff -- okay. But you can use it to heal spinal injuries? What? Why not just make it so Wakanda's technology is just that advanced -- nothing to do with vibranium (but having vibranium gave them the resources they needed to advance their bio-tech to a point beyond our own)?
  • Similar issue, I found the whole 'let me add new upgrades to the technology you are currently relying on in life-and-death situations' a little silly. I also had to fight not to roll my eyes when Shuri basically pulled a "Q from James Bond" scene with T'Challa; I think there could have been a much more effective way to demonstrate that she was the technological heart of Wakanda. Also, yes, what was up with those 'sneakers'? Was that there just for the sneaker joke? I mean, I liked the joke, but it felt like a misplaced Chekhov's Gun.
  • I really wish that when Klaue told Agent Ross about Wakanda, we had a moment where Agent Ross rolled his eyes and said something about America having already 'investigated these ridiculous rumors' -- with neither T'Challa nor Okoye showing any concern for the reveal. Because 1) There's no way someone hasn't tried telling the American government about this in the past, and 2) It's way more believable that Wakanda has maintained its secret by 'accidentally' allowing Americans to penetrate their country and find nothing (via technological hijinks) than that America has just been completely uninterested in Wakanda this whole time because they bought their cover story as a third world country right from the get-go (particularly given that America knew the vibranium for Cap's shield came from Wakanda. Outside countries would want to make sure there wasn't more, and they wouldn't buy Wakanda's answer that there wasn't).
  • Heroic 'Rightful King' narratives are weird and I think I'll always find them a little creepy.
These really aren't big deals, all things considered; I don't think I've walked out of a Marvel movie yet without a list of grievances -- and these are minor compared to my list for something like Ant-Man or Dr. Strange. All in all, this seemed like a step up from most of the Marvel movies I've seen.

Another (quick) list of elements I really liked:
Spoiler:
  • ARMORED RHINOCEROS.
  • Okoye's disdain for everything not-Wakanda. That whole chase-scene, I imagined her saying to herself: "...and I bet those trucks they're driving don't even fucking fly! God, it's like visiting a third world country".
  • Everything in general about Okoye; even the bit at the end where her beloved asks her if she'd flat-out murder him for Wakanda and she immediately responds with "UH YES DUH HAVE YOU EVEN FUCKING MET ME".
  • Again, ARMORED RHINOCEROS.
  • Agent Ross not being comic relief. It could have worked, but it would have been tonally... weird? In the comics, he was comic relief because we needed someone to introduce us to T'Challa's world -- someone who could express our initial disbelief and wonder. We also needed him because (in the series where he shows up) T'Challa was much harder to initially relate to; he was too big, too idealistic, too powerful. Instead, they just dropped us into T'Challa's world and trusted that we'd be able to buy it; they also went with making T'Challa more human and relatable (struggling with just now becoming the king; having him 'freeze up' in his first fight, etc -- I imagine that this was a conscious decision, since in Civil War he comes off as much more distant). They made Ross a bit flatter, and more of a plot-point; also, he served as a reminder that yes, America does actually exist in this universe. I think that was a good call.
  • All the costumes, art, and set-pieces. I think the only thing I didn't like were the vibranium mines/trams, because it started to feel a little too 'Prequel Star-Wars-y' to me. IE, actors floating in green rooms. Everything else felt like a heightened, surreal version of our reality (in a cool way).
  • "It's these two Grace-Jones lookin' chicks"
  • "Don’t scare me like that, colonizer!"
  • Andy Serkis channeling his inner Emperor Palpatine for Klaue. He's not complicated; he's just evil as fuck and enjoying the shit out of it.
  • Martin Freeman has made a career out of playing fish-out-of-water characters. It was a lot of fun to see him do that in a situation where what made him a fish-out-of-water was being white.
  • Shuri asking which side of the road she's supposed to drive on.
  • "Can you believe that? A kid from Oakland walking around, believing in fairy tales." (god that was such a good line :< )
  • I was expecting to dislike the heart-shaped herb; I thought it would make for a better story-telling element to just have T'Challa's suit do all the work. But I actually ended up really liking it as a plot element -- the fact that he had to be temporarily 'depowered' during the combat ritual was a cool touch, and the way they used it to allow for character growth (through visions of your parents/ancestors) was very effective.
  • On that note, I kind of wish they had made the heart-shaped herb just that -- no special powers; just a ritualistic herb you eat to speak with all those who had consumed it before (including Killmonger's dad, since he was of royal blood). Leave it up to the viewer whether it actually does this or if it's just an LCD trip. I really liked how they used this aspect to give Killmonger depth, and have T'Challa actually confront his father (which was a nice subversion of the 'Your Ancestors Are Always Right' trope, I think, and segued tightly into the thematic idea of reconciling tradition with progress). It would also let you skip the scene where Killmonger burns the heart-shaped herb garden (which honestly felt a little bit like the author stepping in and telling us why we won't have all of Wakanda eat these things so they can just go wipe out Thanos themselves).
  • Seriously though, ARMORED RHINOCEROS.
Last edited by The Great Hippo on Mon Apr 02, 2018 12:31 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Black Panther

Postby Zohar » Sun Apr 01, 2018 6:20 pm UTC

I agree with most of your points. Regarding the villain's plan...
Spoiler:
It was already mentioned before that the idea was to have Klaue humiliate T'Challa by escaping him and being brought in by Killmonger. It was part of the destabilizing the regime strategy by showing the new ruler is ineffective. It made sense to me.
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Re: Black Panther

Postby The Great Hippo » Sun Apr 01, 2018 8:28 pm UTC

Zohar wrote:I agree with most of your points. Regarding the villain's plan...
Spoiler:
It was already mentioned before that the idea was to have Klaue humiliate T'Challa by escaping him and being brought in by Killmonger. It was part of the destabilizing the regime strategy by showing the new ruler is ineffective. It made sense to me.

Spoiler:
That's kind of a ridiculous gambit, though; it relies on 1) T'Challa coming in person to retrieve Klaue, 2) T'Challa failing to just kill or immediately capture him and take him back, and 3) Being able to retrieve Klaue when he IS captured. It also relies on a lot of insider information about the current state of Wakanda and its politics (destabilizing a regime when you don't even know what's going on there is pretty hard, I imagine!).

This would have worked so much better if Killlmonger had an inside man in Wakanda. Someone nursing a deep rage for what the outside world had taken from him; sent off as a war-dog as a youth, he met Killmonger on the outside. With the death of the king, they see an opportunity and act on it -- using Klaue as their pawn. This role would have worked really well for Okoye's beloved, I feel; it would also better explain the guy's mid-movie heel turn, which felt a little weak to me ("I was a little hawkish but still a good guy; however, since you failed to kill Klaue, I'm now going to try and help Killlmonger take over and wage war against the world").

The more I think about it, the more I'm a little surprised they didn't go with something like this -- the ingredients of it all seem to be there. When he asks T'Challa to take him to capture Klaue, it's not just vengeance -- it's manipulation. He wants to make sure the plan executes flawlessly, etc. All that's missing is a scene where Okoye's beloved reveals that he's actually been working with Killmonger this whole time.


EDIT: I mean, keep in mind, the villain-gambit here isn't nearly as bad as in Civil War -- where you quite literally need a chart to track all the presumptions Baron Zemo's plan requires.
Last edited by The Great Hippo on Mon Apr 02, 2018 12:33 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Black Panther

Postby rmsgrey » Sun Apr 01, 2018 11:49 pm UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:
Zohar wrote:I agree with most of your points. Regarding the villain's plan...
Spoiler:
It was already mentioned before that the idea was to have Klaue humiliate T'Challa by escaping him and being brought in by Killmonger. It was part of the destabilizing the regime strategy by showing the new ruler is ineffective. It made sense to me.

Spoiler:
That's kind of a ridiculous gambit, though; it relies on 1) T'Challa coming in person to retrieve Klaue, 2) T'Challa failing to just kill or immediately capture him and take him back, and 3) Being able to retrieve Klaue when he IS captured. It also relies on a lot of insider information about the current state of Wakanda and its politics (destabilizing a regime when you don't even know what's going on there is pretty hard, I imagine!).

Well...
Spoiler:
1) If T'Challa doesn't come to retrieve Klaue, then Killmonger still has his advantage as being willing and able to do what the Black Panther wouldn't even attempt.
2) If T'Challa kills Klaue live on YouTube, then that's a clear, and very public, mistake, again creating questions about his fitness to rule. If T'Challa manages to extract Klaue under the nose of the CIA, then he's tipping Wakanda's hand even further, and creating tensions with the US - which will no doubt create further opportunities for chaos.
3) Yes, Killmonger's plan relies on his being as good as he thinks he is. Don't forget that his plan also relies on him being able to defeat T'Challa in ritual combat. If he can't beat T'Challa with a surprise attack and limited objectives, he's going to seriously struggle to take him in a fair fight.

As for Wakanda's internal politics, while he doesn't know the current players, he has inside information on the background - his father's journal - which will have given him a fairly good picture of the situation and the issues driving it a generation previously. And it's pretty clear from Wakanda's international presence that nothing (or not enough) has been done to appease those who want to take a more active role in the world, so, unless that entire party has been converted to isolationism, there will still be a faction chafing at Wakanda's outdated obsession with concealment.

And it's clear that he didn't fully understand Wakanda's internal politics, otherwise he'd have taken steps to address the mountain tribe. What he did have was an in - a bloodline claim to the throne - and an idea of where to look for a power base. And if he'd been successful in destroying all of the heart-shaped herb, he'd have won outright.

And, of course, any time up to the point where he walks into Wakanda, Killmonger has an easy out - if things don't look like they're going to break his way, he can walk away and move on to something else to destabilise the situation - a long-term, low-level harassment campaign until he feels the time is right to take the stage.


As for Civil War, while the way Zemo's plan played out involved its fair share of luck, we do also see that it's not his plan A, possibly not even his plan B. He has a clear goal - get to the Winter Soldier facility and make sure Tony Stark sees the evidence proving James Barnes murdered Howard and Maria Stark, thereby creating a permanent rift between Iron Man and Captain America. There are only so many people in the world who know where that facility is - we see him attempting to get the information from the last person he'd managed to track down with his own resources, and being refused, leaving the only person he could get the information from as Bucky himself - and all he needs for that is to get in the same room as him for 5 minutes. So he frames Bucky for a major international incident, so that an international effort will be launched to locate him, and he'll be brought to one of a small number of possible facilities. Using a pre-prepared infiltration plan, he gets the location he needs from Bucky, and goes there to set his trap, knowing that someone will track him down.

The Sokovia Accords and the events leading up to the airport fight? Convenient, yes, but hardly necessary parts of his plan. And if anything goes wrong, either he moves on to plan C (or D or E) or he's exhausted his plans, and has to give up on his revenge, but at least he's given it a good try. What are his other options? Walk up to Cap with a gun?

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Re: Black Panther

Postby The Great Hippo » Mon Apr 02, 2018 12:28 am UTC

rmsgrey wrote:
Spoiler:
1) If T'Challa doesn't come to retrieve Klaue, then Killmonger still has his advantage as being willing and able to do what the Black Panther wouldn't even attempt.
2) If T'Challa kills Klaue live on YouTube, then that's a clear, and very public, mistake, again creating questions about his fitness to rule. If T'Challa manages to extract Klaue under the nose of the CIA, then he's tipping Wakanda's hand even further, and creating tensions with the US - which will no doubt create further opportunities for chaos.
3) Yes, Killmonger's plan relies on his being as good as he thinks he is. Don't forget that his plan also relies on him being able to defeat T'Challa in ritual combat. If he can't beat T'Challa with a surprise attack and limited objectives, he's going to seriously struggle to take him in a fair fight.
Spoiler:
1) It was clear during the meeting that his council didn't want him to go. This was the politically risky move; it would have been safer to let others handle it. Killmonger gambled on T'Challa taking a risk.
2) The one person that Killmonger clearly needs to impress -- Okoye's beloved -- would have supported T'Challa if he did this. Killmonger needed T'Challa to fail for his plan to work. Nobody in Wakanda is going to rebel against T'Challa because he killed a violent murderer on television and pissed off the US. He tried to do pretty much this exact thing in Civil War, remember? Nobody in Wakanda gives him shit for that.
3) There's a difference between thinking you can take a guy in one-on-one combat and thinking that you'll be able to retrieve someone after they've been captured. Particularly since you have no idea where they'll be once they're captured (CIA? Wakanda? T'Challa's ship?). You can train to beat one person; you can learn about them and develop methods to counter their techniques. You can't train to retrieve a guy from an unknown organization on an unknown date from an unknown location with unknown resources.
rmsgrey wrote:
Spoiler:
As for Wakanda's internal politics, while he doesn't know the current players, he has inside information on the background - his father's journal - which will have given him a fairly good picture of the situation and the issues driving it a generation previously. And it's pretty clear from Wakanda's international presence that nothing (or not enough) has been done to appease those who want to take a more active role in the world, so, unless that entire party has been converted to isolationism, there will still be a faction chafing at Wakanda's outdated obsession with concealment.
Spoiler:
Except the journal was written by a guy who had left Wakanda prior to the inciting event which creates Killmonger's opening: Klaue's violent theft of vibranium from Wakanda (which Killmonger's father helped facilitate). The journal wouldn't tell Killmonger about the political consequences of this act or how it changed Wakanda's political structure -- despite the fact that this is the precise event which allows Killmonger to challenge T'Challa. He had no way of knowing how Klaue's attack had created an opening (in the form of Okoye's beloved) for him to seize power, and yet he still managed to exploit that opening (in fact, his entire plan relied on the existence of this opening).

Again, Okoye's beloved would have worked wonderfully as a co-conspirator here. If he's working with Killmonger, it covers a lot of minor plotholes: How did Killmonger learn the location of the vibranium in the museum? Wakandan insider. How did Killmonger know where Klaue was -- tracker in a prosthetic? Nope, Wakandan insider. How did Killmonger know enough about current Wakandan politics to successfully take over? Wakandan insider. He's been working all this while to facilitate the right political climate that will allow Killmonger to take over.

It segues nicely into a couple of themes, too: The threat Killmonger represents to T'Challa and Wakanda isn't just an external pressure, but an internal one. Militarism -- colonialism -- imperialism -- these aren't things that happen because a bad guy walks in and beats up your benevolent king. These are things that occur because the people in power want them to. Killmonger isn't the threat; the people who want to use Killmonger's rage and pain to transform Wakanda into an empire is the threat. It heightens Killmonger's tragedy (he's spent his whole life as a soldier, being used by others; this is precisely what the insider would be using him as, again) and reflects more clearly the threat of imperialism.
rmsgrey wrote:
Spoiler:
And it's clear that he didn't fully understand Wakanda's internal politics, otherwise he'd have taken steps to address the mountain tribe.
...
Spoiler:
why? The Jabari were never a threat to him. A better understanding of Wakanda's internal politics would not have prompted Killmonger to act against the Jabari, because a better understanding of Wakanda's internal politics would not have allowed Killmonger to know...
Spoiler:
...that T'Challa would survive, despite the odds, and end up in the Jabari's hands. The Jabari showed no interest in even challenging Killmonger anyway; not until T'Challa talked their leader into it. So a better understanding of Wakanda politics would have probably made Killmonger less likely to go after the Jabari.
rmsgrey wrote:
Spoiler:
As for Civil War, while the way Zemo's plan played out involved its fair share of luck, we do also see that it's not his plan A, possibly not even his plan B. He has a clear goal - get to the Winter Soldier facility and make sure Tony Stark sees the evidence proving James Barnes murdered Howard and Maria Stark, thereby creating a permanent rift between Iron Man and Captain America. There are only so many people in the world who know where that facility is - we see him attempting to get the information from the last person he'd managed to track down with his own resources, and being refused, leaving the only person he could get the information from as Bucky himself - and all he needs for that is to get in the same room as him for 5 minutes. So he frames Bucky for a major international incident, so that an international effort will be launched to locate him, and he'll be brought to one of a small number of possible facilities. Using a pre-prepared infiltration plan, he gets the location he needs from Bucky, and goes there to set his trap, knowing that someone will track him down.
This is the Black Panther thread, and not the Civil War thread -- so I'm not going to get too deep into it. But suffice to say: Zemo's plan is so full of plot-holes and dumb assumptions that even reading a description of it leaves me feeling dizzy.

It's an incredibly stupid plan, and an incredibly huge plot-hole. If you don't understand why, then I'm sure there are plenty of excellent break-downs on the internet that can describe all its problems with far more precision than I can here.

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Re: Black Panther

Postby rmsgrey » Mon Apr 02, 2018 7:22 pm UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:[...]


Yes, if Killmonger (or Zemo) planned to keep following the same steps in the same order regardless of how the earlier steps turned out, then his plans would have been ridiculous. This isn't something where every single step has to work so the next step can happen so his end goal can be achieved. This is something where the guy can try different things until either someone on the other side picks up on the pattern, and figures out an effective counter-ploy, or until something gets far enough to commit to and trigger an endgame.

"Improvise, Adapt and Overcome" is an unofficial motto of the US Marines for a reason - you don't need to plan for things to turn out the way they end up turning out, but you should be ready to jump on the opportunities that come up.

When it comes to the Jabari, they're a wild card within Wakanda, and the natural rallying point for any underground resistance - the other four tribes all answer to the throne, and will take a while to reorganise; the Jabari are already in the shadows, and in opposition, so they have all the advantages that Killmonger gives up when he becomes the government.

Maybe there's a reasonable list of issues with Zemo's plan somewhere on the internet - my Google keeps coming up with people complaining about how things that weren't part of his plan and didn't have to go right for his plan were part of his plan and did need to go right for his plan - like the timing of the Sokovia Accords. There are also plenty of breakdowns that explain how few things needed to go right for his plan to work: 1) he needed to get hold of compelling evidence that Bucky killed Tony's parents. 2) He needed to get that evidence in front of Tony.

The key question in both cases is "what would happen if something outside the villain's direct control turned out a bit differently?" If the answer is "the entire plan would have failed and the villain would have been captured" then that's a potential problem with the plan; if the answer is "the villain would have done something different which would have ended up with a similar outcome" then it's just the movie picking one of the possible scenarios to show rather than being able to show every possible variation.

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Re: Black Panther

Postby The Great Hippo » Mon Apr 02, 2018 8:42 pm UTC

rmsgrey wrote:When it comes to the Jabari, they're a wild card within Wakanda, and the natural rallying point for any underground resistance - the other four tribes all answer to the throne, and will take a while to reorganise; the Jabari are already in the shadows, and in opposition, so they have all the advantages that Killmonger gives up when he becomes the government.
Spoiler:
When the Jabari show up at the beginning to challenge T'Challa, their leader makes it clear they're challenging him in ritual combat (as is their right) because of Wakanda's failure to uphold tradition. Later, when T'Challa's friends and family tell M'Baku that Killmonger murdered him, M'Baku immediately asks if the combat was fair; when they say yes, then he makes it clear it was not murder -- it was right and proper. The Jabari tribe represent tradition; they're the old way, there to challenge Wakanda's failure to respect its roots. And the old way is to acknowledge the legitimacy of Killmonger's bid. Because even if he is an outsider, the rules say he gets to sit on that throne. He's of royal blood, and defeated the king in fair combat.

You also see this with Okoye -- another traditionalist, like M'Baku. Despite loathing Killmonger and clearly having a deep connection with T'Challa, she accepts Killmonger as her king once T'Challa is killed. Because tradition states that Killmonger is now the new king. It is only when Killmonger violates the rules -- does not accept that the ritual combat is still ongoing -- that Okoye rejects him and throws her support behind T'Challa.

(Aside: This is what I meant earlier about the movie being thematically consistent, and its delivery of theme being one of its primary strengths: One of the central themes is the clash between tradition and modernity. This is embodied in T'Challa, who must find a way to reconcile these two seemingly opposing forces. Characters like Shuri and Nakia are modernists who want to abandon the old ways and change the world; Okoye and M'Baku are traditionalists who want to stay true to their roots. Through T'Challa, they all find a way to work together toward a common good)

The Jabari tribe are not some potential wild card underground resistance; they're staunch conservatives (in the purest sense of the word) who believe in upholding the traditions and values of those who came before. T'Challa gets their help in the end only because 1) He ain't dead or yielding, which means the ritual battle ain't done, 2) He convinces M'Baku that Killmonger will overthrow these traditional values, and 3) M'Baku seems like the kind of guy who enjoys finding an excuse to smash things with his stick.)

Had T'Challa died, the only actual threat the Jabari would have presented would be M'Baku challenging Killmonger to open ritual combat -- just as he challenged T'Challa. Not an underground resistance movement -- but a direct, above-ground call-to-arms. As tradition permitted.
The rest of what you said seems to boil down to a preference for not being too critical of a villain's decisions so long as they clearly result in moving them closer to their goal? I accept that these narratives make more sense when you start by presuming the villain's choices represent a coherent, ever-changing plan; there's nothing wrong with that approach. But it's not how I watch movies.

I can't shut my brain off while I'm watching these things, and my brain makes it pretty clear to me that Killmonger's decisions exist to facilitate plot -- not to facilitate the downfall of T'Challa's rule. The problem is that Killmonger is making uninformed, risky choices -- and almost all of these choices either pay off or move the story forward (usually, both). We need to understand why he's making these choices; why does he think these choices are worth the risk? Again, a Wakandan insider would have fixed a lot of this. The journal helps, but a journal written over two decades ago isn't going to give Killmonger the information he needs to make the decisions he's making.

(Also, again, just to be clear: I am definitely not interested in discussing Civil War's enormous plot failings with you in a thread about Black Panther. >_>)

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Re: Black Panther

Postby rmsgrey » Tue Apr 03, 2018 5:27 am UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:
rmsgrey wrote:When it comes to the Jabari, they're a wild card within Wakanda, and the natural rallying point for any underground resistance - the other four tribes all answer to the throne, and will take a while to reorganise; the Jabari are already in the shadows, and in opposition, so they have all the advantages that Killmonger gives up when he becomes the government.
Spoiler:
The Jabari tribe are not some potential wild card underground resistance; they're staunch conservatives (in the purest sense of the word) who believe in upholding the traditions and values of those who came before. T'Challa gets their help in the end only because 1) He ain't dead or yielding, which means the ritual battle ain't done, 2) He convinces M'Baku that Killmonger will overthrow these traditional values, and 3) M'Baku seems like the kind of guy who enjoys finding an excuse to smash things with his stick.)

Had T'Challa died, the only actual threat the Jabari would have presented would be M'Baku challenging Killmonger to open ritual combat -- just as he challenged T'Challa. Not an underground resistance movement -- but a direct, above-ground call-to-arms. As tradition permitted.


Spoiler:
Points 2 and 3 there still hold true without T'Challa's presence. And while the immediate response of the Jabari may have been the ritual challenge, what would their next move have been when Killmonger refused the challenge, and what preparations and contingencies would they have in place before issuing that challenge? If T'Challa were dead, what happens? Shuri and Ramonda still go to the Jabari with the last remaining heart-shaped herb - they did that without knowing T'Challa lived - so how do you see things playing out from there? I see a genuine threat to Killmonger's rule - pretty much the only plausible threat short of intervention by the Avengers or a similar group.


The Great Hippo wrote:The rest of what you said seems to boil down to a preference for not being too critical of a villain's decisions so long as they clearly result in moving them closer to their goal? I accept that these narratives make more sense when you start by presuming the villain's choices represent a coherent, ever-changing plan; there's nothing wrong with that approach. But it's not how I watch movies.

I can't shut my brain off while I'm watching these things, and my brain makes it pretty clear to me that Killmonger's decisions exist to facilitate plot -- not to facilitate the downfall of T'Challa's rule. The problem is that Killmonger is making uninformed, risky choices -- and almost all of these choices either pay off or move the story forward (usually, both). We need to understand why he's making these choices; why does he think these choices are worth the risk? Again, a Wakandan insider would have fixed a lot of this. The journal helps, but a journal written over two decades ago isn't going to give Killmonger the information he needs to make the decisions he's making.

(Also, again, just to be clear: I am definitely not interested in discussing Civil War's enormous plot failings with you in a thread about Black Panther. >_>)


I see illustrative parallels between criticisms of the two movies - starting with the assumption that the way things turn out are all the intended results of the villain's plans rather than a combination of being prepared to take advantage of lucky breaks, having contingencies in place for unlucky breaks, and the writers selecting the most dramatic version of events rather than the most likely.

Having a Wakandan insider would help, but I'm not convinced it's necessary - Killmonger has the journal and whatever reminiscences and more recent intel Klaue can be persuaded to share (and you can bet Klaue knows more about Wakanda than any other non-Wakandan - and probably some Wakandans), and his plan doesn't rely on inside knowledge.

Spoiler:
Killmonger's plan is:
1) Disrupt internal Wakandan politics by making Klaue a live issue again, and trying to provoke a move. You don't need to know how the hornet's nest is run to anticipate the response to poking it with a stick...
2) Involve the CIA by selling the acquired vibranium to them - which also makes that the only opportunity Wakanda will have to make a move on Klaue. That also means there's a limited number of possible facilities they could take Klaue to. Worst case, Klaue ends up dead or in Wakandan hands, either way provoking an international incident between Wakanda and the US. Either way, Klaue has to have been convinced there was a good enough chance of Killmonger getting him out safely and embarrassing Wakanda in the process, and if it doesn't work out, Killmonger can always abort the plan or move on to some other plan. Tension between Wakanda and the US isn't the ideal outcome, but all he has to avoid is a situation where T'Challa returns Klaue to Wakandan justice with US blessing, and he can work on escalating the situation some other way.
3) Assuming he keeps Klaue out of Wakandan hands, betray him and use his corpse as a way to gain entry to the inner council of Wakanda, and position himself as more effective than T'Challa despite lacking the Black Panther powers.
4) Reveal his identity and challenge T'Challa for the throne in ritual combat, with a strong enough case that he can't just be dismissed.
5) Upon taking the throne, destroy the supply of the heart-shaped herb, and unleash Wakandan weaponry upon the world.

Step 2 is key to getting the best outcome from this particular plan, but, having chosen the location and the involved parties, he wasn't exactly going into the situation blind, and, while other outcomes wouldn't embarrass T'Challa specifically and Wakanda generally as effectively and thoroughly, they would still achieve the wider goal of keeping T'Challa from consolidating his position on the throne - a series of minor crises would add up, be as effective for Killmonger's purposes, but make less compelling cinema than hitting the jackpot on the first attempt. It's cinematic cheating, but it's not letting him achieve something he couldn't without divine assistance - just doing it faster than he might.

Worst case, for him, after a period of constant minor defeats and embarrassments for T'Challa on the international stage (or failures to engage) have had the opportunity to establish him as not an adequate replacement for T'Chaka, he can always just walk in - his inner lip tattoo establishes him as Wakandan, and he knows enough about the rituals and culture to get into a position to reveal his identity and issue his challenge against a less-than-popular king.

Again, using Klaue's corpse is the fastest way, not the only way.

As for establishing a power base within Wakanda before issuing his challenge, he knows which portions of Wakandan society were least content with the traditional isolationism, he knows who the major players were ~20 years ago, he may know about Klaue killing W'Kabi's parents, and he knows that Wakanda hasn't broken the traditional policy that was causing resentment, so he's got some idea of where to look for potential allies, and how to find them.

The high-risk gamble would have been to just simply walk into Wakanda to try to challenge T'Challa at the start of the movie - and that might still have won him the throne, but would have left him in the position of the outsider who stole the throne rather than the exiled prince who reclaimed the throne from his ineffective cousin - and if his challenge wasn't accepted, he'd then be in a much, much weaker position having tipped his hand. Without knowing what the situation on the ground in Wakanda was, making the black ops play to stack the deck as far as possible in his favour before revealing his trump cards was the percentage play.

If Killmonger actually had inside support from W'Kabi before bringing in Klaue's body, then that would have changed the calculus - he'd have the power base in place, and could have launched his challenge without the preliminaries.


If you think that the villain's decisions don't make sense, then perhaps you can suggest better decisions that still fit the villain's character and offer a better expectation of utility for the villain, given what the villain knows?

If it's that the villain has too much luck (without relying on it) so that his plans result in more cinematic outcomes rather than requiring a slower-paced alternative to reach a similar outcome, then, yeah, I generally class that under "acceptable cinematic trickery" rather than insisting on them showing the more plausible route to the same outcome.

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Re: Black Panther

Postby The Great Hippo » Tue Apr 03, 2018 6:49 am UTC

rmsgrey wrote:Having a Wakandan insider would help, but I'm not convinced it's necessary - Killmonger has the journal and whatever reminiscences and more recent intel Klaue can be persuaded to share (and you can bet Klaue knows more about Wakanda than any other non-Wakandan - and probably some Wakandans), and his plan doesn't rely on inside knowledge.
I... sincerely doubt some white arms dealer from the Netherlands who once managed to steal vibranium from Wakanda 30 years ago knows more about Wakanda than actual Wakandans. I am even more skeptical that he would have "recent intel" regarding its current political climate or internal structure. Remember: He considers them "savages" who don't "deserve" vibranium-based technology. Does that sound like someone who knows a lot about Wakanda? I'd be surprised if he even knew the names of the five tribes.

Klaue is an "expert" only in the sense that he knows where Wakanda is and that it actually exists.

This conversation was interesting, but our respective interpretations are too divergent to find much common ground. I don't think we can really have a productive dialogue, here -- your reading of this movie and its characters makes very little sense to me.

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Re: Black Panther

Postby rmsgrey » Tue Apr 03, 2018 4:35 pm UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:
rmsgrey wrote:Having a Wakandan insider would help, but I'm not convinced it's necessary - Killmonger has the journal and whatever reminiscences and more recent intel Klaue can be persuaded to share (and you can bet Klaue knows more about Wakanda than any other non-Wakandan - and probably some Wakandans), and his plan doesn't rely on inside knowledge.
I... sincerely doubt some white arms dealer from the Netherlands who once managed to steal vibranium from Wakanda 30 years ago knows more about Wakanda than actual Wakandans. I am even more skeptical that he would have "recent intel" regarding its current political climate or internal structure. Remember: He considers them "savages" who don't "deserve" vibranium-based technology. Does that sound like someone who knows a lot about Wakanda? I'd be surprised if he even knew the names of the five tribes.

Klaue is an "expert" only in the sense that he knows where Wakanda is and that it actually exists.

This conversation was interesting, but our respective interpretations are too divergent to find much common ground. I don't think we can really have a productive dialogue, here -- your reading of this movie and its characters makes very little sense to me.

A white arms-dealer who stole vibranium from the heart of Wakanda, and managed to escape their pursuit for 30 years while still doing business. That's not someone who doesn't have a reasonable assessment of the capabilities and intentions of the people who want him dead, however he may present himself when it might piss them off.

Just managing to carry out a successful raid and escape in a place where he's the only person of colour for hundreds of miles argues for some solid information.

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Re: Black Panther

Postby natraj » Tue Apr 03, 2018 5:14 pm UTC

rmsgrey wrote:Just managing to carry out a successful raid and escape in a place where he's the only person of colour for hundreds of miles argues for some solid information.

:shock: :lol: :shock: :roll: :? :shock:
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Re: Black Panther

Postby Weeks » Tue Apr 03, 2018 5:47 pm UTC

Person of color? Are you sure about that phrasing?
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Re: Black Panther

Postby The Great Hippo » Tue Apr 03, 2018 5:50 pm UTC

rmsgrey wrote:Just managing to carry out a successful raid and escape in a place where he's the only person of colour for hundreds of miles argues for some solid information.
I'm not going to touch that absurdly inappropriate "person of colour" comment (not even with a thirty foot pole), but I will point out that Klaue is the only survivor of his crew -- which *failed* in its plan (He snatched the vibranium as a consolation prize on his way out) -- and ended up with a brand on his neck for his trouble. He also had the help of a Wakandan insider. Yes, he's avoided Wakandan justice for thirty years -- not because he's an expert on Wakanda, but because he's an expert at hiding in the *rest* of the world.

Presenting Klaue as some sort of expert on Wakanda is just one reason why I don't think we can really get anywhere here. If your read on Klaue was that he's an expert on Wakandan intel -- instead of just that one white guy who actually saw the city and knows it exists -- then I don't know how to even approach your interpretation of the movie.

The director, scriptwriter, and actors all clearly did not intend you to believe Klaue was an expert; the movie itself does not present him as one. But somehow, that's what you walked away with. Okay? But I don't know how to discuss the movie with you if you're not going to address the things that are in it.

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Re: Black Panther

Postby rmsgrey » Tue Apr 03, 2018 8:32 pm UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:
rmsgrey wrote:Just managing to carry out a successful raid and escape in a place where he's the only person of colour for hundreds of miles argues for some solid information.
I'm not going to touch that absurdly inappropriate "person of colour" comment (not even with a thirty foot pole), but I will point out that Klaue is the only survivor of his crew -- which *failed* in its plan (He snatched the vibranium as a consolation prize on his way out) -- and ended up with a brand on his neck for his trouble. He also had the help of a Wakandan insider. Yes, he's avoided Wakandan justice for thirty years -- not because he's an expert on Wakanda, but because he's an expert at hiding in the *rest* of the world.

Presenting Klaue as some sort of expert on Wakanda is just one reason why I don't think we can really get anywhere here. If your read on Klaue was that he's an expert on Wakandan intel -- instead of just that one white guy who actually saw the city and knows it exists -- then I don't know how to even approach your interpretation of the movie.

The director, scriptwriter, and actors all clearly did not intend you to believe Klaue was an expert; the movie itself does not present him as one. But somehow, that's what you walked away with. Okay? But I don't know how to discuss the movie with you if you're not going to address the things that are in it.

I'm not intending to argue that Klaue could name the River Tribe elder, but I'd bet a large sum that he knows the face of every War Dog, and the operational area of every War Dog outside Wakanda's borders. He's had an excellent reason to become an expert on Wakanda's international operations, and he's had an ongoing practical exam in his knowledge of them.

He has kept out of Wakandan hands for thirty years. He's managed to avoid accidentally running into a Wakandan sting operation, or being caught by a Wakandan response team, or being spotted by an undercover War Dog while shopping for groceries and traced back to his current hideout, and he's managed to do so while specialising in trading in vibranium, and having sufficient contact with Wakanda and Wakandan secret tech to make his prosthetic arm out of it.

Either he's incredibly lucky, or he knows things about Wakandan activities that maybe half a dozen people inside Wakanda know - that he'd have to know in order to reliably stay one step ahead.

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Re: Black Panther

Postby The Great Hippo » Tue Apr 03, 2018 9:32 pm UTC

Yeah, that's not even vaguely in line with how the movie presents him -- or how he's portrayed in the previous movie (Age of Ultron). You're just twisting the story up into a pretzel to justify your narrative -- a narrative that, might I remind you, amounts to "Exploitative white European understands an African country better than even some of the country's native inhabitants". The fact that this "expert" describes them -- twice! -- as "savages"? That's just the shit-flavored icing atop of your narrative's colonial cake. I have no interest in continuing this awkward, increasingly regressive discussion with you; it's pretty clear at this point that you suffer from a serious case of British Imperial-itis.
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Re: Black Panther

Postby natraj » Tue Apr 03, 2018 9:52 pm UTC

yeah how rmsgrey has somehow magically with literally zero evidence decided that this one random white dude obviously knows the identities of literally every one of the spies from the most technologically advanced nation on the planet who are stationed undercover in every country on earth (things we are explicitly told, contrary to the theory you have drawn out of nowhere) is breathtaking.

anyway i had originally come here to say something else but i war derailed by the ludicrousness of that Person Of Colour comment like, y i k e s.

regarding the ritual combat challenge & your issues with it hippo, i thought it was actually fairly thematically appropriate.

it seemed like nobody honestly expected an actual challenge, like it was and had been largely a formality -- emphasis more on the ritual than the combat, judging by the tone with shuri's snark during the ceremony about hurrying it up it seemed clear nobody had come into it expecting an actual challenger! which makes it seem like the whole thing is there as a check on the monarchy's power, but not entirely through dint of Who Is The Strongest Fighter. the setup more or less requires the monarchy to maintain good diplomatic relations with the tribes & pay attention to the needs of the kingdom -- yes, any one strong challenger can just straight up take the throne with a challenge, but the actual setup of the ritual means that if the king is failing his people the tribes can talk to each other and if ANY of them say "we a both going to challenge" the king will be done for. it is basically impossible without powers for one man to face off with a succession of contenders so the tribal leaders know that if they decide to issue challenges they can remove the king and the king also knows. if he ignores any of the tribes he risks his position and if he ignores more than one of their needs it is assuredly gone.

i think it fit really well into the whole overall film showing the various ways wakanda is reconciling its various traditions clashing with the outside world.
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Re: Black Panther

Postby The Great Hippo » Tue Apr 03, 2018 10:15 pm UTC

natraj wrote:regarding the ritual combat challenge & your issues with it hippo, i thought it was actually fairly thematically appropriate.

it seemed like nobody honestly expected an actual challenge, like it was and had been largely a formality -- emphasis more on the ritual than the combat, judging by the tone with shuri's snark during the ceremony about hurrying it up it seemed clear nobody had come into it expecting an actual challenger! which makes it seem like the whole thing is there as a check on the monarchy's power, but not entirely through dint of Who Is The Strongest Fighter. the setup more or less requires the monarchy to maintain good diplomatic relations with the tribes & pay attention to the needs of the kingdom -- yes, any one strong challenger can just straight up take the throne with a challenge, but the actual setup of the ritual means that if the king is failing his people the tribes can talk to each other and if ANY of them say "we a both going to challenge" the king will be done for. it is basically impossible without powers for one man to face off with a succession of contenders so the tribal leaders know that if they decide to issue challenges they can remove the king and the king also knows. if he ignores any of the tribes he risks his position and if he ignores more than one of their needs it is assuredly gone.

i think it fit really well into the whole overall film showing the various ways wakanda is reconciling its various traditions clashing with the outside world.
Yeah -- this was kind of how I took it too, but only in retrospect. Shuri's snark during the ritual is partly what caused me to realize that (though I hadn't even thought about the 2x combatant combo as a check on the king -- only the idea that it's become symbolic of the tribes giving their consent to be governed, rather than an actual opportunity to cut down the king. I can definitely see how that would work as a way of ensuring that the king needs to have good relations with at least 80% of the tribes at all times -- preferably 100%).

I think this would have worked just a smidge better had there been some comment about no one having applied this right in a few centuries (particularly given that we're seeing it used twice in such a short period of time!), but this is a trifling gripe. I think Shuri's snark is definitely sufficient to show that it's taken as a symbolic gesture more than anything else.

Also, as an aside -- I know it's a little bleh to highlight a white performance in a movie with so many noteworthy black performances, but I really liked Andy Serkis as Klaue. Primarily because of how gleefully evil he was in contrast with Killmonger's idealism -- I'm glad they didn't try to add any depth to him, and instead left him as just a cheerful, horrible (and notably racist) arms-dealer. It fits with the comic-book portrayal, and it highlighted Killmonger's own arc much more clearly. In that Killmonger grew up in Klaue's world, but he's actively rejecting it; trying to rise above it (and even see it destroyed). Klaue gives us a glimpse into what Killmonger is a response to (and a glimpse into why Wakanda wants nothing to do with the outside world).

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Re: Black Panther

Postby Liri » Wed Apr 04, 2018 12:40 am UTC

I got the impression that the same tribe had been ruling Wakanda since the original Black Panther - is that right?
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Re: Black Panther

Postby Tyndmyr » Wed Apr 04, 2018 2:17 am UTC

Liri wrote:I got the impression that the same tribe had been ruling Wakanda since the original Black Panther - is that right?


Yeah, that's what they said, though it also appeared the challenge thing was a tradition, for sure.

Not sure how long it'd been mostly a formality/traditional thing rather than an actual challenge, but by the time of the movie, it definitely is. So, I wouldn't fault 'em for "stupidity of ruling a nation through personal combat". It WOULD be stupid, if that's how it was, but in practice, it does not seem to work that way.

Also, agreed that Klaue was glorious, but definitely not a mastermind character. Very, very good at heists, and generally gleeful evil shenanigans, but I see no reason to believe he knew of all Wakanda's secret folks. He knew the one guy who helped him out, sure. And yeah, he knows of Black Panther, probably, because the whole Civil War thing was pretty obvious, but beyond that, I see no reason why we ought to believe he is especially insightful regarding Wakanda. Guy's just not set up that way. His solution to a problem is generally explosions, not a cunningly crafted master plan. This mostly works, because comics.

As a musing aside, the whole "ritual combat is not over" thing is, while appropriate, slightly odd in that the ritual combat is explicitly done unpowered, at by the time T'challa says that, it's true of neither of them. So, one way or the other, tradition is getting bent somewhat. Obviously, T'challa's adhering more strongly to the spirit of that tradition, so not really a movie flaw, just a slight oddity.

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Re: Black Panther

Postby rmsgrey » Wed Apr 04, 2018 7:04 pm UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:Yeah, that's not even vaguely in line with how the movie presents him -- or how he's portrayed in the previous movie (Age of Ultron). You're just twisting the story up into a pretzel to justify your narrative -- a narrative that, might I remind you, amounts to "Exploitative white European understands an African country better than even some of the country's native inhabitants". The fact that this "expert" describes them -- twice! -- as "savages"? That's just the shit-flavored icing atop of your narrative's colonial cake. I have no interest in continuing this awkward, increasingly regressive discussion with you; it's pretty clear at this point that you suffer from a serious case of British Imperial-itis.


Klaue also describes Wakanda as "a technological marvel", as "el Dorado". One use of "savage" is in an attempt to provoke T'Challa; the other is in reference to them branding him as a thief. Not saying Klaue isn't scum, just that he's scum whose survival has relied on his knowing who's trying to kill him and how. If he were operating in the US, he'd know US law enforcement better than most Americans, but that wouldn't stop him from calling them trigger-happy hicks if he thought it would insult them.

How many Americans can name their state senators and congressional representatives? How many people in the UK could name their MP? Suggesting the average Wakandan is unlikely to be an expert on the inner workings of the Wakandan government doesn't strike me as an unreasonable extrapolation from the behaviour of humans in real-world nations.

Perhaps I should try again with an example that's impossible to interpret as racist? The fact Blofeld has managed to escape British Intelligence for decades suggests that he has a keen understanding of MI6's methods, and has made a study of them - and knows more about British politics than many Englishmen. Does anyone take exception to that?

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Re: Black Panther

Postby The Great Hippo » Wed Apr 04, 2018 8:45 pm UTC

rmsgrey wrote:Perhaps I should try again with an example that's impossible to interpret as racist? The fact Blofeld has managed to escape British Intelligence for decades suggests that he has a keen understanding of MI6's methods, and has made a study of them - and knows more about British politics than many Englishmen. Does anyone take exception to that?
Blofeld is the leader of SPECTRE, a multi-billion dollar international terrorist organization with operatives seeded throughout numerous government agencies. The closest analogue in Marvel is HYDRA during the events of Winter Soldier. Ulysses Klaue is not the leader of a multi-billion dollar international terrorist organization. He's an illegal arms-dealer and assassin. Klaue is not Blofeld. Klaue is not Alexander Pierce. Klaue is Adrian Toomes -- minus the vaguely sympathetic backstory. He's a professional working class thug.

As of 2015 (in Age of Ultron), Klaue was hiding in a wrecked, beached ship off the coast of Africa -- squatting on several billion dollars worth of vibranium. This is the very same vibranium N'Jobu helped him steal. It took him thirty fucking years to finally sell it (and the buyer was a magical flying space robot who came out of no where and threatened to kill him). Klaue was not an expert on Wakanda anymore than Osama bin Laden was an expert on the US. He just knew where to hide and how to keep his head down.

(And he apparently didn't even know that much -- since the instant he tried to actually arrange a sale for just a chunk of vibranium, Wakanda immediately knew where and when)

There is nothing in these movies to support any of this nonsense. It sounds like you just really, really suck at subtext.

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Re: Black Panther

Postby Tyndmyr » Thu Apr 05, 2018 1:59 am UTC

rmsgrey wrote:
The Great Hippo wrote:Yeah, that's not even vaguely in line with how the movie presents him -- or how he's portrayed in the previous movie (Age of Ultron). You're just twisting the story up into a pretzel to justify your narrative -- a narrative that, might I remind you, amounts to "Exploitative white European understands an African country better than even some of the country's native inhabitants". The fact that this "expert" describes them -- twice! -- as "savages"? That's just the shit-flavored icing atop of your narrative's colonial cake. I have no interest in continuing this awkward, increasingly regressive discussion with you; it's pretty clear at this point that you suffer from a serious case of British Imperial-itis.


Klaue also describes Wakanda as "a technological marvel", as "el Dorado". One use of "savage" is in an attempt to provoke T'Challa; the other is in reference to them branding him as a thief. Not saying Klaue isn't scum, just that he's scum whose survival has relied on his knowing who's trying to kill him and how. If he were operating in the US, he'd know US law enforcement better than most Americans, but that wouldn't stop him from calling them trigger-happy hicks if he thought it would insult them.


I mean, they drove a spaceship through downtown LA with the lights on. Klaue actually went to their country, it's not surprising that he'd observe they have a lot more tech than they say. One glance at their city would tell you that.

It's an obvious observation that doesn't support him as an expert spymaster.

How many Americans can name their state senators and congressional representatives? How many people in the UK could name their MP? Suggesting the average Wakandan is unlikely to be an expert on the inner workings of the Wakandan government doesn't strike me as an unreasonable extrapolation from the behaviour of humans in real-world nations.


The US is much larger than Wakanda apparently is. In addition, the leadership of Wakanda is depicted as largely hereditary. If someone in the US doesn't keep up on politics, sure, they might not know who is there. A kind ruling for his entire lifetime? Yeah, they know who he is. Leader of their tribe? Again, probably been there for ages. And there's only five tribes, right? That's a short list to memorize, and it apparently doesn't change super often.

Yeah, the average Wakandan might not know all the inner workings(I would not expect them to know the names of all the spies, for instance), but I don't think comparing it to the US is quite apples to apples. I would expect hereditary/tribe like systems to be understood far better by insiders than outsiders. This is particularly true when the country mostly lives in secret.

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Re: Black Panther

Postby rmsgrey » Thu Apr 05, 2018 2:53 am UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:(And he apparently didn't even know that much -- since the instant he tried to actually arrange a sale for just a chunk of vibranium, Wakanda immediately knew where and when)


And Klaue had a plan for getting away from them that worked. How many people, including native Wakandans, would know enough about Wakandan capabilities to manage that much?

The Great Hippo wrote:As of 2015 (in Age of Ultron), Klaue was hiding in a wrecked, beached ship off the coast of Africa -- squatting on several billion dollars worth of vibranium. This is the very same vibranium N'Jobu helped him steal. It took him thirty fucking years to finally sell it (and the buyer was a magical flying space robot who came out of no where and threatened to kill him). Klaue was not an expert on Wakanda anymore than Osama bin Laden was an expert on the US. He just knew where to hide and how to keep his head down.


How many fences/buyers are there for several billions dollars worth of vibranium? And it's been a while since I watched it, so I could well be mis-remembering, but was it ever stated that what Ultron purchased was all of what Klaue stole, or was it just what Klaue still had at that point? We know Klaue was still doing business during that time - we see him dealing with a customer complaint - so his not having sold a large portion of the vibranium he stole seems as likely to be a consequence of there not being a market for industrial quantities of vibranium as of him having trouble making sales.

And, let's not forget, following Age of Ultron, he managed to get a prosthetic arm that incorporated Wakandan technology, and Killmonger was equipped with another Wakandan tech sonic weapon. Maybe Klaue happened to steal a couple of sonic emitters from Wakanda 30 years ago along with the vibranium; if not, then he had a source for Wakandan tech more recently - and either way, knew enough about it to retool it as part of his prosthesis.

As for bin Laden, he managed to survive 10 years as most wanted man on the planet, and I'd expect him to have known more about the US - particularly about their intelligence and espionage operations - than some Americans as a result. And he was not meeting up with new customers and arranging new suppliers during that time - he did provide new videos and send letters to his followers from time to time, but that's less exposure than running a business.

Tyndmyr wrote:
rmsgrey wrote:
The Great Hippo wrote:Yeah, that's not even vaguely in line with how the movie presents him -- or how he's portrayed in the previous movie (Age of Ultron). You're just twisting the story up into a pretzel to justify your narrative -- a narrative that, might I remind you, amounts to "Exploitative white European understands an African country better than even some of the country's native inhabitants". The fact that this "expert" describes them -- twice! -- as "savages"? That's just the shit-flavored icing atop of your narrative's colonial cake. I have no interest in continuing this awkward, increasingly regressive discussion with you; it's pretty clear at this point that you suffer from a serious case of British Imperial-itis.


Klaue also describes Wakanda as "a technological marvel", as "el Dorado". One use of "savage" is in an attempt to provoke T'Challa; the other is in reference to them branding him as a thief. Not saying Klaue isn't scum, just that he's scum whose survival has relied on his knowing who's trying to kill him and how. If he were operating in the US, he'd know US law enforcement better than most Americans, but that wouldn't stop him from calling them trigger-happy hicks if he thought it would insult them.


I mean, they drove a spaceship through downtown LA with the lights on. Klaue actually went to their country, it's not surprising that he'd observe they have a lot more tech than they say. One glance at their city would tell you that.

It's an obvious observation that doesn't support him as an expert spymaster.


Yeah, my point there is that just because Klaue calls them (and thinks of them as) "savages" doesn't mean he underestimates them - it's more the "brand and/or execute criminals" type of "savage" than the "mud huts and spears" type of "savage".

Tyndmyr wrote:
How many Americans can name their state senators and congressional representatives? How many people in the UK could name their MP? Suggesting the average Wakandan is unlikely to be an expert on the inner workings of the Wakandan government doesn't strike me as an unreasonable extrapolation from the behaviour of humans in real-world nations.


The US is much larger than Wakanda apparently is. In addition, the leadership of Wakanda is depicted as largely hereditary. If someone in the US doesn't keep up on politics, sure, they might not know who is there. A kind ruling for his entire lifetime? Yeah, they know who he is. Leader of their tribe? Again, probably been there for ages. And there's only five tribes, right? That's a short list to memorize, and it apparently doesn't change super often.

Yeah, the average Wakandan might not know all the inner workings(I would not expect them to know the names of all the spies, for instance), but I don't think comparing it to the US is quite apples to apples. I would expect hereditary/tribe like systems to be understood far better by insiders than outsiders. This is particularly true when the country mostly lives in secret.


Fair point. I'd still not expect the average Wakandan to know (or care) about policies that don't impact them directly. How many Supreme Court justices can the average American name? There's only 9 of them, they serve for long periods, and their replacement is widely reported and politicised.

Anyway, I'm going to be offline for over a week, so won't respond further until at least next weekend, if ever.

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Re: Black Panther

Postby Tyndmyr » Thu Apr 05, 2018 3:04 am UTC

rmsgrey wrote:
The Great Hippo wrote:(And he apparently didn't even know that much -- since the instant he tried to actually arrange a sale for just a chunk of vibranium, Wakanda immediately knew where and when)


And Klaue had a plan for getting away from them that worked. How many people, including native Wakandans, would know enough about Wakandan capabilities to manage that much?


Klaue didn't get away primarily because of his plan, which was mostly "drive away cackling, while shooting a lot".

I mean, strictly speaking, he didn't get away. He got bailed out by Killmonger. He got caught. Not as part of some master plan either, he gained nothing by being caught and rescued, as opposed to simply not getting caught to begin with.

So, in the words of Tony Stark..."not a great plan".

How many fences/buyers are there for several billions dollars worth of vibranium? And it's been a while since I watched it, so I could well be mis-remembering, but was it ever stated that what Ultron purchased was all of what Klaue stole, or was it just what Klaue still had at that point? We know Klaue was still doing business during that time - we see him dealing with a customer complaint - so his not having sold a large portion of the vibranium he stole seems as likely to be a consequence of there not being a market for industrial quantities of vibranium as of him having trouble making sales.


You are suggesting that the MCU does not have a market for superweapons? Really? Have you SEEN the other movies? Rich guys after superweapons make up at least half the villains.

Yeah, my point there is that just because Klaue calls them (and thinks of them as) "savages" doesn't mean he underestimates them - it's more the "brand and/or execute criminals" type of "savage" than the "mud huts and spears" type of "savage".


Sure. He doesn't necessarily underestimate them simply due to that comment. But he DID get caught. So, I think he clearly underestimated them at least once.

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Re: Black Panther

Postby The Great Hippo » Thu Apr 05, 2018 8:31 am UTC

rmsgrey wrote:And Klaue had a plan for getting away from them that worked.
No, he didn't. He got caught. His only "plan" was "man I sure hope Killmonger bails me out".
rmsgrey wrote:How many fences/buyers are there for several billions dollars worth of vibranium? And it's been a while since I watched it, so I could well be mis-remembering, but was it ever stated that what Ultron purchased was all of what Klaue stole, or was it just what Klaue still had at that point? We know Klaue was still doing business during that time - we see him dealing with a customer complaint - so his not having sold a large portion of the vibranium he stole seems as likely to be a consequence of there not being a market for industrial quantities of vibranium as of him having trouble making sales.
It is quite literally the most valuable substance in the world. He's an arms dealer sitting on a stash of magical metal that can create flying tanks and super-weapons. He had thirty years to sell it -- and couldn't.

In Black Panther, we see why: He couldn't show anyone what this stuff could do. Because the instant he did, Wakanda would be on him. It's even mentioned they've been tracking him since the Sokovia sale.
rmsgrey wrote:And, let's not forget, following Age of Ultron, he managed to get a prosthetic arm that incorporated Wakandan technology, and Killmonger was equipped with another Wakandan tech sonic weapon. Maybe Klaue happened to steal a couple of sonic emitters from Wakanda 30 years ago along with the vibranium; if not, then he had a source for Wakandan tech more recently - and either way, knew enough about it to retool it as part of his prosthesis.
Having some vibranium tech left over from the last movie in no way indicates that he knows about the Wakandan government or the face of literally every war-dog. This would be like thinking that knowing how to build a miniature nuclear reactor in my garage somehow gives me keen insight into the inner workings of the Department of Defense. Besides: We don't even know if he built it himself or just found someone else to build it for him.

Probably the latter. Again, Klaue is an Adrian Toomes -- not a Tony Stark. He's a blue collar criminal. He doesn't know how the magic space guns work; he just knows if he steals them he can sell them and use them to blow your face off. He's an evil, racist Han Solo -- which is what makes your presumption that he's an expert on Wakandan intel (or vibranium, for that matter) so baffling.

It'd be like imagining Han Solo is an expert on the Empire's high command, or understands the Force. No, Han Solo just knows how to avoid imperial ships -- and that the Force is pretty useful in a pinch.
rmsgrey wrote:As for bin Laden, he managed to survive 10 years as most wanted man on the planet, and I'd expect him to have known more about the US - particularly about their intelligence and espionage operations - than some Americans as a result.
Osama bin Laden survived as the most wanted man on earth by hiding in caves. He wasn't an expert on America's intelligence or espionage communities; I doubt he'd even recognize a CIA agent if he saw one. He didn't survive through in-depth knowledge of the CIA. He survived by knowing it's really hard to find someone hiding in a cave.

You don't need to know the inner workings of the CIA to hide from the US military. You don't need to know much about the Empire to smuggle your contraband past an imperial blockade. And you don't need to know the the faces of Wakanda's war-dogs (or even how their government works) to continue operating despite being their most wanted criminal.

You just need to keep your head down and know where the blind-spots are: In a cave where their drones can't find you. In a clunky old space-shuttle that nobody looks at too closely. In the wreckage of one ship among many, tucked away and hiding.
rmsgrey wrote:Yeah, my point there is that just because Klaue calls them (and thinks of them as) "savages" doesn't mean he underestimates them - it's more the "brand and/or execute criminals" type of "savage" than the "mud huts and spears" type of "savage".
Klaus clearly means "mud huts and spears" savages. This is intended as explicit racism -- by the actor, the screenwriters, the director, etc. One of the themes of this movie is the toxicity of racism; from the museum director's "low-key" racism to Klaue's old school colonial racism. The only one not getting that appears to be you?
rmsgrey wrote:Anyway, I'm going to be offline for over a week, so won't respond further until at least next weekend, if ever.
Cool. Maybe you can use this as an excuse to just drop it and not respond at all?

I don't think you're going to "get" this, and -- unlike your argument about Zemo's plan being credible in Civil War -- there's something deeply uncomfortable about saying that the racist white analogue to European colonialism is an expert on the African country he tried to exploit. Especially in a movie that is explicitly about the impact of Western exploitation and colonialism in Africa.

You might not be trying to be racist, but you've picked a really stupid, really racist hill to die on.

----

Aside, and point for an actual discussion: I think it's notable that, outside of Agent Ross, every white character with a speaking role in this movie appears to exhibit some sort of racism. The museum director, Klaue, and the UN ambassador at the end1. The only exception I can think of is maybe one of Klaue's minions, who has a line consisting of "Hey you" to Okoye (when he recognizes her in the casino).

I think that's actually kind of cool -- although I also think it's a little silly that the one person not being racist is the only character who is clearly American (even the museum director is British). I also remember thinking Agent Ross felt a little bit like the token "Not All White People Are Bad" character. If this was the case, I think it was a wise move on their part to make the movie more mainstream (and I can see how they even play with this, a little -- calling him 'colonizer' and the great scene with M'Baku) -- but also kind of regrettable that we exist in a reality where it would be the wise move to make.

1 You could argue this wasn't racism, just genuine confusion -- but I think his response was out of line with what you would expect a UN ambassador to say to a country offering to share their resources, especially given that Civil War has already established Wakanda participates in world relief efforts. The comment makes much more sense to me as him going "uuuuuh, country in Africa? ha ha aren't we supposed to be sending aid to you"

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Re: Black Panther

Postby Tyndmyr » Thu Apr 05, 2018 12:19 pm UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:I don't think you're going to "get" this, and -- unlike your argument about Zemo's plan being credible in Civil War -- there's something deeply uncomfortable about saying that the racist white analogue to European colonialism is an expert on the African country he tried to exploit. Especially in a movie that is explicitly about the impact of Western exploitation and colonialism in Africa.


Zemo was at least potrayed as a smart, mastermind sort. Yeah, it's fair to fault the plot for convenient luck making plans work out, but Klaue and Zemo definitely have very different characterization. Arguing that Klaue is a mastermind would be like arguing that T'challa is dishonorable. You literally never see them make the choice consistent with that on screen.

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Re: Black Panther

Postby rmsgrey » Sat Apr 14, 2018 1:40 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:You are suggesting that the MCU does not have a market for superweapons? Really? Have you SEEN the other movies? Rich guys after superweapons make up at least half the villains.

Yeah, my point there is that just because Klaue calls them (and thinks of them as) "savages" doesn't mean he underestimates them - it's more the "brand and/or execute criminals" type of "savage" than the "mud huts and spears" type of "savage".


Sure. He doesn't necessarily underestimate them simply due to that comment. But he DID get caught. So, I think he clearly underestimated them at least once.


Vibranium isn't a superweapon - it's the raw material out of which superweapons could be made if you had the tech base for it. It's like selling yellowcake rather than selling nuclear warheads - there's a much, much bigger market for suitcase nukes than there is for the raw material that, potentially, could be used to make a nuke, if only you had the facilities and technology and knowhow for it.

And, again, Klaue had a plan for getting caught - "I sure hope the carefully hidden tracking device and heavily armed extraction team I have waiting to bail me out works to get me rescued if I get captured" seems like a pretty solid contingency plan. If Killmonger hadn't turned on him, he would have completed his deal and gotten away clean, embarrassing Wakanda in the process.

Yes, the plan is reckless, essentially using himself as bait to spring the Wakandan trap, but have you met Klaue? He's all about looking other people in the eye and flipping them the bird...

He's no Chessmaster, sitting behind the lines as his pieces carry out his cerebral schemes, but he isn't an idiot either - but if he's not having fun, then what's the point of doing it?

The Great Hippo wrote:Again, Klaue is an Adrian Toomes -- not a Tony Stark. He's a blue collar criminal. He doesn't know how the magic space guns work; he just knows if he steals them he can sell them and use them to blow your face off. He's an evil, racist Han Solo -- which is what makes your presumption that he's an expert on Wakandan intel (or vibranium, for that matter) so baffling.

It'd be like imagining Han Solo is an expert on the Empire's high command, or understands the Force. No, Han Solo just knows how to avoid imperial ships -- and that the Force is pretty useful in a pinch.
rmsgrey wrote:As for bin Laden, he managed to survive 10 years as most wanted man on the planet, and I'd expect him to have known more about the US - particularly about their intelligence and espionage operations - than some Americans as a result.
Osama bin Laden survived as the most wanted man on earth by hiding in caves. He wasn't an expert on America's intelligence or espionage communities; I doubt he'd even recognize a CIA agent if he saw one. He didn't survive through in-depth knowledge of the CIA. He survived by knowing it's really hard to find someone hiding in a cave.

You don't need to know the inner workings of the CIA to hide from the US military. You don't need to know much about the Empire to smuggle your contraband past an imperial blockade. And you don't need to know the the faces of Wakanda's war-dogs (or even how their government works) to continue operating despite being their most wanted criminal.

You just need to keep your head down and know where the blind-spots are: In a cave where their drones can't find you. In a clunky old space-shuttle that nobody looks at too closely. In the wreckage of one ship among many, tucked away and hiding.


How long did Toomes last once he appeared on anyone's radar? A month? And he didn't even rate Avenger attention (he might have if he'd pulled off his heist, but that got him captured instead). Han Solo may be on an Imperial watchlist somewhere, but, again, he survived by not being someone anyone cared about enough to do anything about. Once he signed up with the Rebel Alliance, he got, what, 3 years before being encased in carbonite? And most of that was moving with the Alliance rather than keeping himself ahead of the Empire. Mal Reynolds had maybe a year after taking on the Tams as crew, and some of that only came as a result of having Shepherd Book with his mysterious history aboard too.

As for ObL, "caves" may be an exaggeration - his last 5 years were living in the same "upper-class mansion" in Abottabad, Pakistan: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Osama_bin ... Abbottabad.

Sure, Klaue could have just disappeared into a hole and pulled the hole in after himself, but he also stayed in business, meaning he had to have a way for customers to find him, without having a way for war dogs to find him.

When it comes to technical knowhow, okay, Toomes' crew probably couldn't have made the weaponry they were selling from scratch, but they knew enough about them to repair, rebuild, and repurpose them, which is more than most of the grunts wielding them would have. How many real-world soldiers could machine replacement parts for their rifle? Equally, salvaging a Wakandan weapon/mining-tool doesn't take much knowhow, but patching it into a prosthetic arm without breaking it or turning it into a suicide bomb does require practical knowledge (though not the theoretical knowledge needed to be able to design the device from scratch) - which parts are redundant, which are structural, which are functional, which need to be in a precise alignment with each other, which keep the weapon from killing its user...

Howard Stark understood vibranium enough to make a frisbee out of it; Klaue understands it enough to repair/mod high-tech weapons using it; Shuri understands it enough to design and manufacture a Black Panther suit and perform brain surgery and various other things with it. Klaue doesn't know vibranium as well as Shuri does, but he knows it better than Howard Stark did.

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Re: Black Panther

Postby Tyndmyr » Wed Apr 25, 2018 7:38 pm UTC

rmsgrey wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:You are suggesting that the MCU does not have a market for superweapons? Really? Have you SEEN the other movies? Rich guys after superweapons make up at least half the villains.

Yeah, my point there is that just because Klaue calls them (and thinks of them as) "savages" doesn't mean he underestimates them - it's more the "brand and/or execute criminals" type of "savage" than the "mud huts and spears" type of "savage".


Sure. He doesn't necessarily underestimate them simply due to that comment. But he DID get caught. So, I think he clearly underestimated them at least once.


Vibranium isn't a superweapon - it's the raw material out of which superweapons could be made if you had the tech base for it. It's like selling yellowcake rather than selling nuclear warheads - there's a much, much bigger market for suitcase nukes than there is for the raw material that, potentially, could be used to make a nuke, if only you had the facilities and technology and knowhow for it.


Granted, but it's a world in which Stark Industries exists, is fabulously successful, and has competitors. There are tons of arms dealers and such like out there. The sheer volume of sketchy folks in the superweapon making business means there's got to be some market there. The MCU is stuffed to the gills with superweapons, people who want superweapons, and people who make them. Just the nature of comics.

And, again, Klaue had a plan for getting caught - "I sure hope the carefully hidden tracking device and heavily armed extraction team I have waiting to bail me out works to get me rescued if I get captured" seems like a pretty solid contingency plan. If Killmonger hadn't turned on him, he would have completed his deal and gotten away clean, embarrassing Wakanda in the process.

Yes, the plan is reckless, essentially using himself as bait to spring the Wakandan trap, but have you met Klaue? He's all about looking other people in the eye and flipping them the bird...

He's no Chessmaster, sitting behind the lines as his pieces carry out his cerebral schemes, but he isn't an idiot either - but if he's not having fun, then what's the point of doing it?


Correct. And that's why it's not appropriate to treat him like the genius chessmaster. Look at him in the car. He's actually pretty concerned looking when "blow everything up" doesn't appear to fix his problems. That's his plan A, plan B, and plan C. Sure, the tracking works out, kind of. It also results in him being dead, so I have a hard time calling that a success. Ultimately, he's pretty reckless, and he both gets caught and killed because of it. The character is a blast, but it's really hard to describe a plan that gets you both caught and killed as a "success", as you have done. It's certainly not evidence of him as a spymaster.

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Re: Black Panther

Postby rmsgrey » Thu Apr 26, 2018 2:34 am UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:
rmsgrey wrote:Vibranium isn't a superweapon - it's the raw material out of which superweapons could be made if you had the tech base for it. It's like selling yellowcake rather than selling nuclear warheads - there's a much, much bigger market for suitcase nukes than there is for the raw material that, potentially, could be used to make a nuke, if only you had the facilities and technology and knowhow for it.


Granted, but it's a world in which Stark Industries exists, is fabulously successful, and has competitors. There are tons of arms dealers and such like out there. The sheer volume of sketchy folks in the superweapon making business means there's got to be some market there. The MCU is stuffed to the gills with superweapons, people who want superweapons, and people who make them. Just the nature of comics.


Until Iron Man, SHIELD was quite firm about keeping a lid on superweapons - Stark was leading the arms market with Jericho - a conventional weapon aside from the introduction of repulsor technology. The reason the Iron Man suit was such a big deal in Iron Man 2 was because it was the only known superweapon - kicking off the superweapon arms race. Yes, now we have repurposed Chitauri tech, Dark Elf gear, Ultron parts, and whatever else being traded around, but the MCU in phase 1 was our world plus Tony Stark.

And, again, Klaue had a plan for getting caught - "I sure hope the carefully hidden tracking device and heavily armed extraction team I have waiting to bail me out works to get me rescued if I get captured" seems like a pretty solid contingency plan. If Killmonger hadn't turned on him, he would have completed his deal and gotten away clean, embarrassing Wakanda in the process.

Yes, the plan is reckless, essentially using himself as bait to spring the Wakandan trap, but have you met Klaue? He's all about looking other people in the eye and flipping them the bird...

He's no Chessmaster, sitting behind the lines as his pieces carry out his cerebral schemes, but he isn't an idiot either - but if he's not having fun, then what's the point of doing it?


Correct. And that's why it's not appropriate to treat him like the genius chessmaster. Look at him in the car. He's actually pretty concerned looking when "blow everything up" doesn't appear to fix his problems. That's his plan A, plan B, and plan C. Sure, the tracking works out, kind of. It also results in him being dead, so I have a hard time calling that a success. Ultimately, he's pretty reckless, and he both gets caught and killed because of it. The character is a blast, but it's really hard to describe a plan that gets you both caught and killed as a "success", as you have done. It's certainly not evidence of him as a spymaster.


The plan did exactly what it was meant to - Klaue got away clean, and neither Wakanda nor the CIA had any idea where he disappeared to. Yes, he got caught temporarily, but that was allowed for in his plan. And, yes, it turned out trusting Killmonger was a mistake, but he was right that Killmonger wasn't working for Wakanda, nor any other group with a reason to act against him. One fatal mistake in thirty years is still pretty good going.

And, while Klaue was far from the only person who knew about them, he knew exactly who Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver were and could identify Ultron as being made by Stark - in his limited screen time in AoU, he appeared to be well informed generally.

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Re: Black Panther

Postby Tyndmyr » Thu Apr 26, 2018 5:55 pm UTC

rmsgrey wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:
rmsgrey wrote:Vibranium isn't a superweapon - it's the raw material out of which superweapons could be made if you had the tech base for it. It's like selling yellowcake rather than selling nuclear warheads - there's a much, much bigger market for suitcase nukes than there is for the raw material that, potentially, could be used to make a nuke, if only you had the facilities and technology and knowhow for it.


Granted, but it's a world in which Stark Industries exists, is fabulously successful, and has competitors. There are tons of arms dealers and such like out there. The sheer volume of sketchy folks in the superweapon making business means there's got to be some market there. The MCU is stuffed to the gills with superweapons, people who want superweapons, and people who make them. Just the nature of comics.


Until Iron Man, SHIELD was quite firm about keeping a lid on superweapons - Stark was leading the arms market with Jericho - a conventional weapon aside from the introduction of repulsor technology. The reason the Iron Man suit was such a big deal in Iron Man 2 was because it was the only known superweapon - kicking off the superweapon arms race. Yes, now we have repurposed Chitauri tech, Dark Elf gear, Ultron parts, and whatever else being traded around, but the MCU in phase 1 was our world plus Tony Stark.


Until Iron Man? How? That's...literally the first MCU film. I mean, unless we count Hulk.

Unless you're counting chronologically, and ignoring the whole "we let Nazi Germany have, just, all of the superweapons".

Okay, we've obviously had sort of a demand for super weapons pretty much anywhere the MCU has been depicted.

The plan did exactly what it was meant to - Klaue got away clean, and neither Wakanda nor the CIA had any idea where he disappeared to. Yes, he got caught temporarily, but that was allowed for in his plan. And, yes, it turned out trusting Killmonger was a mistake, but he was right that Killmonger wasn't working for Wakanda, nor any other group with a reason to act against him. One fatal mistake in thirty years is still pretty good going.


The thing about fatal mistakes is that nobody makes more than one.

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Re: Black Panther

Postby rmsgrey » Thu Apr 26, 2018 6:38 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:Until Iron Man? How? That's...literally the first MCU film. I mean, unless we count Hulk.

Unless you're counting chronologically, and ignoring the whole "we let Nazi Germany have, just, all of the superweapons".

Okay, we've obviously had sort of a demand for super weapons pretty much anywhere the MCU has been depicted.


Iron Man (and Iron Man 2) presents a world without superweapons until Tony Stark creates them. Cap shows plenty of Nazi-era superweapons, but there's no sign of them still being in play - Ten Rings uses a mix of conventional weaponry and Stark tech; the US military uses conventional vehicles and weaponry. It's not until Loki brings the Staff in Avengers that HYDRA can create Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver. The Hulk's around somewhere, but that didn't produce a viable weapon. Cap's been around since WW2, but not active, and the Asgardians have been away for centuries. There are some Inhumans hiding away somewhere, and apparently Mutants are out there too, but there's a noticeable lack of unconventional weaponry out there.

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Re: Black Panther

Postby Tyndmyr » Fri Apr 27, 2018 1:00 pm UTC

rmsgrey wrote:Iron Man (and Iron Man 2) presents a world without superweapons until Tony Stark creates them. Cap shows plenty of Nazi-era superweapons, but there's no sign of them still being in play - Ten Rings uses a mix of conventional weaponry and Stark tech; the US military uses conventional vehicles and weaponry. It's not until Loki brings the Staff in Avengers that HYDRA can create Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver. The Hulk's around somewhere, but that didn't produce a viable weapon. Cap's been around since WW2, but not active, and the Asgardians have been away for centuries. There are some Inhumans hiding away somewhere, and apparently Mutants are out there too, but there's a noticeable lack of unconventional weaponry out there.


I mean, in canon, all of those infinity stones are there somewhere. Those Nazi weapons, at least some of them survived to fall into shield's hands somewhere along the way. You also, in canon, have an active Winter Soldier in that timeframe, straight up murdering people, and a buncha clones made.

You've got the PREVIOUS stark's workings, which are apparently not so different from the current ones. You also have active ant-man/wasp back in this time period. In addition to elements like, yknow, Hulk, and Abomination, which is, in canon, still there.

Oh, and...invisible helicarriers that can launch nuclear strikes. Remember those?

Yeah, it's a world of superweapons.

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Re: Black Panther

Postby rmsgrey » Fri Apr 27, 2018 3:59 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:
rmsgrey wrote:Iron Man (and Iron Man 2) presents a world without superweapons until Tony Stark creates them. Cap shows plenty of Nazi-era superweapons, but there's no sign of them still being in play - Ten Rings uses a mix of conventional weaponry and Stark tech; the US military uses conventional vehicles and weaponry. It's not until Loki brings the Staff in Avengers that HYDRA can create Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver. The Hulk's around somewhere, but that didn't produce a viable weapon. Cap's been around since WW2, but not active, and the Asgardians have been away for centuries. There are some Inhumans hiding away somewhere, and apparently Mutants are out there too, but there's a noticeable lack of unconventional weaponry out there.


I mean, in canon, all of those infinity stones are there somewhere. Those Nazi weapons, at least some of them survived to fall into shield's hands somewhere along the way. You also, in canon, have an active Winter Soldier in that timeframe, straight up murdering people, and a buncha clones made.

You've got the PREVIOUS stark's workings, which are apparently not so different from the current ones. You also have active ant-man/wasp back in this time period. In addition to elements like, yknow, Hulk, and Abomination, which is, in canon, still there.

Oh, and...invisible helicarriers that can launch nuclear strikes. Remember those?

Yeah, it's a world of superweapons.


There are 2-3 Infinity Stones on Earth prior to the Avengers (depending on how you count the Aether's location) - the Tesseract spent centuries in a tomb, a brief period in Red Skull's possession, then decades in a SHIELD vault. The Eye of Agamotto has been kept safe (and presumably out of play) for centuries by the Ancient One. The Aether is in an unknown location only accessible through a spatial anomaly that may be an artifact of the approaching Convergence, may be more permanent, or may be transient from some other cause. The Nazi weapons are locked away by SHIELD.

Superweapons exist, but no-one's using them or acknowledging their presence.

Iron Man takes as one of its basic premises, that it's set in a world almost identical to ours aside from the presence of Stark Enterprises, which has not caused significant divergences until Tony Stark put together the Mk I in a cave with a box of scraps. There's a hint of retcon in the history that's since been revealed, but it still mostly hangs together provided SHIELD/HYDRA is keeping things suppressed until Avengers - and then Winter Soldier blows the lid off, and there's nothing stopping people from coming forward with superweapons any more.

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Re: Black Panther

Postby Soupspoon » Sat May 12, 2018 1:00 am UTC

(Devoid of relevent spoilers, I nust had to extract this spoiler-tagged text for comment.)
rmsgrey wrote:… the Brother Cadfael series - the eponymous central character is a former soldier who found a calling to become a 12 century monk
Worth pointing out that he transitioned to C12th monk from being a former C12th soldier, lest anybody gets any funny ideas that this is going to weird in a Biggles: The Movie way, or something... ;)


Anyway, having only just seen the film (enjoyably so), I do have a quick speculatively spoilery question:
Spoiler:
Do you suppose the SKorean contingent of war-dogs picked up the discarded bits of vibranium sports-car, as was? That we don't see directly helping the 'away team', even as vastly outclassed and ignored 'backup'.

And, while I' m here, is sub-area-code 555 equallly as fictional in Korean telecoms as it is supposed to be State-side? Telegraphing a little in-joke is one thing, but I felt positively bludgeoned by that, even in the first fraction-of-a-second view of the van's initial drive-through-shot.


Interesting note: I think there were at least five English actors amongst the major characters, by my count. Ok, so two of them were also ethnically English (the only two white characters of significant note, that is, and when the faux-Merkin is alone in talking to the Boerish other one I had to chuckle, and wonder how well they actually did with their accents - can't really tell myself) but it made for a good total. And without the "Plucky Rebels are American, Evil Empire are British" full-cast split (Star Wars) or more general "Main Villain is British, or British using a heavy German accent" (Die Hards, etc) connotation, if you ignore the slightly-off-German(/Flemish) of Serkis's 'Afrikaner'.

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Re: Black Panther

Postby Liri » Sat May 12, 2018 1:26 am UTC

I wince whenever a movie or TV show uses a 555 area code.
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Re: Black Panther

Postby CorruptUser » Sat May 12, 2018 9:33 pm UTC

Does anyone see the multiple levels of irony in Saudi Arabia having Black Panther as its premier?

1) There's the badass female squad, and while the focus of the film is not on feminist issues it's not exactly anti-feminist
2) Saudi Arabia is not exactly known for treating black people well
3) The character of Black Panther was created by Stanley "Stan Lee" Lieber and Jacob "Kirby" Kurtzberg, two people who probably wouldn't be allowed in to Saudi Arabia

Hey, you never know. Maybe the movie will help change things for the better over there...

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Re: Black Panther

Postby Pfhorrest » Sun May 13, 2018 11:56 pm UTC

CorruptUser wrote:Saudi Arabia having Black Panther as its premier

What does that mean? Saudi Arabia's premier... what? Movie? Has Saudi Arabia never shown a movie before? What's happening?
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Re: Black Panther

Postby Soupspoon » Mon May 14, 2018 12:03 am UTC


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Re: Black Panther

Postby CorruptUser » Mon May 14, 2018 1:48 pm UTC

The had the emoji movie? Havent the Arabs suffered enough?

Mohammed bin Salman is an interesting character. I dont particularly like his policies, but Arabia is not America, and in the long run I think they will be a net good. He has to work with a population without a skillset (not counting foreign slaves guest workers), who have been indoctrinated in a hardline version of Islam interpreted by bandit clans, all the while having to deal with numerous factions that have sworn his destruction including within his country and some within his family. SA has been ruling over a diverse group of people, some who are more extreme than even the Salafis; the grabd mosque takeover was ostensibly about how the Sauds were not religious enough, allowing faces on currency for instance. The ban on cinema was in part response to that...

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Re: Black Panther

Postby OP Tipping » Mon May 21, 2018 12:44 pm UTC

Some wag has pointed out that now BOTH Human Torch actors have been redeemed by the MCU.

What's Jay Underwood up to?


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