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Shuri's Plan To Defeat Namor In Wakanda Forever Makes No Sense

Contains spoilers for "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever"

Make no mistake about it: the new Black Panther Shuri (Letitia Wright) is a genius. Not only does she manage to find the inner strength to become the latest in the long line of Wakanda's protectors in "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever," but she first uses her considerable scientific knowledge to create and 3D print a genetically engineered Heart-Shaped Herb that seems to be at least as powerful as the original. 

Combine this with Shuri's pre-existing MCU chops, and it's no wonder that young Riri Williams (Dominique Thorne) is starstruck when she finds the scientist-princess knocking on her door. However, even a supergenius can have bad days, and "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever" gives Shuri plenty of those. T'Challa (Chadwick Boseman) dies in the beginning of the movie, and even after the one-year timeskip, she's still dealing with her brother's death when she loses Ramonda (Angela Bassett) as well. During the film's final act, she's so frustrated and angry that even her initial Heart-Shaped Herb vision features "Black Panther" villain Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan) instead of her mother, whom she expected to see. 

Perhaps it's because of her furious state of mind, or simply because she's not yet a very experienced leader — but there's no denying that Shuri's ultimate plan to defeat Namor doesn't exactly sound like it was made by a genius. 

Never bring a boat to a Sub-Mariner fight

When Shuri and Riri figure out that the seemingly invincible Namor (Tenoch Huerta) becomes weaker when he doesn't have access to water, they decide to lure him into a massive drying apparatus that strips him of excess humidity and drains his power. This is a neat plan. However, the way Shuri chooses to go about it is ... not great.

The movie establishes that Namor's people are a tough nut to crack as long as they're in water. The Talokanil can breathe underwater. They have all sorts of ocean-themed weapons, use whales as trained transport and attack animals, are able to cause floods, can hypnotize sailors with the power of song, and generally do what they like as long as they're in their aquatic element. What's more, they're super-strong, and appear to vastly outnumber the Wakandans. As such, you'd expect that Shuri would avoid open water like it was on fire ... like, say, by building the dryer device in a beach house somewhere and using the vibranium detection machine to lure Namor there. 

Yet, instead of choosing a ground-based strategy, the brightest mind of the world's most advanced nation decides to fight Namor by hauling a handful of her best Wakandan warriors (and a 19-year-old MIT student with no combat experience) out in the middle of the ocean on a vessel that has barely enough standing room for them all, and engaging the full might of Talokan on Namor's home turf. All of this is done in order to lure Namor — a powerful flying mutant who can disable aircrafts in seconds — aboard a plane that contains their only reasonable shot at drying him up. The plane, of course, flies directly above the very wet ocean as this happens. 

Shuri's original plan would doom the Wakandans even if it succeeds

As the Wakandan forces are slowly but surely overwhelmed by the Talokanil, Shuri and Riri manage to get Namor in the drying machine. However, they apparently haven't considered the possibility that the plane-destroying flying man starts destroying the plane the second he realizes what's up. From that point on, Shuri has to wing it — luckily so, because her improvised plan proves vastly superior to the original. She panic-lands the aircraft to a nearby desert, where a wild combination of elements, grit, cunning, and last-minute mystic visions ultimately wins the day for the landlubbers.

If Shuri's original idea was to dry Namor out and kick him around until he surrenders, taking her fight-happy fellow Wakandans (and Riri) in on the ride would be at least somewhat understandable. However, this isn't the case. Shuri drafts the seafaring plan with the intention to kill Namor — after M'Baku (Winston Duke) specifically warns her that Talokan will never stop attacking Wakanda if their god-king dies by her hand, no less. Shuri takes everyone along while knowing perfectly well that the second she kills Namor, the Talokanil would murder-swarm her crew and start waging eternal war against Wakanda. As such, Shuri's plan essentially sentences her comrades to death, and they just happen to be spared because she has a last-second change of heart. 

Granted, Shuri drafts her plan in throes of despair and anger. Still, when you look at how badly she arranges her offensive, it's really no surprise that the ending of "Wakanda Forever" implies that M'Baku's headed toward Wakanda's throne instead of her ... and that Namor actually considers the conflict's end result a victory for Talokan. 

"Black Panther: Wakanda Forever" is now in theaters.