Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is a 2022 movie that concludes the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s fourth phase with an emotional bang. The beloved king T’Challa is gone, and now Wakanda’s remaining defenders must prepare themselves for the menace of Namor, an undersea villain who wishes to tear down the entire surface world.
Namor may not be a cosmic juggernaut like Thanos once was, but he still stands as Phase 4’s best villain for a remarkable variety of compelling reasons. In-universe and on a meta level alike, Namor stands among the MCU’s best villains, and he really stole the show in Wakanda Forever as a true menace to Shuri, Okoye, and the others.
10/10 Namor Was Well Acted By Actor Tenoch Huerta
Part of the MCU’s success stems from these movies’ use of terrific actors to bring classic Marvel characters to life. Actor Robert Downey Jr. was iconic as Iron Man, while Samuel Jackson, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson and more did fine jobs as well. Now, Mexican actor Tenoch Huerta gets a turn to show off his acting chops in a grand-scale comic book movie.
Tenoch Huerta was simply stellar as Namor in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, portraying his character’s anger, sorrow, sympathy, and menace with impeccable acting. Interested fans may also find him in movies such as The Forever Purge, Camino, The 33, and Son of Monarchs.
9/10 Namor Adds Mesoamerican Representation To The MCU
Movie by movie, the MCU has expanded its cast of characters to include some rich, inspiring diversity of real-life ethnic groups and cultures. 2018’s Black Panther was a celebration of the fictional African nation Wakanda, and 2020’s Shang-Chi put Chinese mythology, of sorts, on the MCU’s map.
Now Mesoamerica gets a turn in 2022’s Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, in particular, the Mayans. Mesoamericans are rarely depicted in cinema and even more rarely done so tastefully, but Wakanda Forever is an exception. Takolan may have been villainous with Namor at its head, but it was also sympathetic.
8/10 Namor Has Fascinating Historical Context For What He’s Doing
The MCU often focuses on the present day or even the future for its stories, though it also visits World War II for Captain America storylines. Meanwhile, Wakanda Forever‘s Namor rewound the clocks to the brutal era of Spanish colonization of present-day Mexico.
Namor’s flashbacks depicted his birth and boyhood in the late 1500s, when Spanish conquisatadors ravaged the lands, enslaved the natives, and built colonies in Native lands. Namor saw it all for himself, and that makes national conflicts more real for him than anything he would read in a modern history textbook.
7/10 Namor Has A Stylish, Memorable Costume
Some MCU villains have truly stunning, stylish costumes to make them stand out in a scene. A hero’s or villain’s costume might also speak volumes about their personality, fighting style, their background, and more. Namor the aquatic villain has a costume unlike any other so far in the MCU.
Namor’s outfit matches his Mesoamerican heritage, his status as king, and his need to move gracefully in the water during combat. His costume and accessories balance all those factors well, all while looking distinct, cool, and somewhat menacing. He doesn’t just wear a combat helmet – it’s a fancy, armored headdress of a feathered snake.
6/10 Namor Has Advanced Stealth Skills
Certain MCU villains lack subtlety, such as the brutish high-tech fighter Ivan Vanko or the ring-slinging warlord Xu Wenwu, but Namor is different. He is capable of leading all-out assaults on Wakanda, but he can also slip in undetected for stealth missions.
Queen Ramonda was confident that Wakanda’s defenses were unbreakable, only for Namor to prove her wrong. He emerged from the water in Wakanda to make an offer to Ramonda and Shuri, and Ramonda was alarmed, furious, and disturbed that Namor could slip in and out of her homeland so easily.
5/10 Namor Made His Silliest Trait Cool & Powerful
Namor the Sub-Mariner dates back to an October 1939 issue of Marvel Comics, meaning he hails from an era where many comic elements are either problematic or simply outdated in the eyes of modern fans. What was cool back then is silly and trite now, but Namor found a way around that.
Wakanda Forever‘s Namor still has the original character’s ankle wings, which could have been goofy and tacky. Instead, the live-action Namor used his wings to fly through the air at top speed like a bird of prey, demolishing Wakandan airships as an unstoppable aerial warrior.
4/10 Namor Empathized With The Heroes In Meaningful Ways
MCU heroes and villains always differ in their methods and goals, with villains being willing to kill or destroy others to achieve their selfish goals. However, the best MCU villains, like Namor, can actually understand the heroes on some levels and vice versa.
Like the Wakandans, Namor knows what it’s like to defend a small, secret nation and its treasures from outsiders who would plunder it without mercy. Historically, Namor’s Mesoamerican peoples can relate to Wakandans, viewing European powers as slavers, colonizers, and destroyers.
3/10 Namor Has Strong Charisma With Enemies & Outsiders
Minor MCU villains have weak charisma, such as Cull Obsidian of the Black Order, and they have nothing interesting to say to the Avengers. Other villains such as the trickster god Loki, Erik Killmonger, and now Namor have scarily strong charisma to compel the heroes to listen.
Namor is almost like a snake in Wakanda Forever, whispering calculated, cunning words into Shuri’s ears to convince her to see things his way. Namor can enforce his will by force, but it’s even scarier and more compelling when he menaces the heroes with his hard-to-resist words instead.
2/10 Namor Is A Powerful & Caring King For Takolan’s People
While Thanos led an army of space conquerers and Malekith led the vengeful dark elves, the aquatic villain Namor is to Takolan what the Black Panther is to Wakanda. Namor helped make the underwater kingdom Takolan what it is today, and he will defend it to the death.
Namor may have aggressive intentions, but it’s still inspiring to see him rally his people and give them unity and hope as their eternal feathered snake king. If Namor didn’t have war on his mind, he could have been one of the MCU’s best kings alongside T’Challa, the wise Odin, and others.
1/10 Namor Was Gracious To Recognize His Own Defeat
Most MCU villains fight to the bitter end, and they are eventually killed so they can be wrapped up as a loose end. Some of these villains curse the heroes as they perish or act like fools, but Namor doesn’t stoop to that level in Wakanda Forever. He knows that he has more options than victory or death when battling the new Black Panther.
Namor and Shuri fought evenly on that island’s beach until Shuri finally gained the upper hand and had Namor at her mercy. She gave him one chance to surrender, and Namor wisely took it. Not only was Namor a gracious loser, he used that opportunity to broker a peace between his and Shuri’s people.
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