Marvel Rising: Operation Shuri Is Confusing

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Operation Shuri Makes Sense Until The Last Scene

Operation Shuri is a fun idea for an episode, let down by the last few minutes. Up until a single baffling conversation, I was on board with the storyline. Wakanda being so far ahead of most places with their technology, culture, education, etc. is one of the reasons the Black Panther movies are so interesting. The conflicts springing from that simply have more narrative opportunities than “stop the evil magic thing.” And adapting the same general concept to an interpersonal conflict is a great idea. The Secret Warriors are a bunch of barely trained superheroes—it makes sense Shuri would be better at this than them.

It also allows for the strongest comedy concept Marvel Rising has had. The jokes in Operation Shuri utilize each character well, and nothing feels contrived. Ego clashes are usually annoying in fiction, especially children’s fiction, but because Shuri is genuinely just trying to help, it ends up charming. Even the aspects of Squirrel Girl’s shenanigans that usually annoy me are fine in this episode because of the low stakes of the situation.

Somehow, even the animation seems better here. The timing of motion is good; the facial acting is readable. It’s not anything special, but it also wasn’t distracting. Even background characters seemed to react more to things than usual. I have no idea why this episode is like this, but I’m not complaining.

But I know you’re waiting to hear about this weird ending. And it is weird. Without spoiling too much, I’d say it’s a byproduct of the runtime being so short. Another five minutes or even just two more conversations would’ve probably fixed it. Operation Shuri is essentially a series of fun vignettes followed by one big action scene. But at the end, the story claims to have had a narrative arc that it simply didn’t establish. No one learned anything, not really. Characters completely change their verbally stated opinions with almost no reason to do so. It’s more like Operation Shuri is gesturing at cliché lessons often learned in episodic superhero stories and expecting the viewer to work off assumptions. It’s jarring, it’s confusing, and it would’ve been so easy to fix. I don’t understand why this happened. I truly don’t.  

Somehow, though, this error doesn’t bother me enough to give Operation Shuri a negative rating. The rest is still good. It doesn’t undo the otherwise fun plot. Shuri is one of the best characters we’ve gotten in this series. If it wasn’t for the large amount of backstory needed for context, I’d recommend Operation Shuri for any fan of low-stakes superhero stories. The series has found what it does best. And it’s actually a little sad that there’s only one of these left to review.   

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