Black Panther’s success can’t be explained by any one thing. Making movies that resonate with both critics and the public requires plenty of intricate design and thinking. Every character has to work and serve the story, and each one has to feel real and developed. Although much of the praise is deservedly going to Michael B. Jordan’s Killmonger, who is wonderfully characterized in the film, the other major standout from the film’s cast seems to be Shuri, played by Letitia Wright.
Shuri proves to be a witty genius, capable of outsmarting almost everyone else in the film. Shuri is only 16, and as T’Challa’s younger sister, she’s also a princess. In spite of all this, though, what makes Shuri such a standout is her buoyant presence on screen.
Her skills with technology don’t hurt either, and those skills are so profound that they have led some Black Panther fans to compare her with Marvel’s other resident tech whiz: Tony Stark. Some even think that Shuri is the more talented of the two, and there’s plenty of evidence in Black Panther that supports that conclusion. Whether it’s her revolutionary technology or her pithy dialogue, there are plenty ways Shuri outmatches the genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist.
Here are 16 Things Shuri Can Do That Tony Stark Can't.
16 Create Vibranium Cars
Granted, Tony Stark doesn’t have access to vibranium, but even if he did, he still may not be able to build impervious cars with as much skill as Shuri. The vehicles, which were used in the scenes in South Korea, are obviously incredibly useful because they essentially make guns a non-factor.
Of course, Klaue’s Wakandan weapon manages to disintegrate one of the cars, but that doesn’t mean that this tech is useless. In fact, far from it. These cars are as durable as T’Challa’s Panther suit, which means that, in the event of a chase, they’re much safer than the typical vehicle.
Vibanium may not be able to solve all of the world’s problems, but with Shuri’s help, it certainly seems capable of helping with many of them.
15 Create Suits That Dissolve And Reform
Although Stark’s Iron Man suits are pretty easy to get on - largely because they can fly to Tony wherever he is - he has yet to build a suit that can seemingly disintegrate into nothingness with the push of a button. Thanks to the vibranium at Shuri’s disposal, she’s able to do just that with T’Challa’s Panther suit.
Because the suit can disappear, T’Challa can break it out whenever he needs to, no matter what circumstances he finds himself in. This was particularly useful in Korea, as it allowed T’Challa to blend in completely with the world around him, and only put on the suit when it was absolutely necessary.
This kind of tech is what Shuri specializes in, as it utilizes all of the properties of vibranium to create something that Tony Stark could never dream of.
14 Fix Bucky
Although Cap and Stark aren’t exactly on the best terms after their confrontation in Civil War, Stark probably wouldn’t have the technology to fix Cap’s best friend - even if he wanted to. Shuri, on the other hand, is well on her way to restoring Bucky to full health, and it seems like the Wakandans will play an essential role in Infinity War when that movie hits theaters in May.
Considering the enormous success of Black Panther, Wakanda’s role in Infinity War is great news. It’s about time they entered the larger fight, and it looks like with Thanos’s arrival, they finally will.
Whether it’ll be enough to tip the tide is another question entirely, but with Shuri’s tech behind them, the Avengers will be a lot closer to victory than they would be otherwise.
13 Rule Wakanda
This one comes entirely from Shuri’s bloodline, but she is royalty, which means she could grow up and become the queen of Wakanda if she wanted to. Although Stark has plenty of powerful tech at his disposal, his odds of being crowned king anywhere in the world are pretty slim.
Shuri’s character is even more important because of her royal lineage.
She’s brilliant, and capable of creating endless new technologies for her brother. Even as she does that, she also has the bloodline required to lead the nation. Shuri would be a great queen not just because of the family that she comes from, but also because she has the brains for the job. T’Challa is a good and noble man, but even he would admit that she far outstrips him in that department.
12 Help an Entire Nation
Although Stark took up the mantle of Iron Man in order to help the people who’d been wounded by his weapons, we see very few indications that Stark’s technology has helped the wider world. It’s true that he’s used it to build his suit, which has saved the world from invasion on a couple of occasions, and was developing an underwater power source.
Shuri, though, has used her technologically inclined mind to build a variety of technologies that have helped all the people of Wakanda. Part of the plot of the movie is based on this advanced technology, which Killmonger believes should be accessible to the wider world.
Even if the world now knows about Wakanda, Shuri has already helped an entire nation with her inventions for no personal gain whatsoever, something that Stark has yet to do.
11 Have A Good Relationship With Her Family
Tony Stark famously has bad relationships with pretty much everyone. He and his dad didn’t get along before his father was killed by the Winter Soldier, and his relationships with Pepper Potts and the rest of the Avengers are strained, at best.
Shuri, on the other hand, seems to be adored by every member of her family.
T’Challa relies on her technology and her personality to lighten up his somewhat serious persona, and her mother relies on her spontaneity and wit to lighten up the rituals that Wakanda performs. Shuri seems to have a loving relationship with everyone in her life, and be beloved by those she knows. Shuri has all of Stark’s genius (or maybe even more), and she also has a healthy social life.
10 Save Her Country Before She's 20
Tony Stark came to his realizations about the state of the world pretty late in life. He spent his '20s and '30s basically partying and living a fairly care-free lifestyle. When he does have a crisis of conscience, it’s a powerful moment that leads to the creation of Iron Man. Still, he’s pretty late to the party.
Shuri seems to already be helping Wakanda on many fronts.
Not only does she help advance the country’s technology, she also takes Killmonger on, and manages to help keep her country from falling apart. Shuri has all of the wits and tech that Stark does, plus some, and she’s also taken a much more active role in shaping the world that she lives in, hopefully for the better.
9 Magnetized Trains
Shuri likely didn’t create the civilization of Wakanda as we know it on her own, but she’s nonetheless credited as the principal architect of Wakanda’s technology, and that includes the underground railways where the final confrontation takes place. These railways use magnetic levitation, and even Everett Ross can’t help but be impressed by how smoothly the trains run.
Like most things in Wakanda, Shuri’s trains have helped Wakanda push far ahead of the rest of the world.
These trains move incredibly quickly and seem to be used to connect the entire nation. What’s more, they carry vibranium around the country, even though it’s not stable enough to move at speeds that fast. Shuri’s sonic cannons solved that problem, just as her inventions solved most of the country’s other problems.
8 Roast Black Panther
Black Panther and Tony Stark don’t have a ton of time together in Civil War, in part because T'Challa seems to be acting largely as an outside agent. It’s safe to say that Stark doesn’t have the same kind of relationship with T’Challa as his sister does: one that gives her plenty of opportunities to roast him.
Perhaps Shuri’s best dig comes when she sees T’Challa’s open-toed sandals in her lab. With a simple question -- “What are those?” -- Shuri is able to completely own her brother and scold his bad taste in fashion. Although Shuri has a big brain, she’s not above some gentle ribbing.
It’s all a part of a balanced diet, and it suggests that Shuri is ultimately the kind of stable tech genius we'd actually want to hang out with.
7 Make "Sneakers"
One of the most appealing things about Black Panther is that he is different from many of his louder, more bombastic Marvel counterparts. True to his name, Black Panther is quieter and stealthier, often operating more like a spy and only striking when he must.
Because of that inherent stealthiness, Shuri obviously feels it’s appropriate to create silent shoes for him, which she aptly names “sneakers”- because they make you sneaky. We’ve never seen Stark employ this type of technology, probably because he prefers much grander ways to get things done. Still, this tech is undoubtedly useful for T’Challa, and only helps him do more work under the cover of darkness and silence.
Of course, it doesn’t hurt that Shuri came up with a clever name as well. After all, branding is everything.
6 Heal People With Remarkable Speed
Martin Freeman’s Everett Ross could very well have died if he’d been taken to a normal hospital after he was shot. With Shuri’s tech, not only is he healed; he’s up and walking the very next day. It’s unclear exactly what she did to heal Ross, but her technology made his recovery so brief that Ross himself thought that some sort of magic must have been involved.
Shuri wisely responds that it wasn’t magic that saved him, but her technology.
Ross is justifiably amazed at his speedy recovery, and it becomes clear to him that Wakanda is not the country he thought it was. Stark certainly has some remarkable technology, but even he doesn’t have anything that can heal a bullet to the spine in a single day. That kind of tech is close to miraculous.
5 Kinetic Absorption
Perhaps the coolest thing about the Black Panther suit is kinetic absorption, which Shuri introduces to T’Challa near the beginning of the film. That specific power comes in incredibly handy at several points throughout the film, in part because it gives the Black Panther the chance to repel a bevy of attacks simultaneous.
Now, not only is the Panther suit essentially indestructible, it’s also able to use the energy from the attacks it receives to repel attackers.
This comes in hand during T’Challa’s battle with W’Kabi and his tribe, as it allows him to repel many members of the tribe simultaneously. Kinetic absorption is a great way to reassert dominance in a battle, and take your enemy by surprise. Even when you’re the one being hit, you’re just collecting energy for your next assault.
4 Those Beaded Bracelets
The beaded bracelets that everyone in Wakanda seems to have are incredible. They appear to have a number of different attributes that make them stunningly powerful. Several times we see them used to create sophisticated holograms that allow for instantaneous communication between two people.
That’s not all these bracelets can do, though. If you pull an individual bead off, it seems they also have some healing properties. When Ross is shot in the spine, leading to a debilitating injury, those beads seem to stabilize him, at least temporarily. That may just be one of the healing properties of vibranium, but Shuri was smart enough to incorporate that into her already multi-functional bracelets.
It’s a good thing she did, too, or Agent Ross wouldn’t have been alive to help save Wakanda.
3 Remote Takeover
One of the more impressive and surprising technologies that shows up in Black Panther is remote takeover, which gives Shuri or anyone else the ability to remotely control a vehicle from the safety of her lab. This comes in handy twice over the course of the film, first as the Wakandans chase after Klaue, and then again later when Ross is able to use the tech to shoot down Killmonger’s weapon-loaded planes before they reach the wider world.
This tech is not only amazingly cool, it’s also incredibly useful. It makes any form of transportation infinitely safer, particularly when you consider how much danger Ross would have been in had he actually been flying that Wakandan ship. Remote takeover is safer, and it’s also really cool, which is exactly the kind of tech Shuri specializes in.
2 Sonic Cannons
Shuri doesn’t get to do a ton of fighting in Black Panther, but the fighting she does get to do is pretty potent. She almost manages to take down superpowered black-operative Killmonger with the help of her sonic cannons, a technology that Stark seems to forgo in favor of more straightforward blasters.
That sonic technology is so impressive because it is able to cancel out many of the properties that make vibranium so impenetrable. In fact, it’s the sonic pulses in the underground trains that are ultimately responsible for the death of Killmonger. If his vibranium suit hadn’t been vulnerable, T’Challa would have never had the chance to defeat him.
Shuri not only understands how to use all that vibranium has to offer, she also knows how to disable it when she has to.
1 Become The Black Panther
Many are hoping that Shuri will one day take up the mantle of Black Panther in her brother’s place, and that’s a hope that may well come to fruition. Considering the age difference between T’Challa and Shuri, it’s certainly possible that Shuri will eventually assume the role once T’Challa, and Chadwick Boseman, ages out of it. Of course, part of the brilliance of Shuri is that she speaks to the future of the Marvel universe, and the vast number of different, interesting directions that it could go.
If T’Challa feels like staying in the suit, Shuri could become the new Iron Man, and fight alongside her brother. Her future is bright, not just because of the tech she creates, but also because of her ability to match wits with anyone and her willingness to prove herself on the battlefield.
What else can Black Panther's Shuri do that Tony Stark can't? Let us know in the comments!