Captain Marvel: An Explosive Hit


Prue Gibson, Reporter

As the first female-led superhero film from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and the second female solo movie in comic book History, Captain Marvel faces a lot of controversies. The movie was specifically publicized on sexism, misogyny, racism, and social justice issues in general. Others experience it every day. The sexism that the Captain Marvel movie faces has been, to say the least, extremely ridiculous. People have been opting to stay home and not see the movie due to it being led by a female and how it was publicized. Rotten Tomatoes had to ban misogynistic trolls from its website, IMDB did as well. Captain Marvel has been bombarded with negative audience reviews, all by commentators who couldn’t possibly have seen the movie, due to it not being released yet. Kellyanne Smith, a moviegoer and Marvel fan, said, “It’s just really sad to see all the backlash and oppressive, sexist, criticism that this movie is facing. I wish that others would be happy about female success in the MCU, in finally getting a female-led solo movie”.

A brief look at the movies that have been targeted by trolls in the last few years makes it easy to see that this kind of backlash constantly erupts when women and non-white characters are at the center of Marvel Studios superhero flicks or other cinematic franchises with long, less-diverse histories. For Brie Larson, the main actor, she faces daily criticism and sexism for playing the role.  In an interview last month with Vox, Larson cited a recent study indicating that, among all film critics, females and those from underrepresented racial and ethnic backgrounds accounted for a very low percentage. As she vowed to help diversify those attending her own movie junkets. Soon after a handful of so-called “Marvel fans” vowed to boycott Captain Marvel – claiming that “Brie Larson hates white men”. Jake Kelshan, a Captain Marvel fan, commented about the acclaimed boycott saying, “It’s ridiculous, all the sexist comments about this movie. Like, seriously? You’re going to boycott this movie because a female is leading it? Like are you also going to boycott Avengers: Endgame because Captain Marvel is going to save them all, and she’s a female? It’s 2019 dude. Stop being a sexist jerk”.

Unfortunately for the sexists, this latest campaign to ruin a Marvel movie box office hopes seems no more likely to prove successful than last year’s effort to destroy Black Panther’s Rotten Tomatoes rating. Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck’s film, which is set in the 1990s and features a digitally de-aged Samuel L Jackson as Nick Fury, is tracking for a US bow of more than $100m – which would place it among Marvel’s more successful films. During its opening week, it received positive critical reviews, and the film made $153 million domestically/$455 million worldwide in its opening weekend at the box office. The film also has a score of 21,913 on ‘Want to See’, around double the 10,846 for Avengers: Endgame, on Rotten Tomatoes. Sophia Alleva, a moviegoer and Marvel fan, said, “I don’t know why people think it’s so surprising that so many people want to see Captain Marvel, like even more than Avengers: Endgame. Of course, it’s wanted to be seen more than the Avengers movie. Like almost 60% of the population is female. So yeah we’re excited that we’re finally getting some recognition in the MCU”.

Many who actually went and saw the movie were, to say the least, ecstatic. Chelsea Mahine, a Captain Marvel fan, said, “Captain Marvel is such an inspiration. It opens the door just a small bit, into the world that women live in. There were parts in the movie when males would criticize her and say that she couldn’t do something. All because she was a female. And the thing is, is that the things those men said weren’t made up. I hear that stuff everyday, just like every other girl does too. My daughter came home one day crying because some boys in her class made fun of her for wanting to be a superhero. Every girl, every woman, every boy, everyone deserves to see and look up to someone like Captain Marvel”. John Hamby, a moviegoer, said, “I took my daughter to see it the day it came out. She was ecstatic, she’s only nine years old. I’ve never really understood why females deserved a movie, even more so than men, until now. My daughter needed someone she could look up to… One time she asked me why Black Widow always had to do what Captain America told her to and why there wasn’t a Black Widow movie. I had no idea what to say, I still don’t. Girls today deserve a strong role model like Captain Marvel, even more so then the boys do. So that’s why we’re here to see it for the third time this week”.

Brie Larson is a successful (Oscar-winning) woman playing the most powerful hero in the Marvel universe, according to studio chief Kevin Feige. In fact, her alter ego, Carol Danvers, is supposedly the savior in the forthcoming Avengers: Endgame. This, to the average “men’s rights” advocate, is a concept of irredeemable outlandishness. Due to Captain Marvel being the first real superhero in the MCU and the most powerful, and the fact that she is not a male, obviously bothers those that are sexist. For those that can’t see it yet, the problem here is sexism and misogyny at its finest. Often she is labeled as a Social Justice Warrior, which is a pejorative term for an individual who promotes socially progressive views, including feminism, civil rights, and multiculturalism, as well as identity politics. We should all be more like Captain Marvel who is, strong, compassionate, kind, a Social Justice Warrior, inspirational, intelligent, and who stands up for others. We should try to be like Captain Marvel.