It’s a shame the press around Captain Marvel has been taken over by anti-progressive misogynists.
We saw it with Black Panther, and now we see it with Captain Marvel. Precious DC fans, racists, sexists and misogynists trying to tear down a progressive superhero film.
One of the most famous cases of this was the reaction to a tweet by a father that included a picture of his son looking up at a poster of Captain Marvel in awe. That same awe that kids look at Thor, Iron Man and Captain America with. The only difference? This is the first time that superhero is a woman. Seemingly some men couldn’t swallow the idea that a little boy can look up to a woman.
It’s been over ten years since the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) began, with Iron Man, which by any means is far too long to wait to see a woman lead a superhero film. The franchise has generally been fairly weak when it comes to women characters. Black Widow and Scarlet Witch aren’t strong enough superheroes for people to get behind enough to warrant having their own film. Gamora from Guardians of the Galaxy was arguably the first woman to enter the MCU who was relatable, but also taken seriously. In fact, even her sister Nebula has proved to be engaging enough to land herself a more key role in future films.
It’s been over ten years since the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), with Iron Man, which by any means is far too long to wait to see a woman lead a superhero film.
Then came Black Panther, which offered us not only diversity with ethnicity, but also the strongest, funniest, and most intelligent women in the MCU so far. Admittedly, the film was still lead by a man, but it was a revelation to finally see Marvel doing women characters justice.
So, when we refer to Captain Marvel as progressive, it almost feels absurd. It simply shouldn’t have taken eleven years. Women have had to be extremely patient. And even then, we are offered the most socially acceptable woman – a white, blonde, able-bodied, slim woman. Having said that, it is worth noting her sexuality hasn’t been addressed. Not giving her a love story was great for two reasons. Firstly, it offers the possibility of our first queer Marvel superhero. Secondly, it would have been extremely cliché to feel the need to give the lead woman a love story – because as we know, in Hollywood women absolutely need a man in their life. Can you hear my eyes rolling into the back of my head?
It’s also worth noting that in a film created with gender progressiveness at its core, it fucks up in one scene in particular. It involves a ‘genital check’, which is essentially used to get a cheap laugh, and has been accused of being transmisic.
The film also tries to add an element of ethnic diversity, by casting a black woman to play Carole’s best friend on Earth, Maria Rambeau which is great. Women of colour still aren’t getting equal opportunities in Hollywood, so it’s another step forward. However, Marvel seem to be getting into a slightly annoying habit of casting the characters of colour as sidekicks. We’ve seen it with Iron Man’s sidekick War Machine and Captain America’s sidekick Falcon, just to name a few. It’s starting to feel like a washed-up attempt at ethnic diversity, following the triumph that was Black Panther.
Captain Marvel may be long overdue, but it has to be said that for the most part, it’s been executed very well. Unlike Wonder Woman, the film has completely avoided any sexualisation of Carole Danvers (Captain Marvel). There are no close-up shots of her arse in tiny pants as she slides down to tackle a baddie. There’s no cheap scene of someone “accidentally” walking in on her in nothing but a push-up bra. It’s just a superhero being a badass superhero. In fact, Cap Marvel being a woman isn’t even a factor in the film. It’s acknowledged in snide comments, often with a jokey tone. Such as when a young girl says she may one day build a plane, Fury laughs, assuming it’s a joke. Carole replies with a smug smile on her face stating “she may well build a plane”. The film as a whole though is just another entertaining, humorous, exciting Marvel movie with the most powerful Marvel superhero – who just happens to be a woman – at the helm.
It’s not the most feminist of feminist films, and there are certainly areas that could’ve been tackled in a more sensitive way. But it’s empowering for many women nonetheless, and is a perfect example of how to create a superhero film with a woman as the lead, that doesn’t rely on her sex appeal or stereotypical maternal trait.
Quick note to the real star of the show too, Goose the ginger cat. Keeping my fingers crossed that he becomes a recurring character in the MCU.