In preparation for Avengers: Endgame I went to a viewing of Captain Marvel. I am not only completely caught up on my Marvel-verse, but have a family friendly movie thumbs up to recommend you and an nontraditional review. Keeping things on a level, I’m going to “Honor The Journey” a bit here, because some “girl power” and “Feminism” needs to be addressed.
Not unlike Black Panther I was hesitant to see Captain Marvel, and for similar reasons. I generally avoid reviews about any movie I’m interested in seeing because I like to remain as unbiased going in as possible. I also don’t enjoy spoilers. However, with movies like Black Panther and Captain Marvel the talk surrounding is almost impossible to avoid.
In regards to Marvel immediately you heard people complaining about Captain Marvel being a woman and a female lead in general. I look over both my shoulders just as I did with the Black Panther protests to ask “who on earth is actually complaining about this?” To be clear, Captain Marvel or Carol Danvers was always a woman in the source material, but even if she wasn’t, who cares? The roles of ANY film should go to the PERSON that best fits the character. Male, female, white, black, Hispanic, it doesn’t matter. And if you’re complaining about this kind of gig in the super hero verse you should probably start backing up now, and you’ll probably want to stop reading what I’m writing.
The entire concept of super hero movies is about being inclusive to people who are different, broken, or misfits. All superhero movies are little more than a metaphor for overcoming some adversity in your life, be it trauma, diversity, or being an outcast. Character’s develop powers (or use their millions) to fight “evil”. It is fantasy, it is science fiction, and it is intended to connect people of different backgrounds. It has given people a voice, a representation and empowerment for generations before mainstream society ever even felt like acknowledging it. Now that it IS mainstream society people want to complain about it. My advice to those people is to choke on it.
Other Cinematic Examples
As a woman watching Wonder Woman I didn’t feel represented as a woman. I liked it, I enjoyed Gal Gadot in the role, and found it to be perfectly enjoyable entertainment, but she was a goddess and royalty, so beautiful that she didn’t almost even seem real, and her story was set in the past so no big personal connection. Also all of that fun, there was still no heavy handed “girl power” being shoved in our faces either. DC for once did a solid job of just telling the story.
Black Panther was equally successful in that capacity. It did a great job of telling the story and representing the world. You were immersed in the culture of Wakanda and not once did the color of people’s skin occur to me or the strong female presence. I’m sure in both of those films different people felt represented and connected with characters on personal level. That is a beautiful by-product of entertainment, but ultimately it’s still just entertainment.
Don’t Worry I’m Getting To Marvel and My Point
I DID feel represented in Captain Marvel and it was a wonderful moment. As a little girl who loved science fiction and action movies my female hero’s were limited. I looked to Sarah Connor in Terminator and Ellen Ripley in the Alien franchise. Real women doing the work in other worldly circumstances. There is a moment in Captain Marvel where Carol has to realize her true identity. She has visions of herself getting knocked down playing baseball, crashing a go-cart, falling off the ropes in her Air Force training, and other failures. After each “failure” she gets back up. Again and again she kept fighting and kept going. In that moment she finds herself and her inner strength. Kaboom, she discovers her “powers” then too.
This revelation had nothing to do with her being a woman. It could have easily been a male counterpart and it likely would have still been profound. But, for me it was one of the first times in a very long while I felt represented on screen. That little girl trying to do so many things, and mercilessly failing at them, but each time getting up and still trying to do it. I heard my mother’s voice in my head incredulously telling the story she so often told about me running track in high school. “She came in last all the time, and way after everyone else and she would still be happy because she beat her time.”
It wasn’t that I wasn’t aware of how terrible I was, which I think was what my mother assumed. It was something more that I learned early on. I learned to fail, often and regularly, but I also learned to never give up. So in that one moment, that one part of a movie about a girl flying through space saving the planet from bad guys I had this great moment of warmth, of knowing that little girl I once was not only had a voice but was heard by so many people across the world. It was just a moment, in a scene, in a movie and it was wonderful.
Should I Even Review?
As far as the film on a whole goes? It was delightfully entertaining and fun, done extremely well as is usually the case with the Marvel franchise. Sam Jackson and Brie Larson had excellent chemistry. The humor was on point, and everyone will be fans of “Goose”. There were moments where the “Girl Power” was pretty heavy handed I personally did not enjoy those moments. I don’t need the screaming, “I am woman hear me roar”.
“Any man who must say ‘I am the King’ is no true king,”
Tywin Lannister or Charles Dance or George R.R. Martin says this in Game of Thrones and I feel the same way about making this kind of change in the world. I don’t need to scream it from the rafters. No one is going to hear me, but I can stand here as an example and do the work.
Just Watch It And Enjoy It
So Bravo to Marvel for doing what it’s always been doing. Bravo to all of the minorities, women, and outcasts that shine as hero’s in any medium. We have voices and can tell our stories. Let’s ignore those that don’t want to accept the change in the world because they are slipping further and further into the darkness and the louder they protest the more insane they sound. Keep fighting the good fight and let us enjoy movies at their core of creation…..to entertain us.