“Captain Marvel”: the HERo We all Deserve

“Captain Marvel”: the HERo We all Deserve

Written by Malathi Reddy

Fierce. Strong. Powerful. Woman.

“Captain Marvel” preaches what most of us already know: a woman is a force to be reckoned with. A fiery superhero with sardonic humor and awe-inspiring powers, Captain Marvel is a serious contender in the Marvel universe.

A galactic warrior with photon fists and a forgotten past, Captain Marvel aka Carol Danvers, played by Brie Larson (“Room,” “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World”), explores her abilities and uncovers her dark origins as she tries to stop an alien invasion on planet Earth. Along the way, she tangles with former S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Nick Fury, played by Samuel L. Jackson. Larson and Jackson are accompanied by a powerful supporting cast including Jude Law playing fellow warrior Yon-Rogg, Lashana Lynch playing Air Force pilot Marie Rambeau, Annette Bening playing the brilliant Dr. Wendy Lawson, Clark Gregg playing Agent Phil Coulson, and of course, the show-stealing cat, Goose.

As Marvel Studios’ first female-led film, “Captain Marvel” still had a smashing success at the box office. Opening on International Women’s Day, “Captain Marvel” grossed over $455 million around the world during its opening weekend, making it the highest grossing movie ever with a female lead (which was previously held by Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” in 2017). Within the comic book genre, “Captain Marvel” has secured the second place spot for highest grossing opening, following “Avengers: Infinity War” at $604.5 million.

Despite the hype and success, however, “Captain Marvel” is certainly not the best film Marvel Studios has offered to its audiences. Instead, it falls somewhere in the average. It was funny enough to be enjoyable but not up to par with the witty “Guardians of the Galaxy.” It has its share of intense action scenes, but comes nowhere near “The Avengers.” It doesn’t have that strange uniqueness about it like “Dr. Strange.” Still, “Captain Marvel” has aspects that make it unique and better than several other Marvel movies (such as the “Hulk”). The hilarious dynamic between Larson and Jackson makes them one of my top iconic duos in the MCU. Also, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the incredible 90s soundtrack and aesthetic that was referenced hilariously throughout the film. Most importantly though, this March marks four months since we lost Stan Lee, the original Marvel comic book writer, and as anticipated, “Captain Marvel” includes a tear-jerking tribute and heartwarming cameo of the legend.

While “Captain Marvel” is an average film, it is groundbreaking as Marvel Studios’ first superhero movie with a female lead. In over 10 years and 20 films, Marvel Studios has given us female characters like Black Widow, Scarlet Witch, the Dora Milaje of Wakanda, and of course, Peggy Carter. But these heroes, while winning a place in our hearts, have never been featured in a solo film, despite fans clamoring for years for a Black Widow standalone film. Finally letting down its resistance, Marvel Studios gave us a film that gives the little girls and boys of the world a powerful female hero to idolize. A hero who is kind and emphatic, strong and brave, stubborn and sarcastic, and unapologetically, a woman. Children are now getting a diverse group of heroes to love and more of their stories are being represented, as demonstrated by Marvel’s recent release of “Black Panther,” which broke racial barriers within the MCU. The beauty of this movie is that we’re showing the world that heroes come in all shapes and sizes, different colors and orientations, and they can still inspire us all to be better.

As a powerful film highlighting the plight and the strength of women, “Captain Marvel” is an anthem for all women seeking their own inner strength. Throughout Carol’s life, she has been pushed down and mocked, but never once did she give up. She always stands back up, gritting her teeth and fire lighting her eyes. In those moments, I saw myself in her. I saw myself as how I want to be: a powerful and strong woman, a force to be reckoned with. “Captain Marvel” inspired me to go forth into the world and find that inner strength that no one can take away.

Sadly though, not everyone shared enthusiasm for the movie. Incredibly, there are people who were so against the prospect of a female hero that they pushed back before the movie was even released. Rotten Tomatoes received a massive flood of negative comments that overwhelmed the ‘Want to Watch’ score for “Captain Marvel,” effectively dropping it from the respectable score in the high 90s to the low range shared by trashy romantic comedies and low-budget dramas. Rotten Tomatoes was quick to fix this apparent ‘glitch’ by removing the comment and rating feature before a movie is released but “Captain Marvel” was able to recover its score on its own through its organic love from its fans.

This misogynistic backlash began with Larson making some comments calling for greater diversity in media coverage, which was followed by an outcry from sensitive men, who called for boycotts of “Captain Marvel” and labeled Larson as a feminist who hates all men. As misguided as this entire affair was, this is not an isolated event. In recent years, movies like “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” “Black Panther,” and the remake of  “Ghostbusters” with a female cast experienced similar patterns of harassment and trolling. “Captain Marvel” has simply joined a long series of films with female and non-white lead characters that are victims of trolling and unfortunately, it will not be the last.

To be quite frank, I do not understand how this is still happening. When movies like “Black Panther” and “Captain Marvel” are created and released, they broaden our scope and allow us to understand and experience other perspectives while allowing others, whose stories are usually underrepresented or disregarded in favor of the status quo, to feel represented and empowered. This is how these movies become such an integral part of a cultural movement. I only hope that creators are not discouraged from making stories that represent such a diverse group of people and instead channel their inner Captain Marvel to not back down.   

 

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