I was looking forward to the Captain Marvel movie despite still being behind on the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the Avengers movies, and my own issues with Marvel Comics and why they even keep trying to make Captain Marvel work…to keep DC from giving Billy Batson his proper superhero identity. I still believe the reason this movie exists was a pushback against the Shazam! movie and making sure it didn’t give him the right name.
However, the real controversy has been how Marvel, and especially Carol Danvers portrayer Bree Larson, have marketed the movie, as if female superheroes were something new. I have a series of videos by people who have followed the marketing campaign better than I have, plus my own thoughts on the material presented. It’s not even a question anymore as to whether or not the movie is good. Most of us have not seen the film. The problems are about the marketing of the movie, and how it may be driving away people rather than bringing them in. That is poor marketing.
To summarize the problem we turn to Midnight’s Edge, as host Andre talks about what Marvel might have planned if the movie doesn’t work out. The main reason for posting this is to go over the problems on the marketing side and comments by Bree Larson.
Again, we don’t know if the movie is any good. I will post Andre’s review at the end of the article if you’re interested. The problem is in how the movie has been marketed, as if there haven’t been any women heroes. While the men primarily dominate in action and sci-fi movies as the one who saves the day, and there have been few superheroines taking center stage that’s not how this film is being presented. It’s made to seem that Captain Marvel is the first one, ignoring Wonder Woman a few years earlier, which people liked, and the recent Alita: Battle Angel, based on the manga that James Cameron became a fan of and had been trying to make into a movie for years. Note in the video Andre mentioned that some people were so disgusted with the pro-extreme feminist marketing that they plan to see Alita out of protest. Those same fans have been asking for a Black Widow movie since Iron Man 2, although she’s more of a spy than a superhero and they would have to find the right story for her. I was under the impression that they found one for Carol Danvers but with the same marketing campaign that hurt the 2016 Ghostbusters reboot it comes into question.
Yes, there should be more women as the lead hero and more superheroines but Carol has been beaten to the punch in the warrior woman style by Ripley from the Aliens franchise and in superheroines as far back as the 1980s with Supergirl. It’s like saying Black Panther was the first black superhero movie with an almost all-black cast and ignoring The Meteor Man, or Wesley Snipes career. (Blade isn’t a superhero but he comes from a comic based in the superhero universe.) And I mean people, not straight Conservative white males. Here’s a commentary from a bisexual liberal woman, MechaRandom42, who considers the marketing, and at least one corner of the movie’s defenders, to be pandering to women by an extreme anti-men mindset. I’m sure I could find more but this is the one I currently follow. Note that she tends to use hard cursing a lot but I only have time to follow a few people. My YouTube backlogs end up long enough and she makes the important points.
I have seen negative reviews that got me excited for something and positive reviews that turned me off because we looked for different things in a movie or their bias was showing. I acknowledge my biases since the reviews here are supposed to be making me a better storyteller in the same markets and types of stories I enjoy. Any reviewer’s opinion is based on his or her personal bias, but to throw out their opinion based on details that have nothing to do with the quality of the movie is not being informed.
While you shouldn’t judge a movie based on the marketing alone, we only have so much time in our days. There’s work, keeping house, personal projects, making time for family, sleeping, and other things that eat up those 24 hours a day clocks give us. I’ve seen marketing for a movie that bears no resemblance to the final product. That’s bad marketing. Marketing doesn’t care about the story being presented. Their job is to get butts in seats or DVDs in players. They are willing to ruin the story if it will get you into the theater, so marketing a movie right is important. Thus far Captain Marvel has been promoted for the fact that the hero is a woman, not that she’s a hero. It gives the opinion that this movie is only for ultra-left feminists and those men who kiss up to them for whatever reason, and if that’s not the movie the marketing is wrong. If it is the movie then it’s something that will not work well with MCU fans. It boils down to the iconography and mythology, and the best authority I follow on that is Professor Geek.
Despite my theories that the movie existed only to restrict DC’s usage of Billy Batson’s proper superhero name, I was excited for the movie. When they started focusing on “her” in “hero” I rolled my eyes and ran with it because it still looked like a good movie. The more the marketing and the usual suspects started focusing only on her gender and ignored other women heroes, I became concerned. When Bree Larson made her famous speech I started getting annoyed. The marketing seems to be dividing in ways that Wonder Woman didn’t, and that movie was saddled with the New 52 coating and the lore issues that come with it as well as the failure Zack Snyder made of the DC cinematic universe. It’s not that men don’t want strong female leads. Explain the success of Buffy The Vampire Slayer (the movie, not the series), Sigourney Weaver’s character in the Alien franchise, the praise for Wonder Woman and Alita: Battle Angel (which I hear suffers from condensing too much of the years-long comics into a short movie), and numerous other examples I could give of strong female characters being cheered on by most of the men I know regardless of sociopolitical (I’m getting tired of using that word on this site and it’s only the second article I’ve used it in) opinions.
Like I’ve said, we’ve only talked about the MARKETING of this movie, not the movie itself. I haven’t seen it and with my lack of income I’m not sure when I will. I still haven’t seen the last two Avengers movie, and I can only blame the recently recovered from medical issues on one of those. However, the way the movie has been marketed has been cause for concern given the history of Hollywood and recent situations in Marvel Comics. So how good is the movie? In the first video we saw that Andre was considered press enough to get a pass to one of the early screenings (unless he used one of those free movie pass sites) and gives us a spoiler-free review. It seems the right way to end this….but putting the review out apparently seems to have been a problem.
The “punching the old lady” bit comes from the trailers. I think she’s supposed to be a Skrull in disguise, and thus worth punching. Here’s a link to the 45+minute survivor of the stream on Midnight’s Edge and a link to their After Dark channel for the spoiler roundtable stream (in case that’s where they host it) if you care to see either. So it sounds like the movie is worth seeing but may not be all that great, with “representation” being more important than the actual story. However, from Andre’s comments, and what many others have said about Black Panther as well as my own viewing of Wonder Woman and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (which also featured strong female characters), that you can have representation AND a strong story. If you want to prove that a strong female lead can make for a good movie, you must make a good movie. Otherwise what you make it look like is you don’t know how to make a good female lead in an action or superhero story. You can not then go and blame “white dudes” for the bad reviews, especially if it’s not just white dudes complaining, like the 2016 Ghostbusters. If you make a good movie that happens to have a female lead instead of a male one, then you will prove your point and make a good movie. If all you care about is, as MechaRandom would say, what’s between the legs and the story is terrible, you will prove their point. Why prove the wrong people right while making a bad movie?
UPDATE: Decided to add MechaRandom’s spoiler-free review.
I still want to see it for myself.