Captain Marvel fighting villains, as well as critics

Marvel is no stranger to exciting superhero movies that feature a transcendent lead with powers that break the box office. Up until now, all of these leads in individual superhero movies at Marvel have been male, until this March when they released “Captain Marvel,” Marvel’s first female-led superhero movie. 

Starring Oscar-winning Brie Larson, the movie focuses on the story of Carol Danvers, a Kree warrior who tries to navigate an extraterrestrial war between the Krees and the Skrulls. It’s full of nostalgia, set in 1995 and gives earlier marvel character Nick Fury a chance to shine and develop a strong backstory. 

The movie itself sounds like Marvel’s typical formula for success: a lead played by a phenomenal actor, a strong supporting cast and a story that keeps you on the edge of the seat throughout the entire movie, but as the reviews rolled in, critics and audiences alike seemed to be disappointed by Captain Marvel, a long-awaited film by many diehard Marvel fans, raising the question: what went wrong? Before the movie even came out, the Rotten Tomatoes score online dropped to only 63 percent. Trolls flooded the review section, calling the film “Anti-male” and “a terrible movie.” With reviews rolling in by the minute, Captain Marvel seemed doomed before it was even released.

The negative reviews seemed to be a response to a recent interview by Larson with Marie Claire on Feb. 17. While promoting the movie, Larson took time to call into question the people who would potentially be reviewing it. “About a year ago, I started paying attention to what my press days looked like and the critics reviewing movies and noticed it appeared to be overwhelmingly white male,” Larson said. 

This comment seemingly launched a flurry of online reviewers, flooding the review section of Rotten Tomatoes in order to give the movie a bad rating before it even came out. Because Larson shared her opinion, it ended up hurting the potential box office sales for Captain Marvel. 

This isn’t the first time when a revolutionary movie was rejected by the public before it was even released. Some argued against the film “Wonder Woman” before it was released, calling it anti-feminist. Critics claimed that women don’t need a strong superhero movie that only centers around the fact that she’s a woman. 

It’s almost as if a female superhero can’t win when it comes to pleasing audiences. Critics want a movie about a strong woman, but not one that hates men or in any way degrades men’s status, but the woman can’t be too strong or focus on her gender because it’s apparently anti-feminist. 

When writing new movies that actually include women in a male-dominated genre, writers face a struggle between being too supportive of women or not supportive enough. It’s a struggle that they won’t face when writing about Captain America or Iron Man because their gender doesn’t present something new and different for superheroes. 

Despite these struggles, the fact that we have any female superheroes at all is a huge improvement from where we started in the movie industry. Until society can manage to move forward with gender equality, there will never truly be a perfect female superhero that can please everybody. 

Regardless of the negative reviews, Captain Marvel is still a well-told story that is bringing forth important conversations in terms of inclusivity and equality in Hollywood. As long as the conversation is happening, that is a step towards a better movie industry. While it may be a small step, it’s still a step forward.

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