SyFy has a brilliant piece about the feminism in Captain Marvel and how her antagonists’ tactics recapitulate anti-feminist tropes. What makes Captain Marvel bad? She’s too emotional:
Carol, like so many women, is told repeatedly throughout the film that she must “fight fair.” And “fair,” in the case of the men she encounters both human and alien, means “void of emotion.” … [W]e’re led to believe that detachment is necessary for any Kree warrior. … Nobility, honor, these are the things that matter most. That might be true, but it’s also a guise for a more sinister reality, one in which a man in power tries to stifle the abilities of a woman by equating her emotions with something negative, something shameful.
There are very minor spoilers, but I doubt, as vague and/or peripheral as they are, that they would actually ruin anyone’s enjoyment of the movie. So I recommend that everyone read the piece. Following Jessica Toomer on general principles isn’t a bad idea either.
Tabby Lavalamp says
And of course these men push the narrative that they fight without emotion when we know that’s bullshit. Only psychopaths fight without emotion. Anyone else is just not showing it.
In one of the most important sequences in all of action cinema, near the beginning of “Enter the Dragon”, Bruce Lee laid out his philosophy of martial arts to a student. The crucial line: “We need emotional content.” He understood that, and made it explicit and central, nearly fifty years ago. Slightly depressing that it still needs recapitulating in 2019.
Captain Marvel is great, but that article contains considerably more than “very minor spoilers”, given that Jude Law’s Yon-Rogg is introduced as Vers’ mentor, a mentor who in the first few minutes demonstrates faith in her judgement and abilities. It’s a good read but it’s pretty spoilery.
Raucous Indignation says
I took my sons and my 6-year-old daughter to see Captain Marvel yesterday. It was awesome.
My son took me to see Captain Marvel a few days ago. For me, it was the best superhero movie I’ve ever seen (Black Pather is now #2.)
Yeah, it did have long, drawn-out, over-the-top fight scenes, which bore me, but I recognize that the target audience for superhero flicks mostly come for just those scenes, so they can’t leave them out. And I really liked Dr. Lawson and Marie (and Monica — you go girl!) Dr. Lawson because it’s nice to see a major female character that doesn’t look like a Playboy centerfold and even (gasp!) looks older than 20. Marie because the world I live in includes black people who are just normal people, and Marie was a fully 3-dimensional character and one who was granted a certain amount of agency.
And the movie passes the Bechdel test with flying colors.
I really liked the fact that the pivotal parts of Carol’s character were not just her fighting abilities. IMHO, the pivotal parts of her included her fierce determination to not allow herself to be manipulated and pushed around, and her ability to see past her indoctrination. The part where she comes to see Talos as human rather than a faceless alien menace and learns to trust him was very powerful.
And the way the film gets us to see what the Kree really are was really meaningful to me. I have always seen my transition as being an flight from “Manistan”, as I call it, and the Kree represent to me all the aspects of masculinity and being “a man” that so traumatized and repulsed me. It’s one of the few movies I’ve seen lately that seems to see through the myth of redemptive violence. (Well, only somewhat — after all, redemptive violence is what Superheroes are all about.)