Posted by: Doc Comics | March 13, 2019

Is Captain Marvel “political” enough?

After several rocky controversial months of review-bombing by internet trolls, the CAPTAIN MARVEL movie finally debuted to eager audiences and solid critical reception. As the first Marvel Studios film with a female lead, it is inevitable that fans would engage the movie in search of Feminist themes and ideological motifs. Rather predictably, the Hollywood blockbuster is a mixed bag of big-screen popcorn and pop-feminism cloaked in colorful costumes and comic book Easter Eggs. As CBR puts it in a very astute essay: “Yes, Captain Marvel is ‘Political’ – Just Not in the Way You Think.”

[Spoilers in the links, FYI.]

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There are several interesting plot twists and story surprises throughout the film, typically expected from Marvel movies at this point, that are sure to have fans deliberating into the upcoming Infinity War: Endgame. Some were pleased with the cinematic adaptations to Captain Marvel’s convoluted comics history, whereas other comics fans bemoaned a clear missed opportunity to feature the first ‘true’ female Captain Marvel (an African-American). There is also the criticism of the film’s blending of progressive cultural representation with militaristic propaganda, but that’s a problem inherent to the superhero genre, and also complicated by this debut’s iteration of the intergalactic terrorist threat of shape-shifting Skrulls into the MCU. Mind blown!!!

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The first appearance of the Skrulls in Fantastic Four #2 (1961) ended with a strange fate that Grant Morrison would later explore with Skrull Kill Krew.

Of course, the real Flerken in the room for this cinematic RetCon is the inherent “Wonder Woman Problem” of Superhero Feminism… which some exasperated Conservative critics found “exhausting” and others deride as watered-down commodity fetishism. Of course the superheroine’s comics history is a already a bit of both, so maybe we can still claim some progress as a conversation piece for intersectional Feminism alongside Wonder Woman. I doubt we’ll be having these same conversations when the “other” Captain Marvel SHAZAM makes his cinematic debut in a few weeks, but then again, maybe the inevitable comparisons will prove illuminating… especially as these superheroes push back against toxic online fandom, the real bad guys.

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Also check out the Comics Studies at UNT blog for a great essay, “I’ve Got 99 Problems but a Skrull Ain’t One: The Many Faces of Mysogyny in Captain Marvel” by Dr. Samantha Langsdale!!


Responses

  1. “Understanding Captain Marvel’s Character Arc” is an amazing analysis of the Superheroine’s Journey in the film…
    http://geekxgirls.com/article.php?ID=11441&fbclid=IwAR3o4syX-xerg9Ag7TF9Z2w9acyI0_EKoKirCQLgq5MVVam-CfeTD3gf4F8


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