140 Is Captain Marvel a Feminist Movie?

James Sonia

As you can all probably tell, I am more of a movie guy than a true social kind of guy, if that makes sense. Regardless, for my “Theory In The Community” post, I decided to do a “feminist” sort of review of Captain Marvel, mostly because its 2019’s Ghostbusters 2016. What I mean by that is the movie has had the same sort of controversy surrounding a “SJW Agenda.” Some of the cast, in this case main actress Brie Larson, said some things that really rubbed the fans the wrong way. Larson made a big speech about how most movie critics are 40-something white men, and that’s wrong, and that “A Wrinkle In Time” wasn’t made for “them.” Whatever that means. To quote some semi-famous hack frauds, “film criticism is the least important thing in the world.” Naturally, this made people upset and led them to believe that Captain Marvel would be a SJW s***show that crammed a feminist agenda down their throats like a cosmic cube down the gullet of an alien cat. Again, this is similar to the shitshow that was Ghostbusters 2016. The movie got panned by critics and the cast blamed misogyny and sexists and even the dreaded racists. Wasn’t the racists fault the movie sucked though. Anyway, this has all made me think, what kind of movie is Captain Marvel then? IS it a feminist movie? Well yes, it is an empowering movie about a woman overcoming her creepy boss controlling her and keeping her from reaching her full potential. In Audre Lorde’s “Age, Race, Class, and Sex: Woman Redefining Difference,” she states “Institutionalized rejection of difference is an absolute necessity in a profit economy which needs outsiders as surplus people” (854). I bring this up to talk about how the bad guys of the movie–spoiler: it’s actually the Kree not the Skrull–do exactly that. Captain Marvel is brainwashed by her superior officer into thinking she is a member of their race, which thrives on an endless war with the nomadic Skrulls, painting them as the warmongers when they are actually an oppressed class of people. The Kree thrive in a wartime economy so they need the oppressed to prosper. It is a pretty good twist that the Skrull are the good guys in this, though not unexpected as the Kree in the MCU are jerks. But that is a whole other matter. Now Captain Marvel is in the air force, and as expected there are a lot of scenes which basically boil down to “You can’t do this, you’re a WOMAN.” I hate this one scene with an awful pilot in a bar and he tells her “hehehe you know why they call it a COCK pit right hehehe.” Like ugh. Jesus. I get what they are going for, I really do but it comes across really hamfisted, especially since it’s a scene in within a montage of scenes where she is getting put down, and it’s shown as backstory, in a really badly edited way? I don’t know. She has pretty decent action scenes though; she is a horrible fighter when she is not just blasting people but I kind of like that. It makes her cockier, and when she finally does kick some ass and blow up like armadas of ships, her cocky attitude feels earned. I would say this is more of a traditional, white feminist movie though, as it really only focuses on the plights of a white woman in the air force, and not her black best friend who is a single mother and the same rank as her. She just gets into a dogfight with an alien and nothing about her assumed troubles in the air force are mentioned. Lorde also says “By and large within the woman’s movement today, white woman focus upon their oppression as woman and ignore differences of race, sexual preference, class, and age. There is a pretense to a homogeneity of experience covered by the word sisterhood that does not in fact exist” (855). Basically the movie ignores the fact that in theory, her friend would be more oppressed in the air force than she. The movie ends with her blasting her former boss in a really funny scene, proving that she has nothing to prove, ironically, as she flies off with the Skrulls into another galaxy. Like Space Moses. I would say that yes, it is a feminist movie, and it isn’t bad like Ghostbusters. It isn’t good; it has some issues, but I do not hate it. I give it like a 6.5/10. Which is half a point less than Doctor Strange but better than Iron Man 2, Ant-Man, and….Thor The Dark World. Ugh. To sum this all up, go see Captain Marvel, and seriously f*** Ghostbusters 2016.


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The Student Theorist: An Open Handbook of Collective College Theory Copyright © 2018 by James Sonia is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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