It has been nearly seven years since I stepped into what was purportedly one of America's nicest malls to see The Avengers (reviewed here). Even then, it had been a shocking sight to see so few whites walking around with bags from the high-end stores. But as I walked through that mall on Friday, March 8, to see Disney's just-opened Captain Marvel, the rarity of seeing a fellow white person among the throngs was startling.
Sitting down in the theater, it occurred to me I had seen all of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) movies. Spanning the past 11 years and 21 films, the MCU will likely be the last big movie series featuring a predominately white cast—well, that was until Black Panther reviewed here, came roaring into theaters in 2018. The bulk of the actors are set to retire from the series after Avengers: Endgame releases next month. Rumors persist Chris Evans, who plays Captain America and Robert Downey Jr., who portrays Iron Man, are going to be killed off. A new, woke take on the comic book franchise is apparently set to be ushered in [The Marvel Cinematic Universe Might Be Getting Its First Gay Lead Hero Sooner Than Expected: Executives say the world is ready for an LGBTQ title superhero, by Justin Kirkland, Esquire, March 7, 2019].
Built on a foundation of overwhelmingly white male superheroes (Thor, Captain America, Iron Man, the Hulk, Hawkeye, Spiderman, the Winter Soldier, Dr. Strange, and Ant-Man), the 21 MCU movies have thus far made a combined $6.9 billion at the domestic box office and more than $17 billion worldwide. Unquestionably, it's a phenomenon.
Enter Captain Marvel, the first MCU film with a female lead. Played by the unremarkable but very Politically Correct Brie Larson, who has spent the better part of the past year ranting about "white dudes" being overrepresented among movie reviewers, Captain Marvel is another automatic box office hit for Disney. But as with the poor reception of the Social Justice Warrior Star Wars: The Last Jedi (reviewed here), followed by the absolute failure of Solo and Disney’s subsequent decision to put on hold plans to expand the Star Wars franchise, Captain Marvel’s crude political messaging will have long-term consequences. [Captain Marvel Hates You..., by Paul Kersey, American Renaissance, March 7, 2019]
As in all comic book movies, Captain Marvel’s plot is basically interchangeable: Larson's character (Carol Danvers, who not once in the movie exudes the type of aggressive voluptuousness and sex appeal her character embodies in the comic) is an Air Force pilot whose mentor turns out to be an alien. Though Danvers was barred from flying fighter jets at the time (the movie is set in the 1990s), she was a test-pilot of a plane shot down by aliens who are after the special energy propelling it. After an accident, she absorbs the energy, giving her powers rivaling any character in the MCU.
Though Danvers loses her memory in the incident and becomes an inter-galactic warrior for the aliens who shot down her plane, she still is able to have flashbacks of a past where a white male fighter (who looks straight out of Top Gun casting) chastises her, saying, "You do know why they call it the cockpit?"
Misogyny? Disney makes sure Captain Marvel misses no chance to preach that gender has no bearing on what makes an exceptional pilot.
Needless to say, Captain Zoe Kotnik, an actual F-16 pilot, was recently dubbed "a real-life Captain Marvel" when she was named the F-16 Viper Demo Team's first-ever female commander and the Air Force's first female single-ship tactical commander. [This record-breaking F-16 pilot is a real-life version of Captain Marvel: "In that instant...she knew she could fly higher, further and faster than anyone else.", FirstCoastNews.com, by Casey Feindt, February 5, 2019]
But Captain Kotnik lasted just two weeks before she was relieved of command. [Air Force’s first female Viper pilot relieved of duty after two weeks, by Brett Gubitosi, New York Post, February 12, 2019]
Indeed, despite the military's best efforts, only 6.5 percent of pilots are female [What it Was Like to Be One of the First Female Fighter Pilots, by Kelly Kennedy, New York Times, March 2, 2018] and the elite Air Force Thunderbirds are still “too male, too white”. [Air Force Thunderbirds too male, too white, top general warns, by Rowan Scarborough, Washington Times, March 3, 2016]
Enough with the real world, back to the scripted MCU world...
This accident Larsen’s character Danvers suffers occurred in the late 1980s. For reasons of the series’ involved plotline, Captain Marvel is set in 1995 (meaning that, once she is back on earth, her best friend—a black female Air Force pilot—gets to mention that she was only a test pilot because the Air Force at the time barred women from being fighter pilots).
Continuing the theme of female empowerment, the movie’s climatic battle scene shows Danvers easily defeating multiple villains while No Doubt's song "Just a Girl" accompanies her heroics:
Oh, I'm just a girl, all pretty and petite
So don't let me have any rights
Oh, I've had it up to here!
The song is not just a nostalgic wink back to the mid-1990s, when it was released, but a stern reminder the Current Year has no place for outdated misconceptions about female empowerment.
After all, the most powerful being in the MCU is a white female—who for the better part of the movie is curiously androgynous and never engages in even an implicit sexual situation with her male co-stars Jude Law or Samuel L. Jackson, playing a younger version of his Nick Fury character ubiquitous in the MCU films thanks to the advances in computer generated images. And don't you ever forget it!
Were Captain Marvel not part of the MCU, enjoying the built-in fandom of 20 prior movies and the immense anticipation for the denouement of Captain America, Iron Man, and Thor's story in the forthcoming Avengers: Endgame, there would be precious little reason to see it.
In our era of woke takes, it's still surprising that not one SJW-inspired feminist hasn't attacked the movie for perpetuating the white savior trope, since Brie Larson's character is a white savior of inter-galactic proportions.
But one woken warrior did argue for government intervention to stop white male trolls from attacking Leftist movies online. Brianna Wu, an anti-gamergate personality who ran for political office as a Democrat, actually called for the government to get involved in stopping online harassment of movies with female leads:
It’s kind of a familiar story at this point, right? We were here with Ghostbusters. It seems like any time a woman steps forward and tries to put her toe in the water for a male dominated field, we’re right back here.”
I think there is certainly a role in Washington for us to address what women face both in the tech industry and what users face on the other side. Something we’ve seen is really big promises from Facebook, from Twitter, from Reddit, from all these companies, that they’re going to address this situation. For me, looking at this in 2019, it’s very hard for me to point at one thing that has concretely changed for women in the tech industry. So I do think Washington has a role to play.
[Brianna Wu Calls for Government Legislation In Response to Negative Captain Marvel “Reviews”, by Spencer Baculi, BoundingIntoComics, March 7, 2019]
It turns out, the amusing "Alita Challenge", organized by right-wing personality Jack Posobiec and arguing for white male consumers to boycott Captain Marvel and see the movie Alita instead, was unnecessary. An army of online trolls flooded RottenTomatoes.com with negative reviews of Captain Marvel—so many negatives reviews that RottenTomatoes disabled the “Want To See [the movie]” feature. [ 'Captain Marvel' Cast Reacts to Trolls on Rotten Tomatoes, by Adam Barnhardt, ComicBook.com, March 4, 2019] The attack had dropped the “Want To See” rating to 27 percent, the lowest of any MCU movie to date. Even after this latest case of Tech Totalitarianism, Captain Marvel only achieves a mediocre 79% fresh rating from professional critics on RottenTomatoes. [After Rotten Tomatoes Removes 93% Of Reviews, Captain Marvel Still Sucks, Zero Hedge, by Tyler Durden, March 9, 2019]
Recall that, in contrast, Black Panther is rated as the top movie of all time by professional movie critics, and you understand how the woke intersectionalism of feminism and race diverge. Blacks were not on board for their white feminist allies.
Captain Marvel will make plenty of money at the box office, but like Star Wars: The Last Jedi, it will herald the moment when many fans turned away from the lucrative franchise. Next month, Avengers: Endgame will set every box office record in the history of Hollywood. But many loyal Marvel fanboys will decide it is time to disembark, knowing its Marvel-type trajectory post-Endgame.
Basically, the future of the MCU is nothing more than that of the Democrat Party: straight white males need not apply for roles. Don't be surprised when white males start to tune out future MCU movies, as they have Star Wars—and, increasingly, the Democrats.
Paul Kersey[Email him] is the author of the blog SBPDL, and has published the books SBPDL Year One, Hollywood in Blackface and Escape From Detroit, Opiate of America: College Football in Black and White and Second City Confidential: The Black Experience in Chicagoland. His latest book is The Tragic City: Birmingham 1963-2013.