“Captain Marvel” Has Nothing to Prove to Its Male Audience

Kaitlyn Cashdollar, Editor-in-Chief

[DISCAIMER: This article contains spoilers for Captain Marvel.]

With the release of the first trailer for Captain Marvel in September, there was an outburst from some fans critiquing Brie Larson’s performance (in the two-minute video). Many complained about they thought she showed little to no emotion or the fact she wasn’t smiling in the promotional posters.

Much to hater’s dismay, the film seems to be doing just fine. As well as scoring a Rotten Tomatoes review of almost 80%, the film is Marvel’s second-highest domestic debut of all time, only seconded by Black Panther. Its worldwide debut is the second biggest opening weekend in Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) history at $455 million. On top of unbounded success in regards to the MCU, it is also the most successful opening weekend for any female-fronted movie ever.

It’s pretty safe to say that– despite the boycott initiated because of the trailer and Brie Larson’s comments on diversity in movies– the film is doing just fine.

But why is the film so good? It’s safe to say that Oscar winner Brie Larson leading the film had some impact on its quality, but what all contributed to the movie’s success?

One refreshing aspect of the movie was the villain. While Yon-Rogg– Carol’s Kree mentor who ends up betraying her– isn’t necessarily a character we haven’t seen before, Carol’s approach to him as the hero is new. Throughout the movie, he insists that she cannot control her power and she can’t let her emotions govern how she fights. But where he claimed emotions make her weaker, she proves that they do nothing but make her strong enough to overcome him. The character himself stands out because he’s a man well known to every woman. A man who insists he wants the best for her but in reality is just holding her back.

Much in the fashion of the classic villain, in the end, he taunts Carol to fight her without her skills, claiming that she can only truly be more powerful than him if she can beat him without her powers. Unlike what we see in most male-led superhero movies, she doesn’t get goaded into lowering herself for the sake of a man’s ego. She defeats him in one blast and wraps it all up in one perfect statement: “I have nothing to prove to you.”

Unlike too many well-liked female characters in the media today, Carol didn’t have to make up for being a strong character by being extra feminine. While she possessed traditionally feminine qualities like tenderness, compassion and grace, she had more depth than that. She was hot-tempered and arrogant. She was sarcastic and witty. She was unapologetically fierce. Not once in the movie is her beauty mentioned. Rather than a dress or skirt, her wardrobe consisted of leather jackets and military uniforms. Her importance and power didn’t come from her looks; they came from her perseverance.

This said determination was emphasized in the film over and over. The film was filled with men who had only one thing to say to our heroine: “You can’t succeed.” Again and again and again she proved them all wrong. She got back up, quite literally, making the most beautiful and powerful scene of the movie

With Avengers: Endgame coming up in just a few months, many are eager to see how Marvel’s first lead woman fits into the story. With the addition of the well-loved Nick Fury, the buddy-cop relationship between Carol and the S.H.I.E.L.D. agent added to the humor and light-heartedness of the film. While we get a glimpse into Carol’s role in Endgame in one of the two end credit scenes, the audience will have to wait until April to see her in action again.