With this latest controversy surrounding the upcoming Captain Marvel film, I see a lot of prejudiced declarations going around. Truthfully though, most people probably don’t know that there is even a controversy. Honestly it is probably much less than 10% of fans. I think the movie will perform about as expected regardless, and I suspect Marvel and Disney do as well.
Disney Wants A New Fan Base
Disney and its new acquisitions (Marvel and Lucas Films Ltd.) have been openly hostile to their respective fan bases. Marvel proclaiming that the company was always very sexist in the past and so are the old fans. That, this new Marvel will address that in the same way the old Marvel addressed racism. Then they say the Stark family was always racist and it is time to step aside. And so on, and with “Star Wars” as well.
I know most people don’t care about all of this, but it is getting harder to enjoy the movies when they go out of their way to tear down straw men. Straw men that are apparently supposed to represent me somehow. This is aggressively offensive. It makes me uncomfortable and it creates and reinforces this opinion that if I am an old fan than I have to go or something. I am reminded of the Cultural Revolution of China in the way it turns people into bigots against the old fans.
Why can’t the old characters not be denigrated in an effort to insult the old fan base? Why can’t new characters be created to tell these new stories instead? Something like five reboots, is one of the reasons so few people even know who Captain Marvel is. Full reboots don’t succeed that much as it is; but when many of the old fans know that it is done for hateful reasons, it is the opposite of what Marvel always stood for.
Marvel Taught Us
Marvel was always shining a light on the stories of people who struggled to speak for themselves. Warning that if you had the power you dreamed of having, in order to right your life, than be wary of becoming the villain. Both villains and heroes often had the best of intentions and you have to be careful of which you are becoming in your life. And by shinning a light on redheads and Irish people and teenagers and women and black people and so on, they made their stories heard. And the real story in every comic is that we are all the same in the most important ways.
While their super powers or their extreme intellect or some other gift or circumstance made them special, they got to choose whether they are the hero or the villain. A conscious choice that you could casually forget to make. Being a hero isn’t simply not deliberately doing bad. It is actively doing good, and going through the struggles of understanding what is good. It is about understanding the consequences of your actions. Lessons like this are why the comics mattered.
I always appreciated Marvel going out of its way tell new stories from a fresh perspective and shinning a light on people, ideas, and cultures I might not have seen, experienced, or understood otherwise. I also liked the idea that some nerd can look at Tony Stark and see what he could be. That someone with bi-polar disorder could find a role model in Bruce Banner. Soldiers could find a way through their past with Black Widow, or Captain America, or War Machine, or Captain Marvel. I like that there are role models for all sorts of people who don’t ordinarily speak up for themselves. And I like that I can try to understand the world from their perspective.
That is what Marvel, and frankly comics has always been to me. I am not claiming that it shouldn’t be other things for other people. Anyone with enough skill and resources can make a comic, or a movie. That is a good thing. If these people want to tell their own stories, have at it. I wish you the best.
A New More Powerful Marvel, Run By Cowards
I am willing to accept that the old Marvel is gone, but I am not going to pretend that I am happy about it. I would have preferred these new stories didn’t betray the spirit of what Marvel had become over many decades, to many people. I would have preferred that these people running Marvel now had there own studio, and that Marvel wasn’t sacrificed instead.
It is hard not to see the current Marvel and Disney teams as the villains. Some of them, including Brie Larson, are likely very well intentioned. I have seen their brand of evil before, though. the kind of people who wonder why would a little catholic girl buy a comic book unless the superhero was a pale redhead or a mouthy brat from Brooklyn. The kind of people who can’t understand why a black boy from a broken home might buy Captain America instead of Avengers because he wants to know what made Capt. Steven Rogers so honorable and respected. You know the kind of racists that think a white boy liking “Black Panther” is cultural appropriation, and that little white girls have that “Jungle Fever”.
I have never wanted to be an angry person. I try my best to understand and help the people I meet in my life. I find myself compelled to say that the current Marvel team are no different than the segregationists that the old Marvel guard often (but perhaps not always) stood against. Charitably, perhaps they didn’t understand because the old guard seemed less casually inconsiderate, and frankly much less deliberately cruel at heart.
Perhaps they think the moral of “Black Panther” is isolationism and segregation. Like America at that time, that is just where the story begins, though. “Black Panther” examines the hardship of ending isolationism and segregation later in the story. Acknowledging that the right answer isn’t always the easiest path. Exposing that right thing to do isn’t so obvious much of the time. That you must adhere to your core principles to keep true when navigating through the toughest of times. It tackles bigotry by forcing you to examine those stead fast principles that have guided you this far. By making you see the moments when it is clear that something at the very core of you may need to change. It takes courage to face such big mistakes and choose to change for the better. It is that courage that separates the heroes from the villains. The willingness to admit your mistakes and change.
The people at Marvel aren’t unintelligent, they are cowards. Afraid to see the truth that surrounds them everyday.
Neither Disney nor Marvel will reign in Brie Larson or address her statements. Firstly, many at Marvel and Lucas Film Ltd. agree with what she has to say. Disney/Marvel might actually believe that fans never wanted a female super hero to begin with.
Second, winding this poor girl up will spark a mini hysteria causing people to support the film for political reasons. This could bring new fans to the franchise for a minor profit increase; no matter how toxic those new fans may be. This offsets some risk and may also be a way to capitalize on a missed opportunity with Black Panther.
Lastly, Captain Marvel is one installment in the film franchise and some fans would just grin and bear almost anything after all the years invested. Most fans have no idea any of this is happening anyway. Even if the core fan base were to skip this movie (most of us won’t) they’ll be back for Endgame. You need to see most of the recent Marvel movies in order for Endgame to even matter, let alone make sense; so sales won’t dip much either way. This works because sales will be high enough for Marvel to claim that those concerned are not really fans, but simply trolls. Thus, Marvel becomes immune to any negativity around future releases and negative criticism becomes irrelevant noise that we are all trained to expect and ignore. A perfect hedge and a multiple point win-win.
Whatever the reality is, Disney/Marvel either hates the old fans, or is happy to casually denigrate us on the road to higher margins. And they are going to get away with it.
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