Leave it to the UK Guardian to write up a sloppy take on issues surrounding the soon to be released Captain Marvel movie that puts far more emphasis on the lady who worked better as Ms. Marvel than the Kree dissident who preceded her. You know something’s wrong when they begin with a headline claiming she’s no longer “sidekick fodder”, even though, when Carol’s original series began in 1977, she worked on her own, even with the odd split-personality effects initially in place. They even make the claim of stereotyping in past Iron Man stories:
Yet the relative anonymity of the studio’s cavalcade of costumed titans has turned out to be one of its major plus points. Marvel has been able to refit and recondition heroes for the big screen, excising outdated stereotypes (the original, “yellow peril”-styled Mandarin) and sillier superpowers (thank goodness the Falcon no longer talks to birds) along the way. And without upsetting all but the most hardcore superfans.
Sounds like a swipe at the audience, alright. For starters, they repeat that ridiculous accusation villains like Mandarin were entirely based on stereotypes, ignoring how he was meant to reflect communist villains, and, they’re ambiguous about how Falcon’s telepathy with birds worked -- originally, when he debuted at the end of the Silver Age and into the Bronze, he usually had a mind link with mascot Redwing, an effect caused by Red Skull’s experimentations on him with the Cosmic Cube. It was in the early 2000s, at the time of Geoff Johns’ worthless run on Avengers, that he was suddenly depicted being able to communicate with far more birds than just Redwing. Still, the following is even more jumbled up:
This week we’ve seen further evidence, via a spanking new trailer, that Brie Larson’s Carol Danvers, AKA Captain Marvel, is being wrenched from her comic book roots and given a new origin story; one where she debuts as a fully fledged Kree warrior with no apparent memory of her human origins. Fans will be well aware that Danvers only became “Captain Marvel” in 2012, following the death of the original, Kree alien owner of the moniker, also known as Mar-vell. Prior to this, she was known as Ms Marvel.
This is so confusing, you’d think it was only yesterday Mar-Vell went to see his maker. Obviously, they never read 1982’s The Death of Captain Marvel graphic novel by Jim Starlin, where, after 15 years of being a player in the MCU and his original dimensional-switch partnership with Rick Jones via the Nega-Bands and the Negative Zone, Mar-Vell discovered he was dying of cancer. Around the turn of the century, Peter David, who’s been mostly washed up for nearly a decade now, wrote a solo book starring Genis-Vell, a son of Mar-Vell first seen in Silver Surfer’s book during 1993, and that series wound up ill-fated because Bill Jemas forced David into an idiotic competition over a dreary project of his own, “Marville”. Last time I checked, Genis-Vell had been wiped out to boot in the 100th issue of the mid-2000s Thunderbolts revival, proving that, when Marvel’s staffers so decree, their characters are no more immune to these disgraceful acts than DC’s are.
In the original comics, Danvers’ entire identity as half-human/half-Kree is linked to an encounter with Mar-vell – she even owes her powers to him. But in the MCU, it increasingly looks like Danvers will have been Captain Marvel from the very beginning, a move that certainly helps add to the sense of the character as a strong, independent female superhero. (Intriguingly, this major shift was recently prefaced in print.)
Yup, the new feminist moniker in motion, declaring that a woman cannot be granted powers by a man in order to be her own woman. Or, he cannot save her life, even though she was in danger of the explosion of a Kree machine with mind-based powers. Simply ridiculous.
Such big screen modernisation, usually with a diversity upgrade, has been a fairly constant theme in the MCU. The original Nick Fury, Danvers’ main human aide in the upcoming film, was a cigar-smoking white guy. Few would argue that Samuel L Jackson has positively changed our perception of the S.H.I.E.L.D boss; at the very least it’s an improvement on David Hasselhoff in an eye-patch. Ditto Idris Elba’s Heimdall, who would likely have been a pretty forgettable character in the Thor movies had he not been provocatively reimagined as a black British Norse god.
Marvel hasn’t always got it right, of course. Doctor Strange’s Ancient One was always a rather stereotyped take on the wise, east Asian mystic in the comics. But that didn’t mean Marvel had to reimagine the sorcerer supreme as Tilda Swinton, even if the British actor ticks a few diversity boxes of her own. Tessa Thompson’s Valkyrie went from common-or-garden Aryan battle babe to mixed-race space warrior, but the studio missed a trick in Thor: Ragnarok by cutting scenes that would have made her the first openly queer Marvel hero.
Hmm, do I detect a hint of contempt for whites in this piece? Why not just say Jackson and Elba have proven very effective as black guys taking on the role of a character who began as white? Are they suggesting white Nick wasn’t any good because of his skin color? This op-ed is not based on artistic merit of the actors taking the roles, but on skin color, and it sounds more like they lack faith in the movie’s ability to sell based on artistic quality. They might want to consider that, at this long point, DC’s attempts to duplicate Marvel’s success over the past decade isn’t bound to succeed even with diversity-based casting, as the quota-based casting of Cyborg in Justice League’s already proven, even more so than making Perry White a black guy in the Man of Steel film. Interesting though that, bad as the people running Marvel are today, their movie division doesn’t seem that confident about casting a character who could be a lesbian. There were a few stories in past history where Valkyrie was implied to be a lesbian, and I vaguely recall reading one in the Defenders, but that’s something where, so far, Marvel’s wisely not treading, though it’d be a lot worse if they put Northstar from Alpha Flight in a movie and started emphasizing the homosexuality his character was unofficially built on when the team series began in 1983, and Scott Lobdell eventually took to horrific extremes when “outing” him 9 years later. So far, it doesn’t look like Marvel’s movie division is ever going to make use of that kind of material. But we shouldn’t underestimate them, and in the future, so long as they’re still producing adaptations, they could, and it could be quite the leftist propaganda vehicle indeed.
The big test for Captain Marvel will be whether changing her origins story actually improves the movie. Iron Man 3’s key reveal, that Ben Kingsley’s Bin Laden-like terrorist is really a drunken, kidnapped actor, was so brilliant because it played on our own prejudices, but made sure we were all ultimately in on the joke. That the true bad guy was a white guy, just like Downey Jr’s Tony Stark, only added to the sense of cerebral, dazzling, postmodern narrative sleight of hand.
Ah, most fascinating indeed. So here, they’re implying it’s wrong to depict Islamic-like characters as villains (and IIRC, the 1st Iron Man movie made them into employees of Obadiah Stane), and because the 3rd movie avoided challenging topics as it did, that alone makes it an artistic “success”. No surprise coming from such a far-left paper, of course, with their rampant social justice agendas worn on their sleeves.
Interestingly enough, the following suggests the movie isn’t quite as modern feminist-leaning as the comics have become with the recent “Life of Capt. Marvel” miniseries:
Whether Captain Marvel can achieve such heights of storytelling smoke and mirrors remains to be seen. Jude Law has been widely tipped to play a version of Mar-vell in the movie, but trailers thus far suggest the character will have a more complex relationship with Danvers on the big screen than he did in the comics – if he turns out to be her famed mentor at all.
That’s probably just as it should be. As studio supremo Kevin Feige has pointed out, Captain Marvel is supposed to be the most powerful superhero in the MCU, a being perhaps capable of defeating Thanos and bringing back all those poor dead superheroes snuffed out into smoke in Avengers: Infinity War. The very least Marvel can do is make Danvers her own woman this time around.
But if any recent news that Kelly Sue deConnick’s otherwise unsuccessful run, which saw Carol turned revoltingly masculine, something not mentioned in this puff piece, is going to serve as a basis for the movie, that’s why it’s a bad omen nonetheless. Why, if they’re making her close to a pagan deity, doesn’t that kind of defeat the story, where you expect the leads to have shortcomings they need to figure out how to overcome? And they even parrot the notion Carol was never her own woman, which is far from true, since she’d worked on her own when first depicted as a superheroine, and her associations with Avengers and X-Men didn’t change that.
Since we’re on the subject, Newsarama also brought up some eyebrow-raising stuff about how Carol was shoved into the Captain Marvel role several years ago:
“People seem really excited about the new Captain Marvel movie trailer, and a lot of the credit has to go to [Kelly Sue DeConnick] and [Jamie McKelvie] among others for elevating Carol. But I do want to mention a few others,” Brevoort tweeted.
“Ever since we did House of M, Brian Michael Bendis had wanted to make Carol graduate into being Captain Marvel, but couldn’t, for a variety of reasons (one of which was that Marvel is the name of the company, so lots of bigwigs would weigh in),” Marvel’s Executive Editor explained. “There were a bunch of different plans floated for what to do with the Captain Marvel name. At one point, Gravity was going to become the new Captain Marvel, which is why Dwayne McDuffie killed him off in Beyond!, to set that up.”
Gravity is a Marvel hero that debuted in 2005, and was featured (and died) in 2006’s Beyond! limited series -- his funeral capped off the series, with a surprise appearance by Uatu the Watcher foretelling possible plans for the character going forward. According to Brevoort, those plans for Gravity to be the next Captain Marvel “fell through” and as a result McDuffie brought the character back to life in his Fantastic Four run.
“Meanwhile, Brian Reed did yeoman service keeping Carol selling through 50 issues of her Ms Marvel title,” said Brevoort. “This together with her being a constant in Bendis’ New Avengers brought her to fan prominence.”
See, this has got to be irony, even though Reed’s series was victimized by crossover tie-ins during Civil War as much as anything else, and Carol made to look like a cad -- it ran for at least 6 years and 50 consecutive issues, which is more than can be said for deConnick’s run, which began with Carol getting a more modest costume before she was victimized full force by masculinized character design since dubbed “Carl Manvers”, and boring stories that didn’t please anybody. And assuming their claims about new character Gravity tapped to become another Captain Marvel are true, that’s a mighty strange way to get around to it.
All that aside, Bendis’ Avengers run is such an insult to the intellect with how it set up Scarlet Witch as a fall-girl that Carol Danvers’ appearances there aren’t very effective at all.
Former Marvel Senior Editor Stephen Wacker is attributed as the person who was able to “convince the powers-that-be” to make Carol Danvers the next Captain Marvel, and oversaw the process and the eventual series. Brevoort specifically calls Wacker “smarter than me” in the decision to give Carol an entirely new costume (designed by McKelvie) rather than modify her black Ms. Marvel outfit.
According to Wacker, it was also in order to serve as a means to develop a the template for costumes more suitable for children, even though there’s Wonder Woman party costumes not all that different from the original in the books proving it’s all a SJW smokescreen. Naturally, you can’t expect them to admit their reasons for picking Carol have any political agenda behind them. And here’s something at the end of the article that sounds hideous:
“Also, that helmet was mostly Joe Quesada‘s idea,” Brevoort revealed. “I remember him being really into the idea that her hair would Mohawk out inside it, emulating the classic Kree fin look. He did a bunch of design drawings of it and Carol’s head.”
Given all the maltreatment of Carol Danvers for over a decade now, that’s why this sounds tasteless. And the much disliked Quesada was one of the architects behind it.
As for the movie, again, from what I’ve seen in fan video circles, it doesn’t look like many are anticipating it, and it could be the beginning of a decline in the Marvel movie quality, and box office receipts.
Originally published here.