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  • Writer's pictureSam

Captain Marvel. Is this strength? My Thoughts

(Before I start, just wanted to point out that this post will have massive spoilers for the film Captain Marvel, and possibly some other films from the Marvel universe.  You have been warned!)

As I write this, I just got back from seeing Captain Marvel in the cinema, and honestly, considering it’s about a woman who can punch through walls, I don’t think that it was a decent depiction of strength of character, or even a strong character (unless we're talking about literal punching through walls strength).

Something that I think is important in a good story is a strong main character arc.  The main character learns something, has their beliefs challenged, sometimes they come under great suffering or loss, but they learn from it and they become a better version of themselves.


The whole story is about her finding out who she really is, and her main adversary (who in the story starts out as her mentor and trainer) is often saying that he wants her to be the best version of herself; that’s kinda funny to me as she doesn’t change in herself at all throughout the whole thing and seems to learn nothing of substance for the audience, no message that the audience can learn from.  

In Black Panther, for example, T'Challa learns some truths about some of his fathers' decisions that leave his beliefs and identity briefly shattered.  T’Challa uses his newfound knowledge to build and grow, emboldening him to make new choices for his kingdom, righting wrongs of the past; the message of having the courage to do the right thing despite the way things have always been done is clear.  

In Thor, he goes from being an arrogant, entitled (yet well-meaning) boy, to learning humility and to sacrifice for others, it’s a good message about leadership and what that really means.

In Captain Marvel, what is the message?

Now, I’m very much in favour of there being more female role models out there for kids of all genders to aspire to.  It’s great that there are so many more varieties of female characters out there now that showcase the fact that women are human too, they are good, bad, fallible, lazy, noble, strong, insecure, they are people, people who are capable of feeling just as many or few emotions as any male character.  I love that we’re seeing more of this.  Captain Marvel however just painted a picture of someone who just learns how to punch harder; yeah that is a strength in the most literal sense, but other than learning that she’s actually a human and not Cree, what does she learn that’s of any meaning?  

There’s a nice little montage at one point of the childhood version of her standing up again and again after being knocked down in her life as if to say that the film was about how she’s made it through adversity, but she hasn’t.  There isn’t really any point in the film where she has any struggle, everything just shows her kicking ass most of the time, then she finds out she can hit harder so she kicks more ass, the end. It felt like a film made to appease the growing popularity of feminism, but having 0 clues as to what feminism is or how it works. "Feminism mean woman punch hard, yes?" *Facepalm*

I suppose that it’s still good that we’re getting all kinds of women on screen, even ones with very little substance, but is this what we should aspire to? Marvel films aren't exactly the epitome of compelling storytelling, I think most of us go to Marvel films just to see a cool action film with little substance, but most others have done better than Captain Marvel did. I guess films go, it was alright, but considering how people are going on about, I did expect a little more.  

I think the fact that the film isn’t really that great, yet is killing it at the box office, goes to show though that there are a lot of people that just really want more female led films, so that's my main takeaway from the whole experience.


That’s my 2 cents, if others loved it and made them feel empowered then that’s awesome for them and I in no way want to take that away from them, I simply feel that, while we have the opportunity, we should aspire for more than what this film represented.

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