Captain Marvel won’t fix a misogynistic world but it’s a step in the right direction

Editorial | by Stephen Whitworth

One of the fun things happening this International Women’s Day is the release of Captain Marvel, the first female-fronted MCU movie from Marvel Studios. The good news? Marvel has made it clear their new character — played by Brie Larsen — will be the most powerful superhero they’ve introduced. Move over Thor! Step out of the way, Hulk! Get outta here, Vision! There’s an overpowered new sheriff in town, and forget Wonder Woman — she’s Marvel’s photon-blasting answer to DC’s all-powerful Superman.

(NOTE: Do not forget Wonder Woman. Wonder Woman is awesome. That is all.)

Of course, there’s also bad news, and that’s that it took 11 years and 20 movies before a female character got top billing in one of these things. Ridiculous. A lot of the blame for that falls on Marvel chair Ike Perlmutter, who — until his power was taken away by Disney — resisted efforts to market and merchandize female characters in the films under the incorrect assumption that it wasn’t good business. With Captain Marvel headed towards a projected $100 million-plus opening, it will be nice to see him proven wrong. (Even if Perlmutter — who is still Marvel Entertainment’s chairperson — will be happy to take the money).

I guess we should talk about the worse news — which is that angry, misogynistic Internet trolls and their bot armies have already targeted Captain Marvel on websites like Rotten Tomatoes, dragging down its audience score before the movie is even in theatres.

It’s not the first time this kind of shit has happened, either — the female-character driven The Last Jedi was also savaged by online creeps who hate women. And don’t even get me started on what they did to the all-female Ghostbusters reboot.

At least this time,  Rotten Tomatoes amended its policies to block early user reviews. It’s a small step and not enough, but it’s a start. An itty-bitty, teeny-tiny start.

Anyway, it’s great that we can celebrate International Women’s Day by seeing a fun, empowering movie but there’s a lot more work to be done than seems reasonable for the 21st century, which all us over 40 had hoped would be awesome. Sometimes it seems like this century is turning out to be kind of a mess.

We’ll get it fixed. Meantime, see you in the popcorn line!