Captain Marvel: How Marvel Beat the Internet
When Brie Larson was cast to play iconic Marvel character, Captain Marvel, his fans were exhilarating with joy. Larson recently won the Oscar for best actress for her performance in Room. The hype for the movie was unparalleled, until one fateful day on the press tour, Larson made a comment about white movie critics while promoting the film. She said, “I don’t need a 40-year-old white man to tell me what didn’t work for him in A Wrinkle in Time.” The statement sparked applause from the audience, but many white males were angered at Larson. They exaggerated her statement to portray her as a hater of white males. Additionally, online trolls planned to boycott the movie in response. They were sure that the movie would be a flop because according to them “most comic book fans are white males.”
However, their efforts didn’t work. The movie grossed 455 million dollars in its opening weekend, smashing Wonder Woman’s 228 million dollar opening. This is not only proof that Marvel has some of the most dedicated and loyal fans in cinematic history, but that Marvel makes movies everyone can enjoy. Larson’s comments were justified because of the lack of female and minority representation in the movie critic industry. According to a study done by USC Annenberg School for Communications and Journalism, 82 percent of the reviews for the top 100 grossing movies of 2017 were written by white people. They also found that 20 percent of the nearly 20,000 reviews were written by females. This means the ratio would be 1 female reviewer for every 3.5 male critics. The study also showed that 78 percent of the criticism for these movies came from white males. Hence, when Larson made the comment, many trolls flocked to review sites like IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes to bombard the movie with hate and slander. Rotten Tomatoes even had to disable reviews until the movie was released.
Captain Marvel, is a film that is particularly essential during this day and age. Being Marvel’s first female solo film, it had a lot of expectations to meet and exceed. Larson was simply trying to spread a message of equal representation, but sensitive white males thought of it as a direct attack. Many believe that if this movie wasn’t associated with Marvel, it would not have made any money at all and the boycott would have succeeded. But, 45 percent of the viewership of the movie during its opening was by females, and the majority of the males were minorities. So in the end, the movie’s success is solid proof that white masculinity does not dominate the comic book world both in the movies or in the books.