Even when it comes to bloopers and deleted scenes, some internet jerks feel compelled to hate on CAPTAIN MARVEL. One of these scenes got the internet REALLY mad for…. some reason that makes no sense. It’s a response in line with all the controversies following CAPTAIN MARVEL’s release, billion-dollar box office success and prominent future in the Phase 4 Avengers lineup. And wouldn’t you know it: all of the backlash seems to be coming from men.

This particular scene expands on a moment where Carol Danvers is catcalled by a biker. He goes through your standard misogynistic asshole moments, mocking Vers’ outfit and asking her to “smile for me.” Why? Because he’s helping her of course, and she should be grateful.

CAPTAIN MARVEL
Go away salty fanboys, Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

In the movie, Carol takes the jerk’s bike while he’s shopping. In the deleted scene, however, things get a bit more… physical. She offers a really tough handshake that quells the biker and his toxic masculinity into submission, taking his bike and helmet in the process. The she casually snips back at him “What, no smile?”

For self-conscious men on the internet, however, it wasn’t the biker’s sleazy attitude that felt criminal. No it’s the woman responding to his comments with a show of strength that was TRULY villainous. Never mind that other Marvel heroes have used violence for self-centered motives before and were never deemed criminal for it. Or the fact that Marvel isn’t without its supply of morally ambiguous antiheroes. NO, it’s Captain Marvel who oversteps her boundaries by (checks notes) standing up to a sexual harasser.

Right, let’s talk about the gender double standard… again.

CAPTAIN MARVEL: The Danvers-inator

The most ironic thing about this scene is that, like much of CAPTAIN MARVEL, it’s a 90’s pop culture reference. A reference to one of the 90’s most iconic action films, starring one of the manliest actors ever.

This feels… familiar, Property of Tristar Pictures

That’s right: this scene homages the T-800’s re-introduction in TERMINATOR 2: JUDGEMENT DAY. He enters a bar, demands a local biker’s clothes and motorcycle, then beats up the inhabitants when they provoke him. Theoretically, you could argue that, at this point, the T-800 doesn’t know any better. He lacks the moral understanding of right and wrong that young John Connor enforces onto the Terminator through a no-killing restriction.

But I don’t recall any moviegoer getting mad at Arnold Schwarzenegger for his casual violence. On the contrary, violence and guns are what moviegoers pay to see from Arnie’s films. Yet when Captain Marvel pulls off a similar trick, people treat this as PROOF of her immoral nature and unlikability. The idea of Captain Marvel having this power at all, let alone using it to retaliate against casual sexism, seems to make them deeply uncomfortable.

CAPTAIN MARVEL
Who needs smiles when you have laser hands, Property of Marvel Studios

This outrage is an extension of the nonsensical “backlash” leading up to CAPTAIN MARVEL’s release. When Brie Larson pushed for more critic diversity, male internet users claimed that she hated white men. Troll accounts swarmed Rotten Tomatoes with negative reviews even before the film came out in theaters. They even tried to pit CAPTAIN MARVEL against ALITA: BATTLE ANGEL, as if to say “THIS is how to make female-led action films.” And no, the irony of right-wing men making this statement about a film with progressive critiques of its world’s capitalist system is not lost on me.

Don’t Tell a Girl to “Smile.”

The biker’s comment that Carol Danvers smile says it all. While it might sound casual, “smile” is effectively a subtle and insidiously prevalent form of gender harassment. Men who use it, whether consciously or unconsciously, set the goalposts of acceptable behavior for women. Men can be angry whenever they please, but if a woman does it, that’s just wrong.

Kilgrave: Living embodiment of Toxic Masculinity, Property of Marvel Studios

If you watched JESSICA JONES, this rhetoric sounds ominously familiar. Antagonist Zebediah Kilgrave uses such language through his disturbing powers of persuasion, forcing people to do whatever he wants just by saying it. He’s emblematic of toxic masculinity itself, ordering commands onto others without realizing how their inability to refuse him doubles as a lack of consent. When Jessica points this out, Kilgrave deflects guilt by claiming how he’s the victim of such unpredictable abilities. He can’t admit he raped her without recognizing how badly these powers scar other people.

Captain Marvel undergoes a similar retaliation against oppressive male authority in her solo outing. Carol’s commander Yon-Rogg repeatedly reminds her to keep her emotions in check. These restrictions are embodied by a neck implant that presumably gives “Vers” powers, but it’s revealed the Kree were actually suppressing them. In her Earth flashbacks, Carol constantly gets knocked down and taunted by men who mock her aspirations. Whether subtle or directly, the film makes Carol’s inner struggle that of the female experience facing down masculine power boundaries.

CAPTAIN MARVEL
Control your emotions… not!, Property of Marvel Studios

So when Carol power-grips the hand of some jerk insisting she smile, every woman can relate. Because anyone who’s ever been subjected to that rhetoric likely fantasized about using such powers to shut men down. She knows what he’s doing, she’s not interested, and she makes her point quite clear.

Marvel Girl Power: A Questionable Legacy

The MCU’s history with female character-driven narratives has always been rocky. It took until ANT-MAN AND THE WASP for a woman to share title credits and CAPTAIN MARVEL for a solo female film on the twenty-first entry. A BLACK WIDOW movie is happening next year, but it still complicates Natasha’s heroic sacrifice in AVENGERS: ENDGAME. Basically that “girl power” moment in ENDGAME, while badass-looking, is a bit too self-congratulatory for its own good.

CAPTAIN MARVEL
Girl Squad: Assemble, Property of Marvel Studios

Likewise, Carol Danvers’ comic history is full of rewrites and reboots. Before adopting the Captain title, she was Ms. Marvel: air force pilot, NASA head of security and Gloria Steinem-esque magazine editor in chief. She also wore a costume that was more or less a lightning bolt swimsuit with a sash, gloves and boots. Not the most practical of outfits.

Comic Book Carol’s been through a lot. She’s best friends with heroes like Spider-Woman, Jessica Jones and She-Hulk. She went through various other codenames like Binary and Warbird. And she’s been the subject of controversial storylines, from Rogue putting Carol in a coma during the 90’s to her questionable behavior in CIVIL WAR II. Not to mention the infamously hated AVENGERS #200, which, to make a disturbing story short, saw Ms. Marvel give birth to her rapist. Just.. click here for more information.

CAPTAIN MARVEL
Rogue and Ms. Marvel have a… history, Property of Marvel Entertainment

And yet modern Carol Danvers’ characterization remains pretty close to what we see in CAPTAIN MARVEL. She’s a military veteran, snarky, kicks ass like its second nature and couldn’t care less about what other people think. And yes, that includes men who can’t take a hint that she’s not interested.

CAPTAIN MARVEL’s Future

The irony of this deleted scene backlash is how the fanboys are proving CAPTAIN MARVEL’s point. They use social media to claim anonymous bravado and outrage against a female character who dares to challenge existing power boundaries. Characters like Tony Stark, Star Lord and Thor can be as aggressive and overconfident as they want and this makes them icons. Carol Danvers uses those attributes to fight back against casual sexual harassment, and suddenly she’s unlikable.

Well, these men better get used to a lot more of Captain Marvel. Not only is a a sequel on the way, but she’s reportedly leading Phase 4’s New Avengers roster. Times change, and the MCU is getting ready for a new team of heroes. And a Carol Danvers who can withstand a Thanos headbutt and definitely has no patience for sexist bikers. Yeah… pretty sure she’s leading the charge.

11 Comments

  1. Douglas Smith

    Douglas Smith

    August 20, 2019 at 4:23 pm

    Very accurate article. Very accurate. Haters wont like it, but it is very true. If the character was Tony, Thor or anyone male, they would have loved the movie. But because it was female, people flipped out that it was an empowering story, even though the message is good for everyone.

    Reply

  2. Chris Carney

    Chris Carney

    August 20, 2019 at 3:18 pm

    lol really? Why not just stay out of this SJW crap

    Reply

    • Dane Ingham

      Dane Ingham

      August 20, 2019 at 3:34 pm

      Only incel losers even use that phrase. Grow up kiddo

      Reply

    • Douglas Smith

      Douglas Smith

      August 20, 2019 at 3:41 pm

      Only in today’s atmosphere is justice deemed a bad thing.

      Reply

    • Douglas Smith

      Douglas Smith

      August 20, 2019 at 3:50 pm

      After reading the story, Chris has 100% proven the point of the article.

      Reply

    • Dane Ingham

      Dane Ingham

      August 20, 2019 at 3:56 pm

      Yep. Pure insecurity from callow, sad boys.

      Reply

    • Chris Carney

      Chris Carney

      August 20, 2019 at 3:57 pm

      Dane Ingham Hahahaha incel? Is this the giant pussy bitch room if so I’ll step out and let you Lick each other’s basement tears

      Reply

    • Douglas Smith

      Douglas Smith

      August 20, 2019 at 4:00 pm

      How are you a manager of anything with an asshole personality like that, Chris? You must be a joy to work for

      Reply

    • Dane Ingham

      Dane Ingham

      August 20, 2019 at 4:33 pm

      Chris leaves entirely too much personal info in public to be saying such nonsense. So I called Freedom Equity Finance, and placed a report to the BBB. Not a great look for a company’s Risk Assessment Officer

      Reply

    • Chris Carney

      Chris Carney

      August 20, 2019 at 5:57 pm

      Dane Ingham oh I’ll be calling lyft to uhhh…..yeeeaaahhhhh

      Reply

    • Chris Carney

      Chris Carney

      August 20, 2019 at 6:00 pm

      Douglas Smith come out of the basement for an interview

      Reply

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