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The Avengers, Wokeness, and Getting Strong Female Characters Right

Yes, yes, Brie Larson won awards, but I don’t think she’s a very good as Captain Marvel. Donald Trump won the Electoral College and many of you defending Larson don’t think he’s a very good President. For goodness sake, Crash won a Best Picture academy award. Hollywood awards really are not a measure anymore of performance. Larson falls flat on the screen.

I get that out of the way so you can get your dander up as I make a point that needs to be said. Now that we’re beyond one week into Avengers Endgame, I need to point something out, but there are two spoilers involved.

So you are forewarned, though the spoilers are not terribly big ones.

For several years the woke social justice warriors have made increasing demands on Marvel to respond to wokeness. They’ve wanted a strong female lead, they’ve wanted a gay Captain America, and they’ve wanted more diversity.

They did not get the gay Captain America, so they got the combined strong female lead with hints of lesbianism in Captain Marvel and they got their diversity in Black Panther, which is an awesome film done right where the diversity was not imposed, but natural and it works.

Captain Marvel though falls flat and highlights a bigger issue. Larson is just not great on screen and thankfully her presence on screen in Avengers is minimal. I liked the Captan Marvel movie, but the best parts were either without Brie Larson or her playing second fiddle to someone better.

I think that explains her vocal wokeness after the film. She had to be aggressively woke so anyone who did not like her performance could be attacked as not woke and a hater. It’s what Sony did with the female Ghostbusters bomb. Anyone who did not like the movie was attacked as hating women to shield from the fact the movie really was not that good.

All of this is unnecessary because Marvel already had what should be a feminist icon. That Black Widow is not a feminist icon says a lot about wokeness and collegiate women and gender studies kids.

Black Widow is one of the guys. She does not have to act an equal to the guys, she proves herself. She does not have to surrender her femininity to be part of the team nor play act at being manly. She’s a badass in heels. She can hang with the guys, be part of the team, ruthlessly kill bad guys, but grounds the guys by being the woman who makes the guys be better. She’s not trying to match them in bro talk or flexing. She doesn’t sacrifice being a woman to be an equal. She uses being different from the guys to be equal to the guys.

The difference shows on screen too.

When Captain Marvel shows up, she is a plot device to get things to happen. She is the plot device to get Tony Stark home and she is the plot device to blow up a space ship. But that’s it.

When Natasha Romanoff shows up on screen, she is not just part of the team, but virtually assumes daily leadership of the team. She’s one of the team and respected. When she dies, there is emotional resonance. People cried in the theater.

You don’t cry for a plot device designed to check the box on woke feminist lesbian superhero. You don’t really cheer either.

Marvel got female superheroes right with Black Widow and it is a pretty damning indictment on them that they never invested in her and killed her off only to now give her a movie. But then they went all in on woke Captain Marvel, who they will continue to invest in despite flat performances.

It does not give me hope for future Marvel movies as they succumb to wokeness instead of multi-dimensional characters who resonate beyond social justice warriors.


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