Yeah, I said it. I fully realize that I may get my Overlord card rejected for this hot take, but seriously: I’m f*cking ready for the age of Marvel to be over. Let me tell you why. [Note: none of this applies to Black Panther, as I thought that movie was legitimately good. Thor: Ragnarok can stay too. Funny how the two movies not directed by white dudes are the most enjoyable? Hmmmm, someone should look into that.]
What started out as solid movies to watch on a plane (because you could fall asleep halfway through, wake up, and still be able to follow the story) are now treated as deeply layered and complex seminal masterpieces of our time, and for why? The vast majority of Marvel movies are just about dudes, sighing deeply, shot in contemplative scenes, ultimately using their white male privilege to go ahead and tell other people what to do and how to act. As far as I can tell that was literally what Captain America: Civil War was about. Two dudes arguing over who knew best over how to assert their will over everyone else. How is that different from basically everyone’s day-to-day existence, and yet these movies are treated as escapism? Oh, I know, because in these the white dudes get to literally save the world—making your average Chad who slavishly defends the MCU entirely insufferable to be around the time one of these movies comes out. Sends a great message, right? I mean, up until Black Panther, the MCU almost exclusively focused on white, male protagonists. Sure, a few ladies were able to pop up in tight outfits and kick some ass—but none have ever been given a movie to headline up until Captain Marvel, more than 10 years after Iron Man, so…
Which leads me to my next point: these movies’ treatment of women and people of color are laughable. Don’t you dare try to tell me Infinity War passed the Bechdel test. There was literally one scene with women talking to each other. Each of them got one line (so, not a conversation) and that bad lady chick wasn’t ever referred to by her name in the movie, ergo, does not pass. (Knowing her name because you read the comics doesn’t mean she was given a name in the movie, friend.) Yet you bring that up, and you get your throat jumped down, because so fervent are dudes on the internet.
I’m also fairly sure the film didn’t pass the DuVernay test, either, but I’m less confident on that assertion. I could go back and rewatch, but for what? It’s practically a three-hour movie that slogs a lot of the way through if you’re not particularly invested in what the men who have tasked themselves with saving the world want to do. Wakanda doesn’t even show up until the very end, and the breakout stars of that movie were given very little to do other than to watch their countrymen die on the field of battle because someone thought it was a great idea to bring Vision there. K.
Look, if Marvel movies are your thing, great. You do you. My larger point is that the narrative around these movies (which again, are ultimately “OK” and not “Con Air levels of greatness”) is reverential and treated as being something for everyone, because the white male view as default is fully at play here. Maybe they’re not totally for everyone, and maybe we should stop elevating there particular popcorn flicks with some sh*tty messaging as the end all, be all, mythology of our times?
Thank you for coming to my Ted talk.
Header Image Source: Marvel