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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Wilfrid Laurier chapter.

To say Marvel holds a special place in my heart is an understatement. I’ve spent my entire life watching all the Marvel movies and shows, keeping up with every new release and event in the comic books to prepare for the next big superhero. My dad, ninongs and I religiously watch every premiere on opening weekend and discuss our likes and dislikes about the film; it’s become a tradition. When Captain Marvel, the first women-lead Marvel superhero film, was announced in 2019, I was incredibly excited. At that point, the female leads we’d been given played either smaller or team roles. No movie had ever focused solely on a woman. So, when the unjust and hateful discourse came about, I was honestly quite shocked. Of course, everyone is allowed to dislike a movie; everyone has the right to their opinion. Maybe I’m a bit biased as a woman watching a woman, but I remember, as a 16-year-old girl, being absolutely enthralled with the beautiful, powerful blonde woman flying across the screen. After leaving the theatre, my dad, ninongs and I had our usual discussion. We all enjoyed the movie as it was meant to be seen: a comic book superhero film. But, as the days went on, more and more reviews and opinions came out and, to my surprise, many were incredibly negative. As I said, everyone is absolutely entitled to their own opinion but some of these opinions were not just an opinion on the movie but also an opinion on a woman being casted.

Many had expressed their dislike of Brie Larson being cast as one of the most powerful heroes within the comics, taking shots at her acting skills. But why was anyone even questioning her ability to act? A couple years prior, she won the Oscar for Best Actress for her amazing performance in the drama-movie Room (2015), which is a must-watch in my opinion. She has a number of very impressive roles under her belt, so, personally, I don’t think her acting skills were an issue. Another issue many people had with the film was Captain Marvel’s “cocky” and “egotistical” attitude. If we’re going to call her attitude into question, why don’t we also look at Iron Man’s attitude? I love Iron Man; I’m completely team Iron Man in the Iron Man versus Captain America dispute. This has absolutely nothing to do with my opinion on the character. What we should be looking at is Iron Man’s personality. Tony Stark is known for being overly confident; he’s a self-described genius, billionaire, playboy and philanthropist, but that’s what we love him for as fans. These aspects make Tony Stark who he is. Captain Marvel is a confident hero who thinks highly of her strength, as Tony does, and is a bit assertive of her beliefs, but most comic book heroes are. Let’s be honest, one of the biggest reasons she was criticized so harshly was because she’s a woman. If Captain Marvel was cast as a man, no one would question the attitude the character carries. This was proven with our example of Iron Man. The last of the criticisms that I personally think were actually very, put simply, misogynistic, were the criticisms regarding Captain Marvel’s lack of smiling. This discourse was specifically around the first trailer that was released, as it shows multiple intense scenes that explain the context of the movie. If you watch the trailer, you’ll notice there’s not much of a chance to show a happy, smiling woman. I know I wouldn’t be smiling if I were jumping on trains or training for the army, let alone saving the world from aliens. If you’re reading this as a woman or as a person with a woman in their life in any capacity, you’ve been through or know of a woman who has been catcalled or harassed on the street. Alternatively, maybe she was told she was being too bossy in a work setting, that she needed to lighten up and smile more. As women, we know that this criticism is a direct attack on being a woman. Brie Larson herself shot back at these criticisms, posting a twitter user’s reimagined art of superhero movie posters with their unsmiling faces being replaced with big, happy grins. It’s honestly a bit unsettling.

To wrap things up, I just want to restate that it’s completely okay if you didn’t like Captain Marvel, a lot of reviews had very good points as to what Marvel could have done better. It was not everyone’s cup of tea and, again, that’s completely fine. This article isn’t meant to attack your opinions on movies. What I really want people to take away from this is that if you didn’t like the movie on the basis that Captain Marvel is a woman or that Brie Larson played the character, maybe you should rewatch it and think about whether your opinion would change had she been casted as a man.

Much love, Evelyn<3

Evelyn Mendoza

Wilfrid Laurier '26

Evelyn is part of the writing team at the Laurier chapter for Her Campus. She is in her second year for an honours degree in English, while also minoring in Women's Studies and Philosophy. After graduating, Evelyn aspires to become a book publisher and editor. She loves to read (romance and fantasy being her favourite genres) and spending time with her six loving reptiles. If she's not at work or school, you'll usually find her curled up in bed watching Criminal Minds or taking a well needed nap.