Captain Marvel is released - the first film of the Marvel film studio with a female central heroine. The Avengers is played by Brie Larson, one of Hollywood's premier young actresses, Oscar winner and consistent feminist in the film industry. We will tell you how the superhero blockbuster works with this female character and whether Bree succeeds in "making art" in commercial cinema.
ATTENTION: the text contains spoilers.
TEXT: Alisa Taezhnaya, author of the telegram channel "See once"
During the battle, the young Vers hides from the pursuit and ends up on Earth - the planet, which in her homeland is called “that still hole”. Vers belongs to the highest Cree species responsible for keeping the peace in the galaxy. The greatest danger to peace is posed by the Skrulls - creatures that look like green goblins or orcs who, for the sake of survival, can mimic any entity: from a living person to a nightstand. It was during the fight against the Skrulls that Vers found himself far from his own people - on our planet in the mid-90s.
Nirvana with the recently deceased Kurt Cobain is the most relevant group, jukeboxes play in half-forgotten bars with wooden walls, Internet is received via dial-up, files are copied from CDs, and films are taken to watch on videotapes. Having stolen jeans, a plaid shirt and a Nine Inch Nails T-shirt from a mannequin to hide suspicious armor, Vers rushes through Los Angeles in search of the Supreme Intelligence, embodied by the heroic pilot Annette Benning. Reason is Vers in obsessive visions. It seems that this is the pilot of a semi-secret organization, with whom Vers learns about the connection through repeated and painful flashbacks.
The future superhero has other flashbacks, much more mundane and unpleasant. Her father treated her cruelly at a very young age. Peers laughed when she fell or missed during team games. The trainer in the military camp yelled at her in training and convinced her that nothing would come of her, as she was “too emotional” and lacked “manhood”. Most of the people around Vers tell her "you're helpless without us." Roughly the same rhetoric is used by Vers's mentor in the Cree civilization - Yon-Rogg (Jude Law). He also believes that female fighters get in the way of emotions, and over-engagement makes the warrior vulnerable.
All these rude interventions in life coexist in Vers with memories of support and sisterhood from her colleague Maria, whom she rushes to meet once on Earth. Versus's sudden ally is Nick Fury, played by Samuel L. Jackson, an adamant strategist with a particular weakness for cats. The drawn ginger cat with a bell will play a very important part in the story - having learned the DNA of the most popular YouTube videos, the creators shoved it into every crack of the spreading plot and left him the main jokes. In Captain Marvel, animals and Skrulls are, in principle, more interesting and more motivated than humans.
Marvel, following DC, realized that a blockbuster with male heroes was about to expire, and decided to change shoes, otherwise you can't say, to a new audience - young girls who go to superhero films no less often than their classmates, brothers and boyfriends and wanted I would like to see on the screen a non-secondary character with whom you can associate yourself. The first large-scale movie in this performance - "Wonder Woman" - was released two years ago and received almost unanimous applause from critics and viewers. Now the competition for viewer budgets from Marvel has officially begun. Estimates so far differ by one and a half times in favor of "Wonder Woman" - and not only because of the fact of the championship.Captain Marvel is rolling on the already plastered rails of obvious ideas and hardened truths of modern times - formal, necessary, but not very exciting conversations about equality, which need to come up with an interesting form, regardless of their correctness.
Explaining female character by sexist behavior around it is not inventive: clichés remain clichés, even if they are feminist
Time's Up as a movement, sooner or later, had to lead to a fundamentally different quantity and quality of material with female characters. Successful pro-feminist films ("Lady Bird," "Can You Ever Forgive Me?", "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri") coexist in such contexts as obvious failures ("A Wrinkle", "Ocean's 8" or "Pretty Woman on the whole head”), and with films balancing on the brink - pseudo-progressive in message and backward in embodiment. Being pro-feminist cinema by intention, these films are often not cinema at all, or even enjoyable spectacle - rather, an illustrative textbook of new rules of life that must be learned by heart.
The main problem in Captain Marvel is that it is a secondary product that you won't think of coming back years later - and we really need expressive superheroines not only because of the demands of equality. Criticism of a film made by a woman (in this case - including a woman: Captain Marvel was directed and written by an indie filmmaker duo Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck), when opportunities to shoot a high-budget project are so rare, may seem like an attack on equal opportunities for all … How many bad blockbusters were shot by men - but they continue to give money.
But it’s not about not believing in a high-budget project with the argument “women don’t know how to do action games” or “fighting girls are boring to watch”, but that the heroines in armor, excellent actresses in the lead roles and the woman in the director’s chair are not give immunity to a weak end product. By simply pushing feminist slogans into the script, you can make a politically relevant, but not long-lasting movie. "Captain Marvel" works as a generator of correct remarks and educational situations, looking at which, perhaps, one can make oneself a better person with an intelligible aid - but didacticism has never fallen in love with itself.
Superhero blockbusters are generally characterized by appeals to viewers with amnesia: plot moves do not change for decades, franchises with sequels and prequels are made according to the assembly line method, and all plot twists are solved at the beginning. In the first ten minutes, we are offered a choice of three alleged villains, two minor characters with passable jokes and a trick to be distracted by between the massacres. The trouble is, the genre problems of the one-shot film in Captain Marvel stick out like white thread, despite the heroic stature of Brie Larson and twenty-year-old Samuel L. Jackson.
Start with Bree. It is difficult to think of a more suitable figure for a pro-theme, whose strength and fragility will give the character depth. Larson, who has become a speaker on most aspects of gender inequality, has used notoriety from the start of her career to draw attention to professional issues (for example, even a shortage of women in film criticism). But her personality and views turn out to be redundant and unnecessary in front of a flat character, who owes his features exclusively to male domination, mensplaining and skepticism of the environment. Yes, many of our achievements occur in spite of, not thanks to, but the chain "humiliation - result" simplifies any human motivation to an animal: "impulse - reaction". Alas, it is not inventive to explain the female character by sexist behavior around: clichés remain clichés, even if they are feminist.
Carol reluctantly demonstrates human
and pushes the heroic - which is appropriate on the battlefield, but fails her
in any peacetime situation
Carol Danvers' behavior is too much of a reaction to signals from the outside and much less personal motivation for courage, compassion and kindness. Why did she become what she became? Where did you find out the things that made her one of a kind person? For such a phenomenon, American film critics have long come up with the phrase underused actor - "underused actor" who was not allowed to reveal himself. Carol Danvers, according to all the traditions of a superhero film, occupies thoughts about the origin most of the time, but does not bring it closer to herself. She seems to have a sense of humor and healthy self-esteem, but Carol is reluctant to demonstrate the human and push the heroic - which is appropriate on the battlefield, but fails her in any peacetime situation. Irony, biting in conversation, liveliness of mind in the Marvel space seem to be forbidden - no more than a couple of jokes per scene, and that is mainly at the expense of the cat. Yes, Captain Marvel warms the kettle with burning hands, fights well to the No Doubt song "Just A Girl", but this is hardly enough for us to remember her and even more attached to her.
Other female characters in Captain Marvel also exist more for the sake of formality in small and inanimate parts of the plot. Annette Benning in bright lenses dances to Nirvana. Lashana Lynch, who plays Carol Danvers's best friend, reads her friend's standard monologue "what a good person you are - and always have been" with an expressive face, squeezing tears from Bree and from us. Her daughter appears in the frame almost exclusively to tell that she wants to fly into space. Rather, so that mom and Captain Marvel praise her and say that now everything is possible - it doesn't matter if you are a girl or a boy.
These souvenir roles contradict the very idea of sisterhood, where informality, human codes of mutual sympathy and warmth should be felt. In a script written as if by a soulless neural network, none of this is present. Like other people's relatives in a ceremonial photograph, the secondary heroines of the film are present in the frame, but they do not feel each other, creating an abstractly feminine, but essentially disunited world, where every woman was and remains lonely. All are separated passengers in starships, in the 1997 Spice Girls spaceships there was even more solidarity and Girl Power.
The disunited fighters are assembled in the army and create a kind of "Starship Troopers" by Paul Verhoeven at the minimum wages. But his satire on colonialism and gigantomania criticized the military system in principle, while Captain Marvel remains a typical pro-militarist movie. But now with a woman's face - you wanted equality? Yes, a girl from an unhappy family can join a soldier, and even win a fight - just what hope does this give us? Having let the audience laugh at the cat who swallowed the tesseract in the finale, the authors of Captain Marvel leave us with another superhero - now a woman - who remains secondary in every sense, even though we only looked at her for two whole hours.
Photos: Walt Disney Studios Sony Pictures Releasing