CULTURE

"Captain Marvel 2" Is Slated to Trigger Low-Performing Dudes All Over Again

Low-performing men are no longer "the real fans" of comic book movies.

Disney

It's impossible to read anything related to Brie Larson's Captain Marvel without tripping over hives of low-performing Internet men.

You know the ones––the kind of men who genuinely believe they're entitled to debates, who pretend to love facts and logic while simultaneously believing everything they hear on YouTube, who couch their racism and sexism in poorly constructed jokes and then rage about how nobody has a sense of humor anymore when everyone else wants them to go away. They're everywhere, swarming the comment sections of every YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook post even mildly related to the character, whining and crying and soiling their britches. It's almost like these low-performing Internet men have nothing better to do than breathlessly scan social media for mentions of Brie Larson so they can regurgitate something akin to, "REEE BRIE LARSON BAD!"

Thankfully, their furor has died down quite a bit since Captain Marvel's release. They still show up in the Rotten Tomatoes Audience Reviews every now and again to leave thoughtful commentary like, "10yrs of a good job destroyed for PC reasons" with no punctuation, but by and large, they've moved on to actively hating other women elsewhere. But as comic books have taught us time and time again, peace can only last so long for a superhero.

Captain Marvel short hair This image really upsets low-performing dudes.Disney

Now that Captain Marvel 2 is officially in development, one thing is certain: Low-performing Internet dudes are going to get triggered all over again.

Collective triggering of the world's least eligible bachelors can largely be traced back to Brie Larson's speech at the 2018 Crystal + Lucy Awards (an awards show for women in communications and media). There, Larson spoke out against the lack of diversity amongst film reporters and critics, the majority of whom are white and male.

"I don't want to hear what a white man has to say about 'A Wrinkle in Time,' said Larson. "I want to hear what a woman of color, a biracial woman has to say about the film. I want to hear what teenagers think about the film."

Naturally, the suggestion that their opinions didn't matter––"they" being the specific variety of men who would hear a statement like that and get vein-poppingly red about it––triggered these dudes so hard that their moms probably wished they could get postnatal abortions. These men were so angry that they made it their mission to virtually follow Brie Larson around like the lowest-performing heat seeking missiles, screeching their bad takes whenever and wherever they could.

Brie Larson Speech Women In Film 2018 Crystal and Lucy Awards - Show, Beverly Hills, USA - 13 Jun 2018 Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP/REX/Shutterstock

Of course, Brie Larson was right to say what she said. White men have been the primary cultural tastemakers throughout the entire history of Western media. It's only recently that fresh, non-white, non-male voices have started to gain major traction on such a global scale.

The biggest problem for a lot of the men who are angry at Brie Larson is that they've spent their entire lives massively overestimating the value of their own opinions. To be clear, even the most entitled, low-performing Internet men are welcome to hold whatever opinions they want on absolutely anything. But many of them, for the first time ever, are being faced with a collective cultural dismissal of the value those opinions hold. In other words, these men are facing the same exact thing that they've been telling underrepresented people since the beginning of time: Nobody actually cares what they think.

And it's true. The opinions of angry Internet men, especially the ones who have a tendency to refer to themselves with phrases like "the real fans," don't matter nearly as much as they used to. Captain Marvel was the 9th highest-grossing movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the 11th highest-grossing superhero movie ever made. Regardless of whether or not these men made good on their words and stayed home from the theaters (if they would have even gone in the first place), Captain Marvel was an objective box office hit.

Captain Marvel 2 Disney

As marketing efforts for Captain Marvel 2 begin to ramp up, so too will the vitriol of low-performing dudes. But at some point, assuming they really do love facts and logic as much as they claim, they'll need to stop denying reality and face the truth. Captain Marvel 2 will be another hit for Marvel because low-performing men are no longer "the real fans" of comic book movies. They're just voices screaming into a void like everyone else, and their box office dollars are insignificant to the brands they once worshipped.

Like it or not, their opinions have already been canceled.

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Does dubbing an interconnected franchise of superhero movies the "Marvel Cinematic Universe" necessarily make those movies "cinema?" The Old Guard of Hollywood doesn't seem to think so.

Acclaimed directors––nay, auteurs––Martin Scorsese (Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, The Departed) and Francis Ford Coppola (The Godfather) have both recently come out to express disdain for Marvel's cookie-cutter action fare.

"I don't see them. I tried, you know? But that's not cinema. Honestly, the closest I can think of them...is theme parks. It isn't the cinema of human beings trying to convey emotional, psychological experiences to another human being," said Scorsese during an interview with Empire Magazine.

Martin Scorsese Stephane Cardinale Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images


Coppola went a step further: "I don't know that anyone gets anything out of seeing the same movie over and over again. Martin was kind when he said it's not cinema. He didn't say it's despicable, which I just say it is."

Naturally, their comments sparked a backlash from a number of prominent Marvel directors, including Taika Waititi (Thor Ragnarok, Jojo Rabbit) and James Gunn (Guardians of the Galaxy, Slither). Most of these directors grew up admiring Scorsese's and Coppola's work, so their disparaging comments must sting. But are Scorsese and Coppola telling a painful truth about Marvel's cinematic status, or is this simply a case of two old, once-prominent directors lashing out against the pop culture of a new era?

To answer that, first we need to unpack a fundamental question: What is cinema?

Per the dictionary, "cinema" is roughly interchangeable with "motion picture" and "movie." So, in technical terms, every movie that comes out, no matter how visionary or generic, is "cinema."

But let's not allow terminology to get in the way of communication. When Scorsese and Coppola say "cinema," what they really mean is "high art." To them, "cinema" is the lofty ideal of movies as a medium for conveying human experience and emotion. For a movie to be "cinema," it needs to have something to say, and its reason for existing must be greater than just "profit."

Guardians of the Galaxy Disney/Marvel


In essence, this is just the age old "high art vs. low art" argument that has raged amongst artists since the 18th century. High art is complex, mature, deep, layered, and subtle, specifically intended for intelligent people capable of understanding its intricacies. Low art, on the other hand, is dumb media geared for the lowest common denominator: the unwashed masses. Or, at least that's what directors like Scorsese and Coppola tell themselves to stratify their own work from the likes of everything else.

Even as someone who majored in film and can easily wax poetic about why most DC movies are absolute poop that nobody should enjoy, I've always found the high art/low art dichotomy incredibly elitist. Different movies impact different people in different ways, and there's absolutely no reason that a serious crime drama is necessarily more important or artistic or even real (at least in an emotional capacity) than a larger-than-life superhero brawl. Take, for instance, film essayist Lindsay Ellis' thoughtful breakdown of Guardian of the Galaxy 2 and its themes about coping with the loss of one's parents. If the criteria for "cinema," according to Martin Scorsese, is a movie's ability to convey emotional experiences, then Ellis' connection to Guardians 2 after the loss of her own parent proves that Marvel movies can easily pass the litmus test.

Jared Leto Joker Actual poop.Warner Bros./DC

I won't argue that every movie in the MCU is great, or even good. Many of them do feel generic and repetitive. I'd be lying if I said I still got excited for midnight premieres like I did when the first few came out and couldn't contain my hype for actually seeing Captain America on a big screen. But anyone who says that big budget superhero movies are incapable of conveying real human emotion is, quite frankly, speaking out of their ass.

The biggest problem is that, per Scorsese's own admission, he doesn't actually watch Marvel movies. And while it's fine not to watch a genre of movies you don't enjoy, it's incredibly arrogant to suggest that, without even watching a specific movie, you can speak to its themes and potential emotional resonance.

But even if every Marvel movie really was exactly the same, and even if every last one of them had no greater purpose or meaning than superhumans punching other superhumans, who's to say that's not cinema? Martin Scorsese and Francis Ford Coppola, in spite of their great talent in the medium, are not the arbiters of what is and isn't "cinema." Nobody is.