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.

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.

FILM

"Spider-Man: Far From Home" Screenwriters Talk About Mysterio as a Trumpian Villain

Warning: we talk about spoilers with the writers of the latest Spider-Man movie, Chris McKenna and Erik Sommers.

Courtesy of Sony Pictures

Spider-Man went "far from home" this Fourth of July weekend.

Fans got to see what he was up to after Avengers: Endgame and returning from The Snap. Peter Parker (Tom Holland) takes a high school trip around Europe but ends up enlisted by S.H.I.E.L.D. to help Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal) fight Elementals.

Screenwriters Erik Sommers and Chris McKenna spoke with Popdust about the many twists and turns in Spider-Man: Far From Home. So a spoiler warning to anyone who hasn't seen Far From Home yet. We do talk specifics with the writers.

This is the second Spider-Man movie for the writing team, and their fourth superhero movie after The Lego Batman Movie and Ant-Man and The Wasp. They've also written Community, The Mindy Project and American Dad! Spider-Man: Far From Home is in theaters now, as we discuss everything from The Blip to the very last credits scene.

Tom Holland How Peter Parker (Tom Holland) spent his summer vacationCourtesy of Sony Pictures

When you got started on Far From Home, did you get to be privy to Avengers: Endgame early?

Erik Sommers: Yes, Marvel was well aware that we had some bills to pay in terms of the fallout from Endgame. So they were very good about keeping us in the loop as to what we would need to deal with and what we wouldn't so that we could move forward with our story.

Was there anything you were still surprised by in Endgame?

Chris McKenna: We didn't know about the Pegasus. If we'd known about Valkyrie and the Pegasus we would've used that. We knew the plot points but we did not know the detail, so then we actually didn't see the movie. We were supposed to see it like two weeks before the premiere and then we were still doing reshoots. It kind of worked out where we didn't even see it until the actual premiere. She comes out in the Pegasus, Erik and I were like, "Oh, we could've referenced that. That would've been a fun thing to reference." They wanted us to know what we needed to know and for good reason they keep things pretty close to the vest so that loudmouth fans like us don't ruin things. We had what we needed for the movie, obviously. We had The Snap, because we started working on the movie even before Infinity War came out. So we knew what happened at the end of Infinity War and we knew what happened in Endgame, the time transition and obviously the very end. Those were what we had to work with as we moved forward, but their main mandate was: Yes, we have to pay these bills but also to make a really fun Spider-Man movie because we're coming off a very dark, emotionally draining two movies.

How many different names did you brainstorm for The Snap?

CM: It's funny, I seem to recall someone I thought from Marvel calling it The Blip and we just sort of adopted that. I don't know if The Snap was something that happened, [if] that would be what it was referred to, while they were making Endgame. I do think it's kind of nice that we didn't have to follow, that the world almost came up with its own name for it, their own ground level name for this crazy thing that happened so it doesn't have to necessarily line up. It feels more organically real that the world would have this crazy thing that they call The Blip that happened.

Spidey Sense has been well established in the comics, so how many alternatives did you think of before you landed on Peter Tingle?

ES: We knew that Spidey Sense was going to be a factor and something that we would be using, but it was definitely a question of what are we going to call it? Should we call it anything at all? We did many, many iterations of giving it different names, giving it no name, the different ways people talk about it. And then it was relatively late in the game that I think [director] Jon Watts pitched Peter Tingle and it immediately made everyone laugh, so that's what we went through.

CM: We just wanted to make it awkward. We wanted to make it funny and we also wanted to make it this thing that is kind of nebulous but it takes like your aunt or your mom to come up with a name and sometimes it's the most embarrassing name ever.

Spider-Man: Far From Home Spidey hanging around London in his new suit. Courtesy of Sony Pictures

Tony Stark was such a big part of part of Spider-Man: Homecoming. Even with Tony gone, was it important to still find a post-Tony way to deal with Iron Man, with his legacy lingering over Peter?

CM: It's so hard to not. He's so infused in Peter's life in terms of discovering him in Civil War and obviously being such a part of Homecoming in terms of becoming a surrogate father, [so] we knew Peter would be dealing with that. It would hang over the movie and it gave us the opportunity to do the inverse of Homecoming. Homecoming is about him trying to prove to his surrogate father that he's worthy and is able to step up. The trauma of Endgame sends Peter into a spiral and makes him question his own abilities and what his place in the world is. And he therefore is running away from it. That's why it's Far From Home. He is running away from the safe home that he thought he had after the first movie.

Was it fun finding some callbacks to early Iron Man movies, like the guy who worked for Obadiah Stane?

ES: Yes, it's always fun to be able to draw upon previous movies in the MCU and it helps weave them together. It makes them more rich. The audiences love it and we, the people making the movies as fans, love it too. An opportunity like that comes up and someone on the creative team says, "Oh, you should use that flashback of Obadiah shouting at William." Everyone in the room gets really excited immediately because we know it's going to be fun and we hope the audience will think that's really fun too.

When Mysterio reveals his plan, is he sort of a Super Trump, because he's talking about how people care more about showmanship than qualifications?

CM: He's definitely a narcissist and a con artist. He has a very high self-regard, but I think he's also the kind of guy who believes that whatever he says can go and he can spin the truth. So make those parallels if you will. We're definitely taking advantage of a chaotic world, a world where half of the universe can get swept away and then heroes can disappear. He seeks to take advantage of that. I think he thinks that the world deserves him, but he also knows that in order to get what he wants, in order to get the power and the authority, he's going to have to convince the world in his own way.

Jake Gyllenhaal Jake Gyllenhaal finally got to be in a Spider-Man movie Jay Maidment

ES: Mysterio's really preying on insecurity and confusion and doubt and fear. The world is feeling those things in the aftermath of Endgame and Peter is feeling those things in the aftermath of losing his mentor. So Mysterio is preying on that to get what he wants.

When he reveals his holographic powers, was it fun to create effects that play on Peter's insecurities?

CM: Absolutely, I think the whole fun with Mysterio is when we can look down a lot of different paths with Mysterio. Ultimately, there's so much in the early comic books of Mysterio that really are fun, that we can draw upon. This person really does think of himself as someone who should be a hero and who does like, I think, manipulating people. As much as on one hand he has a certain fondness for Peter, he can understand on a certain level that someone like Peter is unworthy and undeserving of the affection and the technological prowess that Tony has bestowed upon him. In his eyes he's unworthy and the only worthy one is himself.

ES: When the truth about Mysterio is revealed and we know what he really wants and we get to that illusion sequence where he really attacks Peter with the illusions, doing that sequence was just such a pleasure. Jon and the visual effects team had come up with so many amazing, cool illusions that he was using against Peter. It was really just a challenge for all of us on the creative team to try to refine them and think of which [ones] are the best that, as you said, would speak right to Peter's insecurities and what Mysterio is feeling about everything so as visually amazing as it is, it could really serve the story and Peter's arc.

Nick Fury (Samuel L Jackson) isn't himself in Spider-Man: Far From Home. Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau) is though. Jay Maidment

Did you get to write the codas as part of your script?

CM: Yeah, the first coda - the mid-credit ending - was the original ending. It wasn't a coda yet. It always switched around, like oh, is this going to actually be a tag? We were just going to play it as the very, very end of the movie, pre-credits. Then that turned into the mid-credit tag. Then the post-credit tag came up very late in the game. I actually think that was a Watts idea. There were certain ideas like being a con artist [or] there's going to be one last twist and oh, will this also help with shedding some light on why Nick Fury was acting the way Nick Fury was in the movie? If anyone had any issues with Nick after all these movies, would he fall for a con artist like Mysterio? We thought it was a really fun way to call back Captain Marvel, call back that great Ben Mendelsohn character and also explain why Nick would actually fall for a guy like Mysterio.

Was it always your idea to reinvent the Daily Bugle as a sort of Alex Jones/Infowars?

ES: I honestly don't remember whose pitch that was but it was early on that the creative team decided that if we were gonna go back to the Daily Bugle [and] using J. Jonah, it should be in a different form. That seems like a perfect way to do it so as soon as someone floated that idea, we all latched onto it and that's what we did.

Did you know who was going to play him?

CM: No, I think Watts was even talking a bit in the last movie about some clues to J. Jonah in Homecoming. This time around, again I don't know who pitched it but it was one of those ideas that oh my God, it would be incredible to bring back J.K. but with this whole new post-Whiplash spin on the character.

Spder-Man: Far From Home This spider flies now.Courtesy of Sony Pictures

You've done a few funny comic book movies. Is there a different sense of humor you use in the Spider-Mans than on Ant-Man or Lego Batman?

ES: I don't think so. I think any project where we're writing jokes, you have to try to adjust to the tone a little bit so that's going to depend on the characters and the actors and the director and just what everyone feels like the vibe of that movie is going to be. So it always changes a little but I don't think there are any huge conscious shifts that we decide on ahead of time or anything like that.

CM: We've been writing comedy now for a long time on different shows. We always are able to adjust for each character's voice and situation. I think you have a character like Lego Batman who is full of himself and yet also has crippling insecurities but surrounds it with bluster which is a totally different character from Peter Parker or Scott Lang. Even though Scott and Peter have similarities, they're different enough and also the actors are different. We try to channel their voices and their personas and have fun with them. It's always different.

FILM

"Spider-Man: Far From Home" Is the Best Sequel of the Year

Also, Jake Gyllenhaal is super hot and that makes up for his character's cliché motivation.

After the dark ages of Sony's floundering Spider-Man reboot, there's one thing fans and critics can all agree on: We love the new Peter Parker.

Tom Holland has brought fresh life to a character seemingly long-abandoned, and director Jon Watts cemented Spider-Man's comeback with the highly praised Spider-Man: Homecoming. But sequels are notoriously hard to get right, so Spiderman: Far From Home had a very big suit to fill.

And it filled the suit well. The main glowing achievement in this film, as with the previous one, was the superb acting from the main and supporting cast. Every single character was a pure delight to watch, and returning director Watts managed to keep a youthful, light-hearted tone throughout the whole film.

It was a little disappointing that Far From Home wasn't as much a buddy-comedy with Peter and Ned as it was in Homecoming. But what was lost in bromance was made up for with actual romance. MJ (played by the exceptional Zendaya) comes into the fold as the coolest kid you never actually spoke to in high school. Her chemistry with Peter is charming and undeniable; they play off each other effortlessly. I honestly haven't been this invested in a teen romance since Freaks and Geeks was taken off the air (RIP Lindsay and Daniel's misplaced love).

Jake Gyllenhaal's presence in the film is very appreciated, even if it seems to come out of nowhere. His is a really interesting take on the Mysterio character, replacing the magical element of his illusions with science and future-tech. Without delving too deep into spoiler territory, Mysterio's motivation ends up being a bit hackneyed.

It could be argued that this was intentional, poking fun at the tired "bad-guy" trope that's permeated the Marvel universe since the first Iron Man. But being tongue-in-cheek doesn't make the premise any more compelling, even if it is playful. Not a huge sticking point, but compared to the spectacularly menacing performance from Micheal Keaton as Vulture in the last Spider-Man film, Mysterio leaves a bit to be desired.

The only real complaint I can see being made about this film is that Spider-Man doesn't really have a character arc. His main goal in the film is to relax and tell MJ how he feels. Maybe what Watt was trying to do was show Peter attempting to have a normal life, then deciding that he needs to step up and take responsibility for his powers.

But that doesn't really happen. Instead, Peter says he wants to have a normal vacation and tell MJ how he feels, but at the first sign of chaos he jumps straight into action. For the rest of the film, he's complaining about having to fight evil, but he doesn't actually make any decisions about it. He just kind of does what he's told.

No one really cares about character arcs, though, so odds are that you won't really be bothered by this. The movie gets so many things right: authentic romance, genuine laughs, touching character moments, and top-notch special effects. The battle scenes, in particular, were thrilling, maybe even making it worth an IMAX ticket. If you loved the first movie, you're going to love this one. And stick around for the post-credit scene, which has definitely been spoiled online at this point—I think we're all ready for the next Spider-Man installment.

Rating: ⚡⚡⚡⚡/5