Today is International Women’s Day intentionally chosen to be the American opening day of Captain Marvel. Obviously they’re hoping for a big box office this weekend. Projections range anywhere from $80 million to $120 million. She was off to a good start last night with Deadline estimating a $20-$24 million Thursday preview night take. If those numbers hold up, it’s a good sign for Friday-Sunday shows. If they hold up. Most of the projections right now are optimistic. But I’m still nervous. And I’m mad at myself for being nervous. I’m only nervous because of trolls, the sucky ass men who’ve been trying to sabotage this movie for weeks. Did you hear about this? About how they were leaving bombing the internet with sh-t reviews before the movie had even been screened because they were pissed that Brie Larson was asking that the media invited to cover the launch of Captain Marvel would include more than just straight white dudes. (I, by the way, was one of the reporters invited to the Captain Marvel junket the week before the Oscars.) Then they got even more pissed when Rotten Tomatoes introduced a new policy. These are the people hoping that Captain Marvel will underperform at the box office. If it underperforms, well, you know what the story will be: superheroines don’t make money. If it does well, it “debunks the idea that trolls and toxic fans hurt the box office”.
So that’s why I’m nervous. And that’s also why I’m mad about being nervous. We shouldn’t do things out of fear. Going to see Captain Marvel to make it so that they’re not right isn’t why you should go see Captain Marvel. That’s not why I’m going to see it again in theatres on Sunday in a full recliner seat, already have my ticket. I’m going because it’s a tradition for me and my girlfriend – we go to superhero movies, we eat all the food, we laugh, we relax, we crush on the stars in their superhero suits, we have a really, really great time. And this time it’ll be even more fun because we’ll see ourselves on screen.
Because here’s the thing that Captain Marvel does, on top of punching the patriarchy, and the movie does this so subtly, you almost don’t notice – which is the point: Captain Marvel isn’t just about Captain Marvel, she’s not the only woman in the movie. There are a LOT of women in the movie. There are a lot of women of different ethnicities in the movie. And a lot of women of different ages. You know what you can do when you have so many women in a movie? You can take it to the next level of diversity: representing the diverse range of female relationships. Sometimes a woman is your mentor. Sometimes you are the female mentor to a younger woman. Sometimes she is your best friend. And, yes, sometimes she is your enemy – and that’s OK when it’s just one form of female interaction among many. Also, the soundtrack is really, really good.
But don’t go see Captain Marvel if you don’t want to. I’m not telling you that you HAVE to see it this weekend or at all. One of the goals of International Women’s Day is to make room for opportunity and choice. If you CHOOSE to see Captain Marvel though, know that what you’ve chosen is a movie that isn’t tokenising women for the sake of a headcount but attempts to reflect that the multitude has angles and depth, and that you can be super in more than just one way.