The Captain Marvel teaser trailer came out the other day and I really liked it.
It looks like a good film. It looks like a fun film. I like it from the point of view of a film-goer, and I like it as a reader of comics. I like how it looks, I like how it sounds, I like how amazing Samuel L. Jackson looks. I like it from the point of view of a boy who has liked Carol Danvers since he was a teenager, and I like it from the point of view of an adult who has been thrilled to see Carol grow and evolve with the times – from a Ms. Marvel who wore a swimsuit to a Captain Marvel who got to share in the male privilege of being allowed to wear pants to super-hero-work.
I’m thrilled that Captain Marvel is coming to the screen and I’m thrilled that we are, that the world is, in a place where there’s genuine excitement to see Carol Danvers in a movie.
I think it’s amazing that we finally have a female icon on the screen who will be able to tell little girls that they can want to be Supermen too. There’s so much value in showing that a Superman can be a woman without infantilizing her and without sexualizing her.
Like it or not, these big Hollywood tentpoles, these global phenomena that pull in a regular billion dollars like it’s little more than a default schematic, these big sweeping machine-made cornerstones of the cultural zeitgeist, these silly comic book movies, are currently the forum in which we are having big, important, conversations about our culture, ourselves, and our places in the world.
For better or for worse, a movie about a girl who shoots beams out of her hands to fight bad people who probably also shoot beams out of their hands to save people who don’t shoot beams out of their hands is making a cultural statement just by being about a girl.
This is a cultural statement being made about America, and broadly about the world, and about any other place that looks like America.
Among the statements I think are being made, and the conversation I want to have, is a statement about the framework of a female superhero relative to the male gaze. And I want to have that conversation by talking about Wonder Woman.