The Marvels Has Plenty Of Issues But Being Woke Isn’t One Of Them

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The Marvels Has Plenty Of Issues But Being Woke Isn’t One Of Them

The Marvels officially bombed during the first weekend in theaters. The buzz surrounding Marvel’s latest film wasn’t particularly good. However, to the shock of many, The Marvels received a fresh tomato from critics. Then again, Thor: The Dark World and Love & Thunder also have a fresh tomato on the popular review website.  Still, that didn’t help boost the buzz of the latest Marvel film as projections for the box office opening actually got worse following the Thursday night previews.

Ultimately, The Marvels had the lowest opening for the MCU with $47 million domestically, beating The Hulk ($55.4 million), Ant-Man ($57.2 million), and Captain America: The First Avenger ($65.0 million). Sadly, there are plenty of issues that hold back The Marvels from being great. However, being “woke” isn’t one of those issues. Note: There are some spoilers about The Marvels film. Avoid reading if you haven’t seen it yet.

People Are Confusing What Being Woke Meant In The First Place

The Marvels Has Plenty Of Issues But Being Woke Isn’t One Of Them

The term woke is used when films focus on a message over a meaningful story that organically develops the character or the world within it. Usually, the message is something political. She-Hulk: Attorney at Law is a good example because the main purpose was to push a message about the struggles of women during the work to showcase it.

Jennifer Walters’ infamous speech about being able to control her anger better than Bruce because she’s a woman is a prime example. Mind you, She-Hulk has not showcased that she lived in a sexist and violent world because of men prior to this big speech. Jennifer was a successful attorney who turned her nose up at one of her partners after giving her solid criticism. The writers cared about political statements first without developing the world and characters to back up their claims. The Hulk has had to deal with abuse, suicidal thoughts, and a massive war that killed one of his best friends. But because she can deal with catcalls or being criticized for her work, somehow that makes her more emotionally stable.

That isn’t the only example. Cassie Lang’s girlboss attitude in Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quatumania, The Charlie Angels reboot that made it clear that all men (except gay men) are sexist pigs, and even Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) had a man vs. woman mindset as every man in that film was not a good person. Say what you will about The Marvels, but it doesn’t even come close to reaching these levels.

Having The Three Leads Being Women Of Different Races Doesn’t Result In Wokeism

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Admittedly, Marvel going out of their way to find only women to direct their female superhero films is the definition of woke. The focus should always be on the best candidate for the job, male or female. Some of the best films come from women who tackle subjects that are male-centric. The Hurt Locker, Zero Dark Thirty, Selma, and American Psycho are just some examples of women who made excellent films that aren’t exactly for the female audience.

No offense to Nia DaCosta, but she wasn’t particularly the right candidate to do a huge big-budget action film. This isn’t to say that the filmmaker is not talented. DaCosta is indeed a good filmmaker, but directing The Marvels wasn’t her element. That being said, the direction isn’t particularly the issue here. Though Marvel’s hiring methods are questionable, the performances and chemistry of the three leads are fantastic.

The thing about The Marvels is that it isn’t a sexist film. Ms. Marvel, Captain Marvel, and Monica Rambeau aren’t being led by some political statement that Disney wants front and center. It should be okay for a diverse group of women to lead a film without being accused of trying to shove a political message down the audience’s throat.

The Real Issues With The Marvels

The Marvels Has Plenty Of Issues But Being Woke Isn’t One Of Them

The biggest issue with The Marvels is that the script is a chaotic mess from beginning to end. The idea of Captain Marvel being haunted by a tragedy that she caused is an excellent character study. The fact that Ms. Marvel idolizes someone she perceives as the perfect hero is a great juxtaposition to her arc. But this calls for a much darker and more nuanced film, and The Marvels goes the other way around in exploring its subject.

Tonally, The Marvels leans way too silly, despite opening the film with something so dark and grim. The silliness never fully compliments the story because the ingredients for something interesting are all there, but it’s drowned out in a non-sensical and gimmicky story that gets tiresome mid-way through. Nick Fury is another standout, as his character feels too inconsistent after the events of Secret Invasion. The villain is a typical Marvel villain: A character with sound motivation but ultimately proves to be bland and forgettable because of head-scratching moments. The Marvels is a mess, but it’s not the worst MCU film ever made. More importantly, the problems surrounding the film have nothing to do with it being woke.

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