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The internet’s excited about the Captain Marvel trailer, but I feel betrayed

I watched the trailer with high hopes for better representation. But I didn't feel empowered. I felt used.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I’m not excited about Captain Marvel, because I am. Or I was, until today.

For ten years I’ve prayed for a female-centric superhero film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU)’s film canon, and I am happy we’re finally getting one in 2019.

But that is the point. We have waited too long to just have Captain Marvel be the token female film. This shouldn’t just be about filling the “diversity” quota of Marvel (which isn’t that diverse anyway), it should be about getting a film as beautiful and as iconic as all the others. I feel like everybody was just excited about this because it was finally about a woman, not specifically because it was the story of Carol Danvers (played by Brie Larson).

Now, I am well aware that trailers often do not reflect films.

Which is why, for now, I’m directing my little rant at the advertising department who edited the trailer, not the film itself. This trailer did not make me want to see the film.

If Captain Marvel wasn’t part of the MCU and preceded by Marvel’s reputation, I bet many people wouldn’t be intrigued in the slightest.

This trailer felt incredibly impersonal.

Who is the protagonist and why am I interested in her story? Captain Marvel shouldn’t be advertised just as the female superhero film. Social media is going crazy with the same four gifs from the trailer with captions like, “the future is female.”

It baffles me how people aren’t noticing all the things that weren’t right.

The Captain Marvel trailer tries to be spectacular, but it fails.

The trailer tries to speak for itself, struggling to communicate emotions but it lacks the tools to do so. In reality, it doesn’t provide enough information. It’s not sensational. There is no memorable scene or piece of dialogue that we take away from the trailer.

(Except maybe the initial scene of Carol falling into Blockbuster.)

It doesn’t have a catchy soundtrack, which sometimes can do all the work.

We only see a hint of Captain Marvel’s story, of what is maybe going to be her conflict: that she has memories and she doesn’t know if they’re real. This is the only bit that remotely intrigued me.

We don’t even hear Carol’s voice until nearly one minute in (and she doesn’t speak too much after that). In a trailer that is less than two minutes long, mind you. Carol (not that anybody mentions her name) doesn’t even get to speak until Nick Fury asks her a direct question. Now, I get wanting to build up a mystery around the titular character. It’s fitting that Fury, the red thread in most Avengers movies, should introduce her. However, I would very much like to hear Captain Marvel narrating her own story. Are they taking her agency away before the film even starts?

Before I wrote this, I rewatched the first trailers for Iron Man, Captain America, and Wonder Woman. They had a certain je ne sais quoi that made me extremely enthusiastic about those stories. It’s also worth noting that those trailers were considerably longer than the one minute and fifty-six seconds that Captain Marvel got. There simply was more room for both the character and the plot to be presented through several different moments.

There were moments of normalcy, comedy, and, of course, crisis.

With this trailer, it looks like all Marvel is doing is, “Here, have this woman. She’s a superhero. Just accept this. You can placate your feminist ovaries now.”

I didn’t feel empowered. I felt used. I felt like this movie is only here to sate my hunger for equality and representation without even trying.

It’s not enough that one of the directors, Anna Boden, is a woman. I’m sure she is talented but does having a woman director a guarantee for a successful storyline and plot? DC’s Wonder Woman was a (feminist) success, not because it was about Diana Prince and by Patty Jenkins, but because it was well-written.

All we get here is many long shots of different locations and Nick Fury babbling about war. Carol Danvers is allowed a couple of close-ups and facial expressions that don’t really tell us what is going on. We understand that Krees are in the mix, and we see one second of Jude Law as Mar-Vell from the comics and one of Phil Coulson.

When Fury says “we can’t do this alone, we need you,”– assuming he’s talking to Carol – we don’t get to know why. What can she do, what kind of experience does she have exactly? Why is she so special?

Why her, Marvel?

These are the questions I try to answer as I desperately try to be as excited about this film as I was before this trailer was released.

I’ve grown tired of the movie industry pandering us with “strong female characters” by doing the bare minimum. I don’t want to hype this film just because it’s about a woman. Captain Marvel is not a victory for us if it’s lacking in story or direction. But at the end of the day, Marvel’s pockets will always stay full.

I hope this trailer made you realize that.