Category Archives: sensational

Captain Marvel: Earth’s Mightiest Hero

Warning: This post contains (mild) spoilers.

Yesterday, Rick and I went to see Captain Marvel in theaters.

Strangely, I’d heard almost nothing about it after it was released on March 8th. The only thing that had passed through my social media was some headline about an old white guy upset about the MCU’s mightiest hero being a woman.

Over dinner last week, my dad, who coincidentally is also an old white guy, and who has not yet seen the movie, expressed his own confusion about Captain Marvel being a woman. Having grown up with the kind of Captain Marvel who starts out as a little boy, shouts “Shazam!” and channels the powers of several ancient male heroes by morphing into a well-muscled, fully-grown man, he wondered how all of that was going to work.

First of all, there’s no reason a girl couldn’t channel the powers of male heroes, given the opportunity–their maleness and their powers are not mutually inclusive. Secondly, I’m not sure what the deal is with kids having to grow into adults in order to use their powers (this also confused me when I first read the W.i.t.c.h. series).

But, most importantly, DC’s Captain Marvel/”Shazam” is not the same character as Marvel’s Captain Marvel. And, as I’ve learned from my good friend Wikipedia (because I am in fact not a comic book nerd), Carol Danvers (Captain Marvel’s civilian identity) has been a fixture of Marvel Comics since 1977, when she first appeared as Ms. Marvel, in a new series of that name, after having gained her powers from events that transpired in the Captain Marvel comics. She finally took up the mantle of Captain Marvel herself in 2012 (although it appears there were a couple other women who also held Captain Marvel’s title and/or powers, at some point or another). So, yes, the first Captain Marvel was a guy, but Carol Danvers certainly has a legitimate claim to the role.

And Marvel nailed it with this movie.

It is the most normal movie I have ever seen.

“Vers” (played by Brie Larson) as she’s known when the story begins, is apparently an alien soldier from another planet, fighting a war against another race of aliens called Skrulls. When the Skrulls capture her and take her to 1990’s Earth (this is a prequel), she works with a young Nick Fury to find and defeat the Skrulls before they can infiltrate Shield and steal an essential piece of technology.

It sounds pretty straightforward, for a superhero mission, but along the way, Vers, who can’t remember anything about her past and has trouble controlling her powers (read: obeying; getting things right), manages to discover who she is and what she is really capable of.

I cried watching her self-actualization play out. This wasn’t a story about a woman being powerful despite being a woman or because she was a woman. This was a story about a human being–who just miraculously happened to look and act like me–realizing their full potential.

Brie Larson is beautiful, make no mistake, but they don’t make her up like a supermodel (cough cough, Wonder Woman), and she’s dressed from head to toe in a practical uniform which sufficiently protects her from both the elements and the vacuum of space. She’s fit, like I imagine anyone with military training would be, but she looks like a normal person, not somebody’s ridiculous ideal.

And our hero’s defining relationship? Carol Danvers’s friendship with Maria Rambeau, a black single mother and badass pilot, replaced what could have easily been a meaningless long-lost love interest, if this were a different movie.

Captain Marvel, despite the horrendous line of advertisement I found on this AMC theater page, is not a “(her)o.” What a strange and belittling advertisement for such an amazing and worthy character.

She is a hero.

Captain Marvel is smart, brave, and human, in addition to having powers on par with those of DC’s Superman. I’m excited to see her take down Thanos in Avengers: End Game next month.

In the meantime, go see Captain Marvel. (Go experience it in IMAX, too.)

Take your friends and your children with you.

Everyone should see this movie.

The Gorilla and the Boy

You can’t go too many places right now without hearing people talk about the little boy who “slipped” into a Gorilla cage at the Cincinnati Zoo recently. Depending on where you read your news, you could be hearing many accounts on this event. The accounts that really have my blood boil revolve around statements stating this is all the mom’s fault. The article on CNN included in their headline, ‘critics blame mother’. Really? Whether reports are true that this woman had 4 or 5 kids at the zoo with her that day, when a 4 year-old child gets something on his mind it is difficult to stop him from doing that so-called thing. If you turn your back for a second to, I don’t know, sneeze or attend to another child that may need a moment of your time, a 4 year-old on a mission can be yards away before you turn back around. In this case, this boy jumped himself right into the Gorilla habitat.

gorilla

As I read some of the comments on Facebook or other sites covering this story, I can’t help but think, I wonder if the people making comments against this mother ever had any children themselves. I know, before I had a child, I was one to say, “When I have kids, my child will never…” or “When I have kids, I will be the most attentive mom and my kids will NEVER…” Well, I had a kid. All the mistakes that I said I would never make or things I said MY kid would never do…they happened. So, I reference the verse in the Bible, John 8:7, “Let he without sin cast the first stone.” Therefore, I will NOT be quick to judge this poor woman, who is already beating herself up about this, and I will remember until I walk a mile in this woman’s shoes, I will not assume her parenting, or lack of parenting, is at fault in this situation.

Media’s Spin on Things

One other thing that bothered me about this particular coverage is the quote: “It is unfortunate that to save the life of a child, an animal had to be sacrificed.” I understand that there are animal activists that may just turn against me here, but when did animal rights become more important than the rights of humans? I understand this species of gorilla is an endangered species, but the zoo officials did what they deemed necessary. In a post by Amanda O’Donoughue,  an expert in zoology, she gives a good account of why the zoo had to make the decision they made. Wild animals are unpredictable and don’t rely on logic when spooked. I am sad that we lost another silverback gorilla and that the gorilla was only doing what he knew to do to protect himself, but if it were my kid that jumped overboard, I know what I would encourage the zoo officials to do.

Amanda O'Donoghue
Amanda O’Donoghue  feeding silverback gorilla (Facebook page photo)

As humans, we are pulled in by sensationalism. Stories like Cecil the Lion, Pit bulls that attack kids, and now “Gorilla-gate” are reported in a way where we don’t get all the facts at the beginning. People with cellphones are capturing video and posting them before police investigations are completed. Accusations are thrown out at the people in these stories before they have any time to share their side. I would love to see a day when the news is covered as just that, news, without the dramatic music, the sensationalism and the replay upon replay of devastating images that make my stomach turn.

His Rights are Important if Only to Save Mine

Step back and take a breath America! Take a good look at the national news media and tabloid journalism. News articles are written intending to get people in an uproar just to boost circulation. Take, for example, the Pink Slime issue. The reality is that all meat gets a puff of ammonia on it and this practice began in the 1970s. Consider the fact that the ability to use more of an animal killed for food should be a good thing. Very few news providers put these facts forward.

Another example, is the Zimmerman case in Florida. People were getting ready to form lynch mobs over the Trayvon murder, not realizing that this should ensure that Zimmerman is acquitted. Where in the United States will he be able to get a fair trial? America, please, we need to read a piece of news then step back and take a breath. Think about what you should do, and how you should interpret your news.

We want to ensure our legal rights are provided, yet we refuse to see that regardless of the circumstances, all people have a right to due process. When news is sensationalized to the extreme, we are potentially creating an injustice.

Journalists and news media need to be reminded that news is not supposed to be a drama or soap opera. It is supposed to be informing people of what is happening in the world.