Captain America: Civil War (No Spoilers)

My husband and I went to see Captain America: Civil War,  the 13th official movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) and the 1st movie in the MCU’s Phase 3.

In order to earn back the ticket prices, I have written two articles for The Inquisitr about the movie, and I’m debating writing a third as to whether or not CA:CW passes the Bechdel test or not.  “Captain America: Civil War” Dominates Box Office, Black Panther Steals the Show is about the movie’s financial success thus far, and the fact that Chadwick Boseman as the Black Panther has been one of the most popular characters in the movie.  Black Panther Helps Marvel Bridge the Diversity Gap discusses the fact that there are three Black superheroes in this movie, two African-American, one African.  By Hollywood standards, that is incredibly diverse.

There were also several strong female characters in CA:CW.  Marama Whyte posted an interesting article on Hypable:  Why the women of “Captain America: Civil War” matter, where she analyzes the roles Scarlet Witch, Black Widow, and Sharon Carter in the movie.

It can be hard out here for a Marvel fan. There’s still no Black Widow movie, we have to wait until 2018 for Black Panther, and the recent Doctor Strange nonsense did nothing to assuage any of our fears that Marvel may in fact never get this right.  All of this to say: their lack of representation and diversity can be so disheartening — even for a committed and devoted fan — that when they do get it right, it feels so, so good. And wow did Captain America: Civil War do right by its female characters.

Does CA: CW pass the Bechdel test?  I think so, but not everyone agrees with me.

The Bechdel test requires a movie to do three things:
1. It has to have at least two (named) women in it
2. Who talk to each other
3. About something besides a man

Noelle Connell in the blog Feminist Elizabethan says no, it doesn’t. In The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test:  Captain America: Civil WarConnell states CA:CW passes the Race or POC test, but not the Bechdel test nor the Russo test. Despite the rabid hopes of slash fans, CA:CW does not  “contains a character that is identifiably lesbian, gay, bisexual, intersex and/or transgender.”

The Bechdel Test Movie List says CA:CW does past the test.   Tyler Huckabee at first thought the movie did not pass the Bechdel test, but later changed his mind, although he felt it did so only “by the skin of its teeth.”

Once more people have had a chance to see the movie, I’ll write an actual review.

[Featured Image via Marvel Studios]

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Orange is the New Black

I’m doing a probationary internship with Inquisitr.com, writing articles for them at a reduced rate.  After 30 articles, if I like them and they like me, I’ll write more for them, at a higher rate of pay.  My most recent article, “White Actor Cast As Iron Fist,” was about British actor Finn Jones being hired to play Danny Rand in the Netflix show Iron Fist.  Several Asian-American fans thought that this TV show was the perfect opportunity for Marvel to overcome decades of Orientalism and cultural appropriation by hiring an Asian-American actor to play Danny Rand.

Danny Rand, aka Iron Fist, aka the Living Weapon, was a martial artist.  He was blond and blue-eyed.  After his parents died, he was raised in the mystical, extradimensional city-state of K’un-Lun, a place which only materializes on Earth once every ten years. From 9 to 19 Danny was trained, becoming the finest martial artist ever.  Or as Kevin Chow put it in Nerds of Color, another one where the white guy goes to Asia (K’un-Lun rematerializes in the Himalayas) to be better at being Asian than the Asians.

If Iron Fist is played by a white actor, then it continues a legacy of cultural appropriation.  If Iron Fist is played by an Asian-American actor, then he’s a stereotypical Asian martial artist.  Either way, a lose/lose situation.

I posted my article on Facebook, and was surprised at how many of my friends and acquaintances seemed offended at the notion of “racebending” or “racelifting” Danny Rand.  Iron Fist had been blond and blue-eyed since 1974.  In their opinions, he should forever remain blond and blue-eyed.  They didn’t know, nor did I until this morning, that there had been complaints about Iron Fist’s ethnicity since he was first created.

Well, had Netflix chosen John Kim or Godfrey Gao to play Daniel Rand, would it have been any worse than Samuel L. Jackson playing Nick Fury? There’s been quite a few characters who were white in canon, but are now African-American.  Most of them were redheads originally:  orange is the new Black.

Nick Fury, The Avengers, Iron Man, other MCU movies  (brown hair or auburn-brown, depending on the artist)

Pete Ross, Smallville  (redhead)

Human Torch, Fantastic Four (blond)

Jimmy Olson, Supergirl  (redhead)

Aqualad, Young Justice  (black hair)

Heimdell, Thor (brown)

Kingpin, Daredevil (bald)

Harvey Dent, Batman (reddish-brown)

Ellis “Red” Redding, The Shawshank Redemption (redhead)

Little Orphan Annie, Annie (redhead)

 

Oh, yes, that is SF author William F. Wu writing a letter to Marvel Comics back in 1974, long before he was nominated for a Hugo.