Women Ditch ‘The Marvels,’ Proving “Woke” War Is Nonsense

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Captain Marvel (Brie Larson) stands next to Kamala Khan (Iman Vellani)

Credit: Marvel Studios

If there’s one thing that gets superhero fans riled up it’s Marvel’s so called “woke” agenda.

Over the years, a certain (toxic) demographic of Marvel Cinematic Universe fans have complained that the franchise panders too much to the “woke” audience. Many point to Captain Marvel (Brie Larson) as proof that the studio is trying to push a politically correct, feminist agenda – accusing the character of being a Mary Sue who doesn’t smile enough and, as the Daily Beast recently claimed, “a parody of what feminine strength looks like.” Lovely stuff.

Captain Marvel (Brie Larson) flying with Goose in 'The Marvels'
Credit: Marvel Studios

Related: ‘The Marvels’ Director Tackles Anti-Woke MCU Fans

With the recent release of The Marvels (2023) – the followup to Captain Marvel (2019) – the conversation about Marvel supposedly being too “woke” has been louder than ever. Some had low expectations for the film before its release, convinced it would flop months before it even hit theaters. Some even actively campaigned for the film to fail, review-bombing it on sites like IMDb the moment its first trailer dropped.

Unfortunately, the film hasn’t performed too well at the box office, especially compared with its predecessor. While Captain Marvel raked in $1.131 billion worldwide, it seems unlikely that The Marvels will achieve anywhere near that number. The film – which sees Carol Danvers team up with Kamala Khan (Iman Vellani) and Monica Rambeau (Teyonah Parris) to find out why they keep switching place every time they use their powers – opened to just $46.1 million on its opening weekend, a record low for Marvel. For comparison, Captain Marvel debuted to $153 million.

Brie Larson as Captain Marvel with her fist upraised in The Marvels
Credit: Marvel Studios

There are plenty of explanations as to why The Marvels may have flopped. Cinema is suffering from general superhero fatigue at the moment and Marvel’s name doesn’t exactly wield the same power as it did pre-Avengers: Endgame (2019). Recent projects such as Secret Invasion on Disney+ and Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (2023) have failed to impress both critics and audiences, with many complaining that the MCU has become too bloated for its own good.

It’s also generally harder to make as much at the box office in 2023 than it was in 2019. As The A.V. Club pointed outThe Marvels may not have lived up to Marvel’s past releases, but it still made much more than anything else did that weekend.

However, some have insisted that it’s proof Marvel has become too “ultra-woke” for its own viewers. On Fox News, Greg Gutfield claimed that “the woke idea of making all the superheroes a group of fully diverse females beating people up as if they’re guys was based on the assumption that there is an audience for that.”

Top half of the Chinese poster of The Marvels (Captain Marvel 2)
Credit: Marvel Studios

Of course, there most definitely is an audience for that. One thing that those who like to accuse Marvel of being too “woke” seem to forget is that the world is a diverse place. Women come in all shapes and sizes – and seeing a Black female superhero and a Pakistani female superhero on the big screen means more to some viewers than they could imagine.

In fact, while they also typically claim that Marvel’s focus on diversity is pushing away its male viewers, the numbers say otherwise. According to a recent report from IndieWire, the audience on the opening weekend of The Marvels was 61% male and 39% female.

Carol Danvers (Brie Larson) in 'Captain Marvel'
Credit: Marvel Studios

Related: Brie Larson Is Reportedly Done With ‘Captain Marvel’

While these are standard numbers for a Marvel movie, they’re most definitely not standard for a female-led movie. Variety reports that Captain Marvel had a breakdown of 55% male and 45% female – suggesting that it’s female viewers who neglected to see The Marvels, not male.

This raises questions as to why less female viewers chose to see The Marvels, but also proves that the online discourse about Marvel becoming too woke for its male audience is totally off the mark. Men are, it seems, still all too keen to see the latest Marvel outing. The quantity and quality of Marvel films may drive fewer viewers in general lately, but its “woke” war is totally irrelevant.

Have you seen The Marvels? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

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