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Internet babies want Lady Captain Marvel arrested for stealing a motorcycle

By David Futrelle

Captain Marvel has been in theaters for two and a half months now, but the baby men of the internet are still finding excuses to throw tantrums over it.

The latest? An extended scene, posted online, featuring the titular character stealing a motorcycle from a random creep after he patronizingly asks her to smile; instead of punching him or throwing him through a window, like a normal action movie star, she gets her way by squeezing the creep’s hand real hard.

Here’s the scene, which is all of a minute long.

The scene is a clear homage to a similar if much more violent scene in Terminator 2, in which a nude Arnold Schwarzenegger appropriates a motorcycle from a biker after squeezing his hand real hard (and then throwing him onto a hot stove, throwing another guy through a window, and thoroughly beating up a good portion of an ornery looking biker gang).

But the angry dudes (and a few angry gals) of the internet have reacted to Captain Marvel’s too-firm handshake as if Brie Larson — the actress herself, not the character she’s playing — had gone on a crime spree in Los Angeles.

Leading the charge against the motorcycle-stealing superlady? A motley assortment of professional shit-stirrers on the right, including the alt-right adjacent YouTube blabber Tim Pool, video-prankster-turned-joke-congressional-candidate Joey “Salads” Saladino, self-professed debate champion Ben Shapiro, and one of Ben’s employees at his vanity publication the Daily Wire.

Tim Pool
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Woah I never saw this clip but damn...

Captain Marvel is a villain. She straight hurts and robs a dude because he was a jerk to her. Thats a villain
Saladino for Congress
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She should be in jail.
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Man, it is so empowering to watch a woman with superpowers physically hurt and then threaten to break a man's hand -- and steal his motorcycle and jacket because he said something rude to her! So empowering! Empowerment!
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Captain Marvel’s response to fairly mild toxic masculinity is to commit multiple felonies (even against people who did nothing to her)

And this is a celebration of feminism?

Schow’s Daily Wire post on the subject is somehow even more embarrassing than her tweets about it. She begins by taking issue with the shorter version of the scene in the film itself, in which the Lady Captain simply steals the bike — no hand-squeezing necessary.

Hooray for feminism! A man creepily asked for a smile, so she commits grand theft auto. That’s not at all a disproportionate or insane response.

But in her mind the extended scene is oh so much worse, turning the superheroine into a supervillain. “Let’s recap,” Schow writes, working herself into high dudgeon.

After a jerk suggested he would help her in a creepy way and asked for a smile, Danvers [Captain Marvel] crushed his hand, carjacked him, took his clothes, and stole items from a nearby clothing store and broke traffic laws. And this is supposed to be a celebration of feminism and rebuke of toxic masculinity?

In the original scene, Danvers committed grand theft auto. In the extended scene, she commits assault, a carjacking, a mugging, shoplifting, and a possible driving felony.

I am shocked — shocked! — to see lawbreaking by the main character in an action movie!

If these, er, “critiques” of Captain Marvel weren’t so obviously in bad faith, I would have to wonder if any of these critics had ever seen an action movie before. Or, indeed, any movie.

The trope of a movie hero or heroine stealing a car — or a truck, or a horse, or a motorcyle, or a spaceship — to get to where they need to go is nearly as old as the movies themselves.

Action movie heroes and heroines break the rules — and the laws — all the time. We don’t go to action movies to see blameless goody-goodies obeying the traffic laws in car chases, or watching and waiting for the police when a villain starts wreaking havoc. We go to see larger-than-life characters beating the crap out of bad guys — and we don’t much care if their violence is sometimes disproportionate, or if there’s a bit of collateral damage (to people, to buildings, to entire cities) along the way.

In the original John Wick movie, for example, the titular hero seeks revenge after some thugs kill his dog — and in the process he manages to kill 77 people. (His body count across all three John Wick films? An even more staggering 299.) Yet we still root for the guy.

Good guy in action

The critics of Captain Marvel’s motorcycle theft are not only forgetting that this is a MOVIE and not real life; they’re also completely ignoring the plot of the film — and the character arc of the air-force-pilot-turned alien-human-hybrid who became Captain Marvel.

When she arrives back on earth at the start of the film – and steals the motorcycle she needs to complete her mission — she’s basically a brainwashed, emotionless killing machine working for a race of aliens called the kree. Over the course of the film she regains some of her humanity. That’s called character development.

As human beings, we’re all flawed, and we like our heroes to be, like us, somewhat less than perfect — because that’s what enables us to relate to them. Our heroes may be reluctant — like Humphrey Bogart’s Rick in Casablanca — or roguish scoundrels with a heart of gold, like Han Solo. They may have a dark side they wrestle with. Sometimes they win this struggle (like Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel); sometimes they lose (Darth Vader, Walter White).

Everyone who goes to movies knows all of this — and is happy to accept these tropes when the flawed hero in question is male. But once it’s a woman in that scuba superhero suit, all of that knowledge seems to drain right out of some men’s (and some women’s) brains.

Some, like the right-wing shitstirrers who helped to gin up this phony controversy in the first place, really do seem to have trouble distinguishing between movies and real life.

@Erst_Officer
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Replying to @usatodaylife @brielarson @RobertKazinsky
Sooooo, Captain Marvel just committed grand theft auto.
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Replying to @AsheSchow
I saw that deleted clip. It's really bad. A cheesy come on tactic is not license to commit assault, and grand theft robbery.
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Replying to @usatodaylife @brielarson @RobertKazinsky
Captain Marvel should have been arrested. She assault a man who not only didn't harm her, but tried to help her. Even if he flirted with her she still committed a crime.

A number of critics seemed to think the clip reflected a certain sort of rank bigotry directed against males — especially white males, and even more especially against those who like to go around saying crude and patronizing things about (or to) women.

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Replying to @Timcast
Well considering the actresses comments about white males, that scene doesnt suprise me.
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Replying to @usatodaylife @brielarson @RobertKazinsky
If this is toxic masculinity, worthy of assault and robery, then I can only assume Captain Marvel would nuke most high schools, in response to overhearing conversations in the boy’s locker room.

Others demanded a sort of moral blamelessness from Captain Marvel that no one would demand from a male superhero. She’s a terrible role model, they cried. Just think of the children! And the adults! And all of the other superheroes that look up to her!

So whoever wrote this scene thought it was acceptable to teach young girls that it's okay to assault and steal from a man if he acts like an ass? I'm glad this was cut.
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Replying to @Timcast
My 7-year-old son was watching with me, and by the end he asked “is she the bad guy?”
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Replying to @JoeySalads
Glad they scrapped this (if that is even the case, since I haven't seen this). This makes her very unlikable. Anyone doing that in real life would (and ought to) get prison time for sure. For a hero, she sets a bad example.

Him: "Smile?"
Her: "Give me your keys, and your bike!"
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Replying to @LordAndNigga @spiritworldfilm and 2 others
Well that's still theft lol. 
Doesn't set a good role model for a super hero.
Unless we're going into the age of superheroes being assholes. You know, to make the subject more "modern".
If the writers are smart they will turn her into the main villain. She has the power I think.

Hate to break it to you, dude, but Superdickery has been a thing since, like, the 1950s, if not earlier.

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@usatodaylife @brielarson
This tone deaf response to a guy being a jerk in the #CaptainMarvel movie has made it clear. Ladies, if a man makes ANY overtures that you find unwanted, you are within your rights as women to assault them and steal their property.

Dudes, this is a movie, not a WikiHow video. No one is recommending that women literally steal a motorcycle every time a creep asks them to smile. It’s a fantasy in a film that’s all about fantasy. The scene is funny because it allows women (and men) to indulge a harmless fantasy of taking violent revenge against some of the most irritating men on the planet.

Let’s face it, perfect characters are boring, and make for boring movies. And they’re not good role models either, because no one can truly relate to them. It’s better for girls to see female characters struggle with their flaws than to demand that they emulate someone who’s flawless in every ways — and constantly find themselves coming up short.

But the real issue here isn’t character flaws. If the writers of Captain Marvel had made their central character pure and blameless in every way, angry dudes would be complaining about that too – how come she’s perfect, they would whine, while all the men have flaws?

No, the issue here is the fact that this superhero is a woman that a retrograde internet mob has decided isn’t deferential enough to men. And so they will grab on anything they can in order to make bad faith demands on Marvel and Disney in order to get them to stop making action movies with female leads. There’s no real point in arguing with these people. Just turn to them, like Captain Marvel herself, and ask with a smirk “What, no smile?”

UPDATE: And here’s that line in gif form.

UPDATE 2: Oh, look, it’s Ben Shapiro, who was so indignant about Captain Marvel stealing a motorcycle, applauding the latest John Wick movie, in which Mr. Wink kills 94 dudes:

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Crip Dyke
Crip Dyke
1 year ago

Well, since I read the original comic books (in fact I have literally two copies of DPSaga in storage somewhere, one originally for lending) I doubt I’d have trouble following along, but yeah. I probably want to watch those two movies anyway. Life just happened and I missed those two, then heard bad reviews of Apocalypse so never bothered trying to catch them on the internet or anything. Might be time now, though.

Redsilkphoenix: Jetpack Vixen, Intergalactic Meanie
Redsilkphoenix: Jetpack Vixen, Intergalactic Meanie
1 year ago

Oh, I don’t know, a movie with a perfect protagonist could be interesting to watch, if said movie was in part about how being that perfect affected them, and the people around them. That would be an interesting take on the concept, I think.

As for the Captain Marvel movie, while it – and the other MCU movies – might not have strong feminist themes in them, they do have a decent progressive streak built in them, going back to some of the current run of pre-MCU movies. The 2003 Daredevil movie had the late Michael Clarke Duncan as the Kingpin, a role he nailed to perfection (at least according to the reviews I read). Micheal B. Jordan was a great Human Torch in the 2015 Fantastic Four movie; a pity many of the non-actor people involved didn’t understand the FF quite well enough to make that movie work right.

And btw, was I the only one who was pleasantly surprised to realize that Captain Marvel had no overt romance plots in it at all? Like, it wasn’t a romantic relationship with a man that made her go bad originally, nor was it one that helped redeem her? Almost all her major relationships were with other women, with three exceptions, and none of those three forced to being That Movie’s Romance. A nice change, I thought.

Mind, I don’t mind there being romances in action movies, provided they’re organic to the story/characters rather shoehorned in. (Looks grumpily at the first Antman movie on that point.)

Crip Dyke
Crip Dyke
1 year ago

And btw, was I the only one who was pleasantly surprised to realize that Captain Marvel had no overt romance plots in it at all?

Sort of.

I think it would have been interesting if Danvers and Martha Rambeau had had a romantic relationship complicated by the 1990s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy under Clinton. I’m glad romance didn’t drive the story, and heterosexual romances are boring because they’ve been done to death, but a queer romance between the pilots that never quite got off the ground because both were devoted to flying fighters could have had a lot to say about queerness and the military which is a decidedly under-explored space.

I’m fine with that relationship not existing (though actually I think that they did hint at an unfulfilled relationship, in the current movie it was all subtext, to the extent that it existed at all). But I would have been happy if that relationship had been part of the movie, unlike, say, a romantic relationship with one of the guys in her Kree squad or with Nick Fury or something like that.