Brie Larson has every right to be livid at Captain Marvel trolls
The Oscar-winning actor has now spent years as the target of online hate over her role in the Marvel superhero franchise. Disregarding the dishonest protestations, composes Louis Chilton – this was never about her exhibition
t was the kind of blunt answer you don’t really see from an A-lister. Press events for Disney films are, usually, every wooden grin and hush maxims; every one of the entertainers needs to zero in on delicately batting back softball inquiries without dropping any spoilers. But, when Brie Larson was thrown exactly this kind of innocuous inquiry last weekend at the Disney D23 fan expo, she seemed reluctant to play ball. The question was simple: How long will she keep playing Captain Marvel? “I don’t know,” she said. “Does anyone want me to do it again?” She smiled, but her delivery suggested this was no joke.
A bit of context. Larson joined the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) – the world’s biggest superhero film franchise – back in 2019, with Captain Marvel. Larson played Carol Danvers, AKA Captain Marvel, a US air force pilot turned space-traveling amnesiac who becomes imbued with godly superpowers. Larson was the first woman to front an MCU film, a full 21 entries into the canon. Prior to being cast as Danvers, she was an entertainer of the significant basic reserve, having sparkled in the 2014 non-mainstream movie Transient 12, preceding winning the best entertainer Oscar for the nerve-racking 2015 show Room.
Captain Marvel was a huge hit – scooping $1.128bn at the box office – but received middling reviews. Larson herself became the target of a sustained campaign of bitter online hate from a particular subset of Marvel fans, laced with sexist undertones through to outright bigotry. Right up ’til now, YouTube is loaded up with recordings of incensed men, foaming at the mouth over the way she “demolished” a famous person. Her exhibition was considered“flat” and uncompelling; for many, she was to blame for the film’s lackluster critical reception. Her off-screen behavior, too, became fodder for scorn and abuse.
It’s easy to see why her spiky reaction to this question about her MCU future has been widely interpreted as a nod to this harassment. Seemingly backing up this notion, Larson shared a photo yesterday (11 September) of herself, two of her castmates, and the head of the following year’s Commander Wonder spin-off The Wonders, alongside the message: “*trolls combust*”.