Sexism and Marvel

Note: Originally, I was planning on making this one post covering both Disney and Marvel and the issues they have with sexist attitudes. But I decided to split it up into two. Consider this part 1


I’m a fan of both Disney and Marvel. I love them. So this is coming from someone who wants to see something I really enjoy improve.

Sexism and Marvel

I do not believe that the folks at Marvel are all misogynistic pigs as some people truly do. But there are problems in Marvel movies and merchandising. I will address the merchandising issue in the second post since that is also a Disney issue.

Yes, Age of Ultron had some glaring problems. Many people probably missed the Prima Nocta joke. I missed it at first because I couldn’t hear what Stark said clearly. When I leaned over and asked Mike what he said, I was a bit surprised. Rape jokes are never funny. The only thing I can think is the folks at Marvel were thinking this is Tony Stark’s character. You expect him to make a stupid and ill-conceived joke like that. I would also like to think that if he tried something like that with Lady Sif, he’d discover how stupid it really was. I truly hope that is the take away that the folks writing and directing this movie had in mind.  But what it came off as was a crude and stupid joke about something that 20% of their female audience has probably experienced.  Yes. 1 in 5 women have been raped. Think about that.

The second big issue that I had with Age of Ultron was with Black Widow, the only strong female in the group. Yes, she makes a silly joke about having to always clean up after the boys, putting her in the mother role. That can be considered cute and funny. But, contrasted with her comparing her inability to have children to making her a monster like The Hulk, that joke takes on another meaning. Comparing herself to a monster because she can’t have children offended me. Here is a woman, who as part of a spy indoctrination is forcibly sterilized as a child. She is no longer able to produce a baby. That makes her a monster. Boil this down to the base thought: A woman who can’t become pregnant is no woman. I truly hope that was not what the folks at Marvel were thinking. But when the company has had so many issues with how they portray and treat women, one has to think there is a tone deafness that needs to be fixed at the company.

Final thoughts:

Here are two free suggestions for Marvel:

  1. Understand that women are your fans as well. Stop offending us.
  2. Take some of that giant profit you have and spend it to hire a consultant to read your scripts rather than the pre-pubescent boy you currently have. You might be surprised that they can still be great movies while not encouraging rape jokes or comments about what makes a woman a human being or a monster.

Avengers: Age of Ultron

Required Warning: This is going to have spoilers for this and possibly future movies.

These are my thoughts of the 2D version of the film. Mike and I got to see this movie last week. We saw this in 2D, mainly because we didn’t have a lot of choices in times since we had to get back to daycare to get The Boy, but also because it’s a bit annoying for me to watch 3D movies. When you wear glasses, having to wear a second pair over your eyes is a pain. Literally. The beginning of the film with the introductory fight scene was obviously designed with 3D in mind and probably would have looked awesome. The same holds true for the scene where Ultron is fighting his way around the ring of Avengers to get to the button. However, to me, it wasn’t worth the additional cost or hassle for two scenes to warrant 3D.

My creds:

To give an idea of where I’m coming from in looking at this movie, I’ve read some of the comics, but not a ton in recent years. I grew up watching all the Saturday morning cartoons, and have seen all the movies. We also watch Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D and Agent Carter. I’ve read a lot of the back-stories online to try to catch up with what I’ve missed in the comics and I’ve talked about the stories with Mike, who has read all the comics and gives me the low-down on the story-lines. So I’m familiar with the universe, but not so much that seeing a photo in the background on someone’s desk would immediately give me a hint of a future character. I do miss things, for example, I had to poke Mike to find out why Wakanda was important after I heard him chuckle.

Overall thoughts:

This is definitely a film directed by Joss Whedon. The characters have a quick wit and humor that most people wish they had when replaying conversations in their heads. Like all of Whedon’s projects, we get to see actors that he’s worked with before. He seems to be a pretty loyal director when it comes to working with talent. He also gives a good amount of screen time not only to the big names, but to the entire ensemble and that is pretty hard to do for most directors.

I liked the movie. It had everything an Avengers movie should have: lots of explosions, lots of action, great banter between characters and hints of future tie-ins. Best line in the entire movie: Hawkeye giving a pep talk to Scarlet Witch. He’s the normal dude who goes to war with superheros armed with a bow.

Speaking of Hawkeye, I both loved and hated that they brought Barton’s family in as characters. I loved that they put the effort to develop his character and family –  since it seems he’s not going to get his own movie. I hated that this brings in the possibility for their deaths. I seriously don’t think Marvel could do that on the big screen. It’s one thing to have that happen in the comics, but when it’s splashed on a big budget action movie, that could really tear it apart. Please, please Marvel, don’t kill them off, especially the way it was done in the comics!

Nit picks:

Talk about over the top melodrama imagined death scene. Cap grabs Tony, saying “you could have saved us!” In this terrible interjection that is surprisingly loud and hale-sounding only to immediately fall back dead. On one hand, it could have been handled with a bit more understatement, but then again, this was in Tony Stark’s head. So maybe, the over-the-topness fits. Still, I don’t think  I was supposed to giggle at Cap dying. It was like watching the “I’m not dead yet!” scene from Monty Python’s Holy Grail.


I can accept the god complex since he’s Tony’s creation in this instance. But he also seemed to be a bit half-hearted about some things. This was a supervillain, who could split himself into hundreds of versions of himself, and decided to put all his eggs in one basket rather than splitting it amongst several world-destroying flying city plans (which seems a bit complicated when typed out). Who knows, maybe that’s also a by-product of being Tony’s “son.”  But when Raina makes her prediction in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, she specifically indicates multiple cities. So I had to think it was more a side-effect of movie budget and wanting to have all the heroes in one place than anything else. I also thought it was rather cute how they tried to make it look like not a single civilian was going to die as the city dropped to the ground below, or that the mass of the city was still falling and that blowing it into smaller chunks didn’t change that or affect all the people in the rest of the city that was still on the ground.

Marvel and women:

Marvel has taken some black eyes over their portrayal of women and the utter lack of female toys. I was going to write something here, but that’s a whole ‘nother post. Coming soon.

The Ending:

I was quite happy with the last scene. I loved how Whedon cut off Cap’s sentence at the perfect spot. Great way to lay the groundwork for future movies -which is exactly what a good Marvel movie should do. After watching this movie and all the others, it makes me so happy that Marvel created their own studio for these films rather than entrust their characters to another studio as they and DC had done in the past. These are the folks who know how to make a good story and that is what makes a great movie.

My recommendation:  Worth the price of full admission, once. (Though we paid matinee prices and preferred that)