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Critics call Captain Marvel a racist “white savior” movie


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“Captain Marvel” has received largely positive reviews but critics of Marvel’s latest blockbuster have been quick to condemn it for being supposedly racist.

The film, which stars Brie Larson in the lead as Captain Marvel opposite Samuel L. Jackson and an all-star cast, is praised by a majority of film reviewers, averaging an 80% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, but not all are pleased.

Critics argue that the film’s decision to cast Brie Larson is “political” and that it tells the story of a white woman trying to save black actors in a storyline that is similar to other “white savior movies” - an allegedly reoccurring Hollywood cliché:

While Brie Larson’s performance has been praised, and the film heads for a huge $21 million overnight haul in early previews, the film faced a barrage of negative criticism ahead of its opening today where trolls tried to flood the web with abusive comments to give the film bad reviews. The problem of troll comments and reviews has been addressed by Rotten Tomatoes and other websites, but it remains an issue that lawmakers are even talking about dealing with.

However, this brings us back to the argument about a supposed Hollywood cliché where the plot line of a movie focuses on a 'white savior' character. The debate about this started before "Captain Marvel" went into production, but it has resurged in recent days, and following the Oscar win for “Green Book” at this year’s Academy Awards.

What is a ‘white savior’ movie?

A “white savior” movie is where a white character allegedly ‘saves a person of color’ from the difficulties they face - which they can’t solve alone. Therefore, the white character becomes instrumental in ‘saving’ other non-white characters in the storyline of the film. Business Insider released this week an in-depth look into some of the movies that supposedly fit this description:

Does “Captain Marvel” really deserve the same label?

Only this week, Will Smith was criticized for not having a dark enough complexion to play the role of Serena and Venus Williams’ father in an upcoming biopic - starting a colorism debate about how movies should be cast. Hollywood studios and production companies continue to face scrutiny over casting decisions, but the idea of white protagonists coming to the rescue of less fortunate, non-white characters in movies seems to complicate the production process even further.

Are you going to see “Captain Marvel” at the cinema? Share your opinion with us: @filminetwork

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