'Captain Marvel': Brie Larson responds to 'smile' criticism

By Kevin Polowy, Yahoo Entertainment

Those who track outrageous trollish behaviour online will recall the inane kerfuffle that arose following the release of the initial trailer for Captain Marvel, the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s first female-fronted superhero movie, starring Brie Larson as the eponymous badass.

A certain faction on social media criticised Larson’s Carol Danvers as appearing too “stiff and wooden,” with one person even Photoshopping smiles onto her face and claiming he “fixed” her. (Not entirely surprising, that Twitter account has since been suspended, we’re guessing for something more egregious but probably not any less small-minded.)

Read more: Captain Marvel has two post-credit scenes

Turns out the film, which was already in the can at that point, had predicted that very reaction. In a brief scene — minor spoiler alert — Danvers encounters a random man on a motorcycle who contemptuously tells her to smile.

“That’s just a depiction of the female experience,” Larson told Yahoo Entertainment at a recent press event for the film held at Edwards Air Force Base (watch above). “That’s just what it’s like. So it didn’t really bother me that much when I saw that that was the reaction because that’s just how it goes.”

Brie Larson as Captain Marvel (Disney)
Brie Larson as Captain Marvel (Disney)

Anna Boden, who co-directed the film with her Half Nelson and Mississippi Grind partner, Ryan Fleck, says she generally tries to stay off the internet but was hardly shocked by the trolls (who have more recently tried to tank the film’s Rotten Tomatoes reviews).

“It was always in the script. It’s not an uncommon thing for women to hear,” Boden said. “So it doesn’t surprise me at all that it was in social media. I think a lot of women can relate to that moment.”

Read more: Rotten Tomatoes combats Captain Marvel trolls

The Oscar-winning Larson (Room, Kong: Skull Island) retaliated to the quips and digs by sharing fan-made posters of male superheroes like Captain America (Chris Evans) and Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) smiling in Marvel movie posters — and they looked utterly foolish.

“It happens,” Larson said. “This is part of why art that depicts the female experience is so important because on one hand, for women and girls it allows us to go, ‘Oh, I have that experience too.’ And those that aren’t in our bodies can go, ‘Wait, that happens to you? We’ve got to do better.’”

Captain Marvel arrives 8 March. Watch the trailer: