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Captain Marvel is the newest movie from Marvel Studios and the latest superhero to join the Marvel universe. She is also the first female superhero to have her own Marvel movie. The movie released in March 2019, received overwhelmingly positive reviews and is now the 38th movie in history to make more than $1 billion worldwide. This is despite an initial backlash and controversy which surrounded the movie in the run-up to its release.

A campaign was started by a group of men online to boycott the movie. They were motivated by comments from Brie Larson, the actress who plays Captain Marvel. However, the comments were largely misconstrued and misunderstood. When Brie Larson was asked about the mediocre reviews for the movie A Wrinkle in Time during an interview with USA Today, she replied, “I don’t need a 40-year-old white dude to tell me what didn’t work about A Wrinkle in Time”. She continued with, “It wasn’t made for him! I want to know what it meant to women of colour, biracial women, to teen women of colour.”

Some people took these comments to be an attack on straight white men and tried to organise the boycott of the movie. The boycott was led by straight white men who perceive themselves as under attack by the current climate of inclusivity. Larson has been applauded by progressive groups for her role in promoting diversity. Larson has sought to make her press days more diverse and, in a recent interview with Marie Claire, specifically requested to be interviewed by journalist Keah Brown. This was notable as Keah Brown, a black, female journalist with cerebral palsy said herself “nobody usually wants to take a chance on a disabled journalist.”

Despite wide-ranging attacks from some men on the internet, including trying to discredit the movie with fake reviews online, it has become one of the highest grossing films of all time. It is the seventh most successful Marvel cinematic universe movie. This is behind last years Black Panther, the fourth highest grossing Marvel movie, which was noted for having a majority black cast. Recently, Avengers: Endgame director Joe Russo was asked about the possibility of an LGBT hero appearing in the Marvel universe soon. To which he replied, “100%. I think you’re going to see one very soon.” The question was prompted by recent rumours that Marvel is looking for an LGBT actor or actress to portray the first openly gay Marvel hero.

Regardless of the minor backlash that Captain Marvel received, it seems as though the recent diversity in Marvel movies is paying off with audiences.

Difficult words

Overwhelming: Very great in amount, very strong.

Backlash: A strong negative reaction by a group of people.

Misconstrued: Understand someone’s words or actions wrongly.

Mediocre: Average or not very good.

Biracial: Being of two races.

Inclusivity: Intentionally including those who might otherwise be excluded.

Sought: (Past of seek) Attempt to find.

LGBT: Lesbian (Women being attracted to women.) Gay (People being attracted to the same gender as themselves.) Bisexual (People being attracted to both men and women.) Transgender (People who identify as a different gender than the gender they were born with.)

Portray: To play or represent a character in a play or film.

Activities

For listening practise, listen to the recorded article here:

British English:

American English:

Match the Synonym!

1. Overwhelming A.Find
2. Backlash B. Enormous
3. Misconstrued C. Include
4. Mediocre D. Represent
5. Biracial E. Confused
6. Inclusivity F. Lesbain, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender
7. Sought G. Negative response
8. LGBT H. Average
9. Portray I. Two Races

True or False?

1.  Captain Marvel joined the Marvel cinematic universe 5 years ago. T / F

2.  Brie Larson is the first female superhero to have her own Marvel movie. T / F

3. Captain Marvel has received mediocre reviews.  T / F

4. A group of women have tried to convince others to boycott the film. T / F

5. Brie Larson has been praised for promoting diversity. T / F

6. It’s more difficult for a journalist who is disabled. T / F

7. A Wrinkle in Time received amazing reviews. T / F

8. Some people wrote fake bad reviews online about Captain Marvel.  T / F

9. Black Panther has a majority Asian cast. T / F

10. An LGBT actor will soon play a character in a coming Marvel movie. T / F

Unscramble the sentence!

1. Studios / from / Marvel / the / is / Marvel / Captain / movie / newest

2. despite / an / controversy / and / backlash / This / is / initial

3. online / a / of / group / A / by / men / was / campaign / started

4. by / were / Larson / comments / from / motivated / They / Brie

5. was / boycott / men / white / by / led / straight / The

Listening and Vocabulary

Listen to the article and fill in the words OR practice vocabulary and fill in the words.

British English:

American English:

Grossing Motivated Discredit
Applauded Superhero Initial
Diversity Openly Dude

Captain Marvel is the newest movie from Marvel Studios and the latest _____________ to join the Marvel universe. She is also the first female superhero to have her own Marvel movie. The movie released in March 2019, received overwhelmingly positive reviews and is now the 38th movie in history to make more than $1 billion worldwide. This is despite an _____________ backlash and controversy which surrounded the movie in the run-up to its release.

A campaign was started by a group of men online to boycott the movie. They were _______________ by comments from Brie Larson, the actress who plays Captain Marvel. However, the comments were largely misconstrued and misunderstood. When Brie Larson was asked about the mediocre reviews for the movie A Wrinkle in Time during an interview with USA Today, she replied, “I don’t need a 40-year-old white ________ to tell me what didn’t work about A Wrinkle in Time”. She continued with, “It wasn’t made for him! I want to know what it meant to women of colour, biracial women, to teen women of colour.”

Some people took these comments to be an attack on straight white men and tried to organise the boycott of the movie. The boycott was led by straight white men who perceive themselves as under attack by the current climate of inclusivity. Larson has been ______________ by progressive groups for her role in promoting ____________. Larson has sought to make her press days more diverse and, in a recent interview with Marie Claire, specifically requested to be interviewed by journalist Keah Brown. This was notable as Keah Brown, a black, female journalist with cerebral palsy said herself “nobody usually wants to take a chance on a disabled journalist.”

Despite wide-ranging attacks from some men on the internet, including trying to ___________ the movie with fake reviews online, it has become one of the highest grossing films of all time. It is the seventh most successful Marvel cinematic universe movie. This is behind last years Black Panther, the fourth highest ______________ Marvel movie, which was noted for having a majority black cast. Recently, Avengers: Endgame director Joe Russo was asked about the possibility of an LGBT hero appearing in the Marvel universe soon. To which he replied, “100%. I think you’re going to see one very soon.” The question was prompted by recent rumours that Marvel is looking for an LGBT actor or actress to portray the first _____________ gay Marvel hero.

Regardless of the minor backlash that Captain Marvel received, it seems as though the recent diversity in Marvel movies is paying off with audiences.

Conversation Questions

Take turns speaking with a partner or try to answer on your own:

1. Did you find this article interesting? Why or why not?
2. Did you learn anything new from this article? If so, what?
3. What do you think of this story?
4. Have you seen Captain Marvel?
5. Do you like Marvel movies? If so, which ones have you seen?
6. Are Marvel movies popular in your country?
7. If you like Marvel movies, who is your favourite character? Why?
8. Do you think it’s good Marvel gave a woman superhero her own movie?
9. Do you think Marvel will lose fans?
10. What do you think about the diversity push around the world?
11. Is it important to have more strong female characters in movies?
12. What kind of person would you like to see more of in movies?
13. Do movies from your country show diversity?
14. What is your favourite kind of movie?
15. Is your country a progressive place for LGBT rights?
16. Why do you think people are sexist, homophobic or racist?
17. What is the biggest social problem in your country?
18. Is sexism a problem in your country?
19. Is racism a problem in your country?
20. What can the average person do to promote inclusivity?