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How Marvel Hilariously Threw Shade At Old Captain Marvel Criticisms

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The MCU is constantly growing, and Phase Three was notable for featuring more women in leading roles. Chief among them was Brie Larson in Captain Marvel, who made a strong impression as one of the most powerful heroes in the entire franchise. And Marvel hilariously threw shade at old criticisms of Larson’s hero.

When Brie Larson’s Captain Marvel was first debuting on the big screen, the Oscar winning actress faced a number of wild criticisms, some of which seemed sexist at their core. One was that she should smile more (yuck), with Larson responding at the time by sharing bizarre photoshops of Marvel posters with heroes grinning instead of looking serious. And now the studio has poked fun at this critique on the new animated series What If…?

The most recent episode of What If…? imagines Chris Hemsworth’s hero Thor as an only child. He becomes a party god in this reality, and never gets humbled through adventures on Earth. Eventually Captain Marvel shows up to shut the party down, and Thor tells her she should “Loosen up. Have Fun. Smile a little”. This makes Carol Danvers even more mad, leading to a nearly disastrous final battle with the God of Thunder. Luckily Frigga shows up just in time to give her son a talking to.

Throughout the first season of What If…? Marvel has been consistently making references to the last decade of blockbusters. In addition to fun easter eggs, the latest episode took the time to shine a light on the nonsensical critiques of Brie Larson’s Captain Marvel. Specifically that the cosmic hero should somehow smile while kicking ass, recalling her memories and destroying space shuttles.

Marvel fans can re-watch Captain Marvel’s time in the MCU so far on Disney+. You can use this link to sign up for the streaming service.

Despite any backlash about Captain Marvel’s lack of pearly whites, Brie Larson did make a major impact with her MCU debut. Carol Danvers then quickly crossed over with Avengers: Endgame, saving Tony Stark and facing Thanos in the process. Still, it feels like we’ve only hit the tip of the iceberg regarding Danvers’ story.

Luckily, Brie Larson is returning to the role of Captain Marvel in Nia DaCosta’s mysterious sequel The Marvels. As the title suggests, the movie will pair Carol Danvers with two more heroes. Namely, Kamala Khan/ Ms. Marvel and WandaVision’s Monica Rambeu. The latter character’s inclusion offers the fans a much-needed reunion between Monica and Carol, hopefully answering some of our lingering questions in the process.

The Marvels is filming now and currently expected to arrive in theaters on November 11th, 2022. In the meantime, check out the 2021 movie release dates to plan your next movie experience.

Corey Chichizola

Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Double majored in theater and literature during undergrad. After working in administrative theater for a year in New York, he started as the Weekend Editor at CinemaBend. He's since been able to work himself up to reviews, phoners, and press junkets-- and is now able to appear on camera with some of his famous actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid.