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The Arkham Sessions, Ep. 185: ‘Captain Marvel’

The Arkham Sessions, hosted by Dr. Andrea Letamendi and Brian Ward, is a weekly podcast dedicated to the psychological analysis of pop culture, including Batman: The Animated Series, Steven Universe, the MCU, and Doom Patrol. Nostalgic, humorous, and even a little educational, each episode promises to lend some insight into the heroes, villains, and classic stories of the Dark Knight and more!

The Arkham Sessions, Ep. 185 – Captain Marvel

Already well-established as a feminist powerhouse in the comics, Captain Marvel was a much-anticipated character to break into the live-action MCU in her own female-led ’90s-themed film. Captain Marvel, however, was met with much disappointment. The storytelling was lackluster, if not a little too self-aware. Fueled head to toe with cosmic energy, she’s an overpowering figure that deserves complexity–but the character’s singular note, lack of humanity, and weak arc left audiences confused about any real impact she has in the bigger story. We rewatch Captain Marvel with the explicit intention to pick up on its problems and check their own biases, perspectives, and expectations. How does a story of resilience–one that shows the power of endurance, grit, and self-confidence–fall so flat?

Throughout the film, one theme does stand out more than others. Danvers is frequently told to control her emotions, to override her impulses, and fight with her rational mind. She’s told by her male mentor, in an all-too-familiar speech, that she won’t succeed as long as she lets her emotions surface. Despite constant sociocultural messages that people–women in particular–should approach relationships, jobs, decisions, and conflict from a place of logic, it’s impossible to act without our emotional senses. Rather, we should learn to navigate our interactions using emotional intelligence, which is the opposite of avoiding emotions. EQ consists of our ability to identify and understand how our emotions are influencing us and others. Combining emotions and logic is often the best approach. For Danvers, we never really see her grow in this area.



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