No one ever seems to have a problem with the way male superheroes look, act, or speak in their film trailers, but — surprise — Captain Marvel doesn't get the same treatment. An internet troll told Captain Marvel to smile more after the film's first trailer premiered, and fortunately, the rest of the internet was not having it, and neither was star Brie Larson.
On September 18, Twitter user @TFMonkeyYoutube tweeted "I fixed #Captain Marvel!" accompanied by four stills of the superhero that had been edited to show the character grinning. Even when women are taking on roles like the universe's most powerful superhero — one that's half-human, half-Kree, and distressed by the loss of all of her memories — she's still expected to smile. Looking tough and unyielding is apparently reserved for boys, not the Marvel Cinematic Universe's first leading female superhero.
Luckily, real Marvel fans didn't allow for this kind of nonsense. Just one day later, @heymermaid tweeted "I agree, Captain Marvel needs to smile more, so she fits in with the rest of the universe", and added three photos to prove her point. Of course, they were unbelievably funny photoshops; each featured a hero (Iron Man, Captain America, and Doctor Strange) whose poster had been edited to show them smiling like lunatics instead.
Her point: Literally no one tells these dudes to smile, so why should Captain Marvel be treated any differently? And lest you think the initial tweet was a one-off case of sexism, unfortunately, it was not. People criticized Academy Award-winning actor Brie Larson's portrayal of the titular Captain Marvel character, tearing apart everything from her expression to her energy from the moment the trailer was released. So it's reassuring to see so many people say "Actually, no" to internet trolls on this topic. It's encouraging that not everything is terrible all the time — and that fandoms can actually do good things en masse, rather than the not-so-great ones they often get a rep for. And in this case, the good thing meant spreading the hilariously photoshopped images of male MCU heroes all over Twitter.
Fortunately, Larson wasn't too affected by the shenanigans. The actor added a few photos to her Instagram story in reference to it that indicated she took it all in stride. The actor shared a few of the male Avengers squad with their cheesy, photoshopped smiles. And she also shared a message to her fans, telling them that they don't have to smile. "Breaking news: You can be you. That means you can smile or not," she wrote in part.
One can't say for sure why the original tweet offered photoshopped images of Captain Marvel. Was the user being malicious, or just trolling for attention? It's hard to tell. Either way, that type of behavior definitely isn't OK. Telling a woman to smile is a very real problem, especially for women in power; it's too raw now to be turned into some ironic joke. So it's good that Larson took the time to acknowledge the lighthearted photoshops, even if it's ludicrous that anyone would criticize Captain Marvel not smiling enough in the first place.