BLOG 2 - Captain America: Civil War
Captain America: Civil War is one of the blockbusters, glossing over 1 billion dollars worldwide (Wikipedia), which makes it the highest-glossing film of 2016 and the 12th highest-glossing film of all time. As successful as other superhero movies, however Captain America: Civil War did a pretty good job in the test comparing to other movies in the same genre.
First, one of the most surprising quality of this blockbuster is: It actually passed the Bechdel test but not in flying colors. Obviously, there are more than 2 named female characters (Agent Sharon Carter, Natasha Romanoff – Black Widow, Wanda Maximoff – Scarlet Witch). Moreover, Natasha and Wanda exchanged a conversation in the beginning of the movies when they discuss briefly about the tactics and experiences, which helps the movie pass the Bechdel Test. However, this is a point that many argue about: Do they really talk to each other, or does it counts as a conversation? In my opinion, yes. Maximoff added “you guys” at the start of the sentence, which may make it seems like for the whole group, but actually, it’s for Natasha, based on the context. It is barely a conversation, but the two did talk to each other, and not about a man.
Secondly, the film absolutely portrays the main 3 women way more than “object of male gaze”. This is quite obvious, as Black Widow and Scarlet Witch are presented as superheroes in the movie. Black Widow has incredible flexibility, which attracts people greatly in her fighting scene. On the other hand, Scarlet Witch may be the most powerful of all superheroes in that movies with hypnosis and telekinetic superpowers. Although these two are amazingly sexy and beautiful in real life, but in this movie, they are real superheroes, as Captain America, Iron Man or Spider-Man (In my opinion, they are even more superhero-like than Spider-Man or Falcon in the movie)
Similar to the second point, the film clearly includes one or more men in color, in speaking roles, and not reduced to racial stereotypes (T’Challa – Black Panther, James Rhodes – War Machine, Sam Wilson – Falcon). We can easily see that the movie doesn’t mention anything about their race or any kind of stereotypes. They are portrayed as normal superheroes: The tragedy of War Machine, the humor of Falcon, the appearance of Black Panther (personally I think Blank Panther and Spider-man are the two guys who steal the show just by their appearance in the movie). There are 12 heroes in the film, 2 of them are female, 3 of them are black, so the film actually did a good job in creating diversity. The fourth point: “the film avoids celebrating offensive racial, ethnic and cultural stereotypes” is unarguable, as the plot totally focuses on superpowers, battles and opinions and has nothing to do with celebrating stereotypes.
About the grading system, it clearly states that “it represents a diverse array of people and experience”, which implies that it means nothing in assessing the value of the movie. As many people may know, some Oscar-winning movies even fail the Bechdel test or get a D in Rep-Test. Therefore, it is actually a fair way to score the movie, but only in terms of diversity. However, in my opinion, to enhance gender quality, all the statements in female and male sections should be equally valuable (in the test, every statements in female sections worth 2 points, whereas the statements in male only worth one point). This is just a diversity test, so just don’t let it ruin your movie-watching experience.
Overall, Captain America: Civil War got an C in the test, which is pretty good for a superheroes film. On the other hand, the rep-test is a reasonable way to value the diversity in a movie, but absolutely not a way to estimate the quality of that movie.