WARNING: The following article contains major spoilers for Captain Marvel, in theaters now.
Anna Boden, co-director and co-writer of Captain Marvel, recently discussed one scene in the film that appeared to be a retort aimed at some of the online critics of the film's marketing.
The scene in question occurs in the second act of the film when Carol Danvers is just beginning to explore Earth and the vague memories that plague her. There is a moment when she finds herself standing outside a restaurant with a map in hand when a biker calls to her and rudely tells her to smile. Danvers stares him down and offers silence.
Early on in the film's marketing campaign when the first trailer was released, complaints arose that Captain Marvel was not shown to be smiling. The scene in Captain Marvel might seem like a response, but as Brie Larson and now Anna Boden have explained, it was always in the script.
Boden explained in an interview with the Empire Film Podcast that it was important for the audience to see the world through Danvers' eyes. "You know, I was just on a panel with Brie and somebody asked about that scene and part of why it's written in there is that women experience that all the time," she said. Boden expressed that most, if not all women at one point, are told that they should smile or told how to act and that it was important to showcase that in the film, adding, "[Men] don't even realize it. They don't even realize that, 'is that something women get told all the time?' It seems like a surprise to them. [...] just having the female experience be part of what we're exploring on screen and have that become part of the conversation I feel like was important..."
The fact that the scene was written in long ago speaks to the predictability and thoughtlessness of the Captain Marvel trailer's early critics -- those who believed Captain Marvel ought to be shown smiling -- more so when coupled with the sardonic edits made to other superhero film posters, highlighting the absurdity of those complaints.
As it stands, professional critics and audiences generally agree that the film does not put an effort into pushing an agenda as some would believe, supporting the likelihood that -- as Boden's statements suggest -- the filmmakers simply intended to show things from a woman's perspective in such a way that suits the character.
Directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck from a script they wrote with Liz Flahive, Carly Mensch, Meg LeFauve, Nicole Perlman and Geneva Robertson-Dworet, Captain Marvel is in theaters now and stars Brie Larson as Carol Danvers, Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury, Jude Law as the commander of Starforce, Clark Gregg as Phil Coulson, Lee Pace as Ronan the Accuser, Djimon Hounsou as Korath the Pursuer, Gemma Chan as Minn-Erva, Ben Mendelsohn as Talos, Lashana Lynch as Maria Rambeau, Algenis Perez Soto as Att-Lass, McKenna Grace as a young Carol Danvers and Annette Bening as the Supreme Intelligence.