Avengers: Endgame isn't just a superhero movie. Yes, it's the capstone film of the Marvel Cinematic Universe so far and features heroes -- super powered and otherwise -- taking on a cosmic threat in a deeply comic book-oriented story. It is a superhero film, but it's also a film about humanity, teamwork, and in a very real way the emotional connection between people that inspires all of us to be better, work harder, and step up. To that end, Endgame shows its many characters doing just that, be the men, women, or people of color. Every character in Endgame matters. Unless you happen to be part of a small group of "fans" uncomfortable with that concept and then there's only one thing you can do: edit the film yourself to "defeminize" it.
That's right an anonymous "fan" has devoted their time and effort to removing everything they deemed to be "feminist" or "gay" and now the pirated, edited version is making the rounds on an illegal streaming site. Among the edits this particular person has made to Endgame? The complete removal of Brie Larson's Captain Marvel for starters, but there are several other moments removed as well -- and for pretty problematic reasons. Per NPR, the scene in which Clint Barton/Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) teaches his daughter to shoot was removed because "young women should learn skills to become good wives and mothers and leave the fighting to men", Black Panther's (Chadwick Boseman) role is reduced because "he's not really that important," and Spider-Man (Tom Holland) no longer gets help from the female heroes because there's "no need to". Oh, and all the man hugs have been removed, presumably because men feeling emotions is somehow wrong.
This edit certainly sounds startling to say the least, but it's hardly surprising. Trolls have been heated about Captain Marvel -- and Larson's portrayal of the hero -- since well before the film's release earlier this year, including a targeted campaign via fake review bombing, but even beyond that Star Wars: The Last Jedi also was targeted by trolls, with one group of "fans" even going so far as to claim that they were going to make their own version to "save" the franchise -- salvation that would see female and minority characters minimized or removed entirely. It's part of a trend and leaves the edited film without context thus generally damaging the story, according to professor film and media studies at the University of Texas, Suzanne Scott.
"It's borderline incomprehensible," Scott told NPR. "It has cut out a lot of story that you need to make that whole narrative cohesive. So what's on the screen plays like an avant-garde film."
Scott went on to explain that while fan editing in general isn't always a problematic thing -- such as the removal of Jar Jar Binks from The Phantom Menace by professional film editor and fan Mike J. Nichols -- the homophobic, racist, and misogynistic edits are a reflection of some of the more problematic pockets of fan culture.
"I think what we've seen, as fan culture and geek culture moves from the margins to the mainstream is that a particular set -- and I should note, a small percentage -- of predominantly white straight male fans feel like their culture they had ownership and claim over for many, many generations is sort of slipping away from them, as that culture gets bigger and inevitably more diverse," Scott said.
And those "fans" are just going to have to get used to this cultural shift. Marvel Studios EVP of Production Victoria Alonso explained in a Reddit Q&A earlier this year that the studio is working towards a more diverse and inclusive MCU -- not less.
"I can tell you we are actively working on making our universe as diverse and inclusive as we can," Alonso wrote. "Be patient with us. We have a lot coming in the future."2comments
What do you think about this "defeminized" edit of Avengers: Endgame? Let us know in the comments below.
Avengers: Endgame (the real one) is now playing in theaters. Upcoming Marvel Cinematic Universe films include Spider-Man: Far From Home on July 2nd.