Sunday, 27 April 2014

In Praise of Anthony Mackie

I went to see Captain America: The Winter Soldier (CATWS) on opening night and I really enjoyed it. (I also really enjoyed telling everyone about how I ran into a sizable component of my company's IT department who were also seeing it opening night because of course they were.) I raved about it to friends, coworkers, family, random people at bus stops, and my cats. Especially my cats.

 Because so many of my imaginary friends live there, I also took the Internet to see what it had to say about the movie. My favourite pastime became trawling my Tumblr account for CATWS related posts. What kept coming up a lot were gifs of Anthony Mackie in interviews and it was immediately apparent that the man was having a blast. He had a blast making the film and he was having a blast promoting the film. I wanted to high five him.


I had enjoyed Mackie as the Falcon. I thought the role was well written, I thought he was good in it, and it seems like he is going to be around for Captain America 3. But as each gif set appeared on my Tumblr dashboard, I fell a little bit more in love with Anthony Mackie as a person. Oh, that we could all have that much unabashed enthusiasm at some point in our lives for something, anything.


And then I saw this quote from him.

When I first got this role I just cried like a baby because I was like, “Wow, next Halloween, I’m gonna open the door and there’s gonna be a little kid dressed as the Falcon.” That’s the thing that always gets me. I feel like everybody deserves that. I feel like there should be a Latino superhero. Scarlett does great representation for all the other girls, but there should be a Wonder Woman movie. I don’t care if they make 20 bucks, if there’s a movie you’re gonna lose money on, make it Wonder Woman. You know what I mean, ’cause little girls deserve that.
~Anthony Mackie
This man gets it.

I was four years old the first time I was told I couldn't like something because of my gender. The thing I couldn't like was He-Man. My friend was five and explained how I couldn't love He-Man because He-Man was a boy so it was meant for boys and I was a girl. This conversation replayed itself over and over in my childhood. G.I.Joe? Boys. Star Wars? Boys. Comics? Boys. Star Trek? Boys.

While the idea that comics are just for boys is changing, it still exists. (Even worse, the long-held belief that comics are only for white boys. Racism, sadly, is alive and kicking in an imaginary world in which many of the characters are supposed to hold better ideals than the world we current live in, but that is an entire series of posts which I am woefully under-qualified to even begin discussing.) As a grown woman, I still encounter this problem on a regular basis. I would give anything, ANYTHING, to have a comic movie with a lead female protagonist because nothing says "you are welcome in this place" to a little girl than seeing a hero on the screen that she can emulate. (That lead female protagonist could be a stand-alone Black Widow movie. Hint, hint, Marvel. Scarlett Johansson is fantastic in that role and I would gladly watch a movie based around that character.)

So thank you, Anthony Mackie. Thank you for talking about it. Thank you for standing up for the dream of geek girls everywhere. Mostly, thank you for being an awesome person who is so clearly in love with his lot in life.

And if our paths ever cross, I am so chasing you down just so we can high five.

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