The “pro” argument is apparent. She looks like the character, looks like she can kick ass (unlike some actresses-as-superheroines), and this fan art is amazing:
But the “con” argument? That’s a little harder to make, but as much as I think Ronda Rousey is awesome, it’s one that’s important to consider. Yes, there have been martial arts crossover stars before, namely Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. And Dave Bautista did a pretty good job in his limited role in Guardians of the Galaxy. But they both came from the WWE, a more performance-heavy arena than the UFC.
In fact, the closer comparison might actually be Arnold Schwarzenegger, another person with charisma and a physique movies can work with. Like Schwarzenegger’s early career, Rousey’s had a couple minor film roles (The Expendables 3 and Furious 7) that exposed her to the industry. And hey, Schwarzenegger’s had a pretty nice career, right? So what am I afraid of?
I’m afraid casting a non-actor is going to invariably lock Captain Marvel into the ever-hardening and ever the more tired Marvel Movie Mold. There’s a certain amount of formula that’s underlined every single Marvel Cinematic Universe feature, and while some have done more with it than others, or done more to escape it, it’s a limiting factor that makes me fear for the longevity of the franchise, or at least my continued interest in it. And I want the MCU to be good! I want it to be great! I love comic books and superheroes! But I also know how much of a manufactured product the Marvel movies are (R.I.P. Edgar Wright’s Ant-Man), and when you have a greenhorn actor in a leading role, that pushes the entire production toward safety rather than creative experimentation.
I’ll admit that we haven’t really had a chance to see whether or not Rousey can act yet, so maybe there’s a lot more to work with there than I’m giving her credit for. She’s definitely got the charisma of a leading actor. But I know that in acting, as with most things, your toolbox is made richer for having worked on it longer. Even if she’s a natural, Rousey’s still a novice, which means the best case is basically that she’ll play up some lower material.
So to come full circle, I guess my opinion is sure, let her have it because she might be a perfect fit for the character and I have no faith in Marvel to do anything revolutionary anyways, regardless of who’s cast. But before you get too excited and sign on to the Rousey-for-Captain Marvel bandwagon, make sure you consider what that probably means: a Marvel that’s that much more unwilling or unable to break a formula that’s already growing old.