"Mary Sue" is a term generally used to describe the characters that are too powerful and basically made all-too-perfect by an author.
With 'Prey' becoming Hulu's biggest movie premiere in its first three days, a large swath of social media users flocked to Twitter to argue that its main character – highly-skilled Comanche female warrior Nara – is "Mary Sue".
Over the course of the movie, Nara, who is raised in the shadow of other legendary hunters roaming the Great Plains, has to face a prey that turns out to be an extremely dangerous adversary: a technically-advanced and highly-skilled alien. The mere fact that the Native American protagonist manages to defeat its rival at the end of the movie appeared to have triggered comparisons with an overpowered stereotypical hero which is referred to as "Mary Sue".
Among those who blasted Nara as Mary Sue was YouTube movie critic Tyrone Magnus, who began his review with yelling "Mary Sue!" at the camera. After facing backlash because of that, he removed the yelling from his video, but a lot of people seemed to have agreed with him on the "Mary Sue" part.
However, others were quick to rise to the movie's defense, arguing that, while Mary Sue is someone who simply does not need to do anything in order to achieve their goals, Nara had to learn from her mistakes and undertake a tough journey before landing her victory at the end of the movie.
Many of those who were not ready to castigate 'Prey' as a movie featuring a Mary Sue argued that the reason behind the criticism could lie in misogyny.
"Not sure we've ever seen a more blatantly misogynistic use of the "Mary Sue" argument than Prey, a film that dedicates most of the first half to its female lead being very bad at hunting things." – @EPM106
A lot of 'Prey' defenders argued that critics failed to grasp the meaning of the term "Mary Sue" before applying it to a female protagonist.
"Men: Nara in Prey is a Mary Sue. Just like Captain Marvel, and Rey in Star Wars.
Women: What do you think a Mary Sue is?
Men: A woman in a movie who's uh… well it's when she's like… you know… does that thing where she's… a woman?" – OhNoSheTwitnt
In fact, Nara "is failing" during the first half an hour of the movie, fans point out – which is just natural for a heroine who is learning and developing to finally defeat the villain.
Despite some people being at odds with how the main character is portrayed, 'Prey' has jumped to Hulu's #1 spot just three days after its digital release on August 5, additionally marking history as the first movie in the Predator franchise that features an Indigenous heroine.