What about the super heroines?
The MCU and female empowerment
The MCU and female empowerment
Marvel has been struggling to give women in the MCU the same platform they gave their male superheroes up to date. While the latter were almost always portrayed as the single powerful force in the movie, female characters were given a lesser importance, often just considered as a backup for help or as a love interest.
The best example to prove this is Black Widow’s very poor character arc development. She was depicted for the longest time as multiple heroes’ potential love interest and while her death was one of the most heroic moments of the MCU, it didn’t get the recognition it deserved at the end of the movie. Fans were more or less outraged at the fact that Iron Man had a funeral of his own while Natasha Romanoff was only mourned in a short sequence of the movie.
It took the Russo’s brothers eleven years to finally give a female character a standalone super heroine movie. The latest Avengers movies made attempts to highlight the importance of its heroines multiple times, but as most critics said after their releases, those were simply pandering moments. We’ve been asking for characters such as Okoye or Scarlet Witch to have their big “heroine” moments for so long and we were only given a snippet of it.
The directors did make a good move with the “girl power” scene in both of these movies – the first one being when Okoye and Scarlet Witch come to Black Widow’s rescue during the Wakanda battle in Avengers: Infinity War. The second was when all the super heroines came in aid of Captain Marvel as she had to cross the battlefield with the Infinity Gauntlet in Avengers: Endgame – but that’s as far as it went. While these moments delivered some of the female content we were hoping to see, the directors failed to take it forward and give it any significance. This is the main reason why those key moments were not much talked about for their greatness, but for their lack of value to the storyline as a whole.
In terms of individual characters, the fans – and ourselves – were highly disappointed with the lack of screen time, and dialogues delivered by most of these heroines. There were few assumptions as to why Captain Marvel didn’t play a more significant role during this movie. One of them being that the Russos didn’t predict the success of her solo movie which was released only a few weeks before Avengers: Endgame. But if we’re being honest with ourselves, it only made sense to keep Carol Danvers off world for most of the movie because had she been more present, the movie would’ve definitely had a shorter runtime and there wouldn’t have been room left for the other Avengers to be of any use. After all, she was the team’s secret weapon all along, which explains why Nick Fury paged her at the end of Avengers: Infinity War. However, her role in this final movie almost felt like she was simply just a guest star.
Despite all these negative critics, there is a silver lining. It is true that women in the MCU have rarely been given any moment of levity up to now, but it seems like things are changing for the better as more of these female heroines are given a chance to shine. The Black Widow solo movie is one to look forward to, just like the Disney+ show WandaVision. But in terms of storylines, we can’t also wait to see what will now become of the new ruler of Asgard, Valkyrie, as well as the powerful women of Wakanda.
As for the MCU, we sincerely hope to see more than a single “girl power” scene in the future. As a matter of fact, there is word that Tessa Thompson, Brie Larson and Zoe Saldana have voiced their wish to have an all-female Marvel movie to Kevin Feige, president of Marvel Studios, who was rather excited at the thought of it. There is no doubt the MCU is making an effort to make up for the lack of diversity they’ve experienced in the last decade, so here’s hoping that Phase Four will put more women at the forefront!
This article was originally published as “All You Need To Know About Marvel Phase Four” in the August 2019 issue of Cosmopolitan Sri Lanka. For more inspo, grab a copy of our latest magazine or subscribe online.
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