Captain Marvel: A New Era of Female Superheroes

April 4, 2019


A few weeks ago, I saw “Captain Marvel” in the theaters. I’m fairly certain everyone reading this article has already heard of this movie. Between the many trailers and the pervasive hype on social media, it’s nearly impossible not to be aware of its existence. While watching the (epic) trailer during The Super Bowl, you might have thought, “It’s just another superhero movie. Sure, it might have a female lead, but why is that important? ‘Wonder Woman’ already came out, it’s not like it’s the first.” Yes but no. “Captain Marvel” is an important movie that sets a precedent for future Marvel movies to follow. 


Since I was ten-years-old, I’ve loved superheroes. I devoured the movies and desperately reached for every comic I could get my hands on. Superheroes are universal, and there are so many to choose from. Sure, you may not “click” with Iron Man, but try Storm or Quicksilver. There are hundreds of powered people with abilities that stretch from turning invisible to possessing the proportional strength of a squirrel. However, diversity has been an issue. 


It’s no secret that the Marvel universe has a problem with representation. Thousands of articles have been written about pervasive whitewashing or underrepresentation in both Marvel comics and movies. Similarly, the treatment of women in both the comics and the movies have come under criticism on both the lack of female leads in the films and the revealing outfits they were dressed/drawn in. Yes, one of the most powerful superheroes in the comics is the Scarlet Witch, but in the movies, she was portrayed as a weak love interest. The pattern of faulty female representation is repeated across most Marvel media. 


Now, enter “Captain Marvel.” The box office success featured a powerful superhero worthy of her comic fame. She was clothed in an actually cool and not revealing uniform and was devoid of any love interest. Also, Brie Larson can push a 5,000 pound car!


Okay, I admit that the plot wasn’t shocking or insanely engaging. Some parts of the movie fell short, and some humor just didn’t land. Captain Marvel, however, has been one of my favorite superheroes for years. I’ve read her comics and delved into her story more than I ever did with Wonder Woman’s. While it was very cool to see Gal Gadot kicking butt on screen, even after many years of closely studying Captain Marvel, I didn’t understand the references the movie made. 


Nonetheless, watching Captain Marvel fly through the air and rise against the odds gave me chills. When a movie gives you that much adrenaline rush, you feel as though you can conquer everything. This movie was the first Marvel feature to boast a female lead. Hopefully it’ll mark the beginning of several female-led superhero movies to come. 


Here is a movie suggestion for you to watch while you wait for my next blog:

Daniel Sloss’ “Jigsaw” — No, it’s not the horror movie. This standup comedy piece is not only brilliant in its humor but also masterfully crafted to make you look at your life in a different way. The subject matter is dark, but the movie is enjoyable throughout. 


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