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“Captain Marvel”: Marvel’s first female superhero

Savannah Pinnock, Opinion Editor

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On March 8, Marvel Studios released a film that will continue to be revolutionary for women and people from all walks of life.

It is a testament to the power of women and provides many with a fantastical role model. It is also interesting to see that the film was released on International Women’s Day.

However, with this being said, what makes this movie revolutionary? To the everyday person who is not familiar with the Marvel Studios canon, what does this mean?

In order to understand the significance of this film, it is imperative that one has an understanding of the history of Marvel Studios.

As it pertains to Marvel movies, there was a series of films released ranging from Iron Man that was released in 2008 to Avengers: Infinity War which was released in 2018.

Of all the amazing and empowering films released which discuss a tale of inner strength and determination, there was something missing.

On Feb. 16, 2018, Marvel Studios released Black Panther, which had a primary focus on a Wakandan Prince who would quickly rise to become a king.

This transition would come as a result of the death of the protagonist’s father, the king of Wakanda. The story speaks volumes about the power of unity, bonds and togetherness.

However, one of the most distinct features that made this film standout is that it had a primary focus on black people.

While Marvel Studios put an immense crack in the glass ceiling for people of color in heroic films and in many other amazing ways, it is clear that something was missing.

This missing element was easily unbeknownst to many as women are often underrepresented in many contexts. In the realm of heroic films, there is a prevailing heroic movie related trope in which the only woman who seems to be featured is the loving mother or maternal figure.

If the maternal figure isn’t present, there is a damsel in distress or female love interest. In these roles, it is clear that the woman is essentialized and casted as the quintessential woman.

However, Captain Marvel completely flipped the script and allowed the woman to be the protagonist. It must also be said that she isn’t the static, powerful yet, relatively unimportant Hela, the sister of Thor.

Captain Marvel is in fact rumoured to be one of Marvel’s strongest and greatest superheroes of the Marvel Cinematic Universes. She is also rumoured to be a key player in the upcoming film Avengers: Endgame. Could she possibly be the heroine? Only time will tell.

In this film actress Brie Larson who plays the role of the protagonist, Carol Danvers is a character who has been instructed time and time again to control her anger.

Eventually she and many others come to find that her anger is a force to be reckoned with. The film is amazing, to say anymore would be unfair to those that have yet to see the film.

Taking a look at Danvers’ constant instruction to control her anger to the discerning eye is highly metaphoric. It emphasizes an obvious parallel between the plight of Danvers and women around the globe. Women are often told that they are overly emotional.

When a women shows any form of negative or intense emotion she is often assumed to be menstruating. This film acknowledges that and says a resounding no. The film makes it clear that the zest and emotion of a woman is where her power lies.

It is also worth mentioning that the protagonist is an independent and liberated woman. Although it would be amazing if she had a suitor, she just has the comfort of her best friend, friend’s and her pseudo-familial support system.

The release of this film has come with a mixed response. Many believe that the film gave women more representation in heroic films and boosted the message of female empowerment. Others felt that this movie wasn’t revolutionary enough and could have done more in terms of sexual equality.

Adding to this conversation about Captain Marvel, psychology professor Nicole Ryerson makes it clear that she feels as though this movie does begin to break the glass ceiling.

However, she states that “there’s of course more work to be done. You know I think that we’ve made amazing strides but I don’t think it should stop here.”

In fact, she believes that this film scratches the surface of the problem but “there are still areas in which women aren’t seen as equals and aren’t taken as seriously and so it would be great to see this as a starting off point. It’s a good foundation but we need to keep going with it.”

As it pertains the positive takeaways of Captain Marvel, Ryerson believes that it will have an amazing impact on children and younger generations.

She states that she has “a daughter and she’ll be able to see somebody who is like her in superhero movies which is really cool.”

Alongside positively impacting young women and girls, she states that “the most important thing is that kids can look to superheroes and see anyone who’s like them, I think that’s huge.”

She states this in reference to the recent Marvel Studios film Black Panther and the newly released Captain Marvel.

Marvel Studios’ release of the first female superhero film, Captain Marvel, is undoubtedly revolutionary. After watching this film, as a young woman I was so proud to be a woman and I’m sure the feeling is mutual for many.

However, it is clear to see that Marvel was not the first to achieve this end with the presence of DC Comics’ Wonder Woman in 2017.

While this is true, the presence of this film will and has empowered many. Over the course of the next decade and decades to come, these film will set a precedent for the presence of more female superheroes.

While Jimmy can look up to Iron Man, Jessica can look up to Captain Marvel or vice versa of course.

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“Captain Marvel”: Marvel’s first female superhero