[WARNING: SPOILERS FOR AGE OF ULTRON AND ANT MAN]
Okay, so, Civil War is coming out next year and Black Panther is gonna be in it followed by his own movie in between parts 1 and 2 of Infinity Wars. Plus, we already have War Machine and Falcon, Marvel’s first African American superhero and current Captain America in the comics, as part of the Avengers. now we get THE first ever superhero of African ancestry in comics period.
In addition, we’re also getting a Captain Marvel (AKA Carol Danvers), one of the biggest super heroines in comics right now minus Wonder Woman, movie right after Black Panther’s. No word on who plays her yet (Though it might be Emily Blunt), but given that it’s Marvel it’s almost guaranteed to be a hit, especially since it’s being written by the lady who wrote the screenplay for Guardians of the Galaxy and the lady who wrote Inside Out. Not to mention, it’ll be the first super heroine movie to be a hit after the slew of terribly made, terribly written, and terribly acted shlock that’s preceded it.
Sounds great, right? Well, yes and no.
I’ll start with Captain Marvel and the subject of female superheros since I have more of a personal connection to the character….that being that I am also a female. Keep in mind that I’m still a comics newbie.
Black Panther and the subject of race (something I have less experience with and therefore need to outsource some stuff) will be in Part 2. What I will say for now is, yes we need more diversity in films than the straight, white, cisgender, male hero or all white cast with A minority and A woman (sometimes one in the same) thing we’ve got going on right now.
Yes. whitewashing is bad. It’s one of the many reasons I hated Last Airbender and Dragonball Evolution. It’s one of the reasons I’m worried about the Scarlett Johansson led Ghost in the Shell movie due out in 2017 by Touchstone Pictures. Not just that it’s America trying to adapt a popular anime/ manga franchise again, but also that, if it IS good and Johansson can pull off the Major (which she can with the right script and director), it’ll be buried under accusations of whitewashing. And yes, the role should have gone to an Asian or Asian-American (or otherwise) actress considering the character is Japanese, like for example Rinko Kikuchi who played Mako Mori in Pacific Rim or Tao Okamoto who played Chiyoh in NBC’s Hannibal and Mariko Yashida in The Wolverine.
There, two badass Japanese actresses around Johansson’s age who speak perfect English, have starred in recent good, big budget, high grossing, action films of geek origin, and can kick ass. Was that really so hard Hollywood? Really!?
Okay, here we go.
I’m gonna start this off by saying, I don’t know Carol Danvers. What I know her from is Linkara’s review of Avengers #200, which was terrible and horrendous (the book, not the review), and the fact that she’s the favourite hero of Kamala Khan, AKA Ms Marvel, who I am a fan of. …God, I need to read more comics.
The best I can get is that she was a spin off character of the original Captain Marvel, a humanoid alien made by Marvel to prevent DC from using the name for the title of their own Captain Marvel’s book, an Air Force pilot working for NASA who accidentally became half alien and thus gained superpowers including flight, super strength, and energy blasts. She’s also the hero X-Men member Rouge got most of her powers from. She’s been a member of the Avengers multiple times, has even led the team on occasion, and I believe is currently a member of the Guardians of the Galaxy (At least before Secret Wars started). …That’s all I got on her.
For what I can tell, she’s currently one of the best and most popular, non X-Men, female heroes in the Marvel universe, so yeah, I can totally understand why she’s the first choice for a solo super heroine movie. Marvel hasn’t had a bad film yet so my hopes are high. I’ve heard a rumour that all the new films after Civil War aren’t going to origin stories so that means we jump right into the action with her. That’ll be interesting and we’ll most likely get to see how she fits in with part 2 of Infinity Wars, assuming she’s not a part of the plan for Phase 4 (…You know it’s coming.). Considering what they’ve done with their other badass female characters, I’m looking forward to seeing what they do with her.
Most (if not all) previously made super heroine movies do this thing of trying to make the main character a ‘strong independant woman’ and not a strong character. They are women and they have to be strong, but also sexy because they still have to get men into seats, and being strong women who hate men are their sole defining character trait. Tank Girl might be a slight exception.
This is, thankfully, the type of film that Marvel doesn’t make. Marvel films aren’t brooding and dark like the films studios who use Marvel properties used to make. They’re serious sometimes, yeah, but they’re also fun. They’re the type of film where they can have a serious discussion and still make fun of a character for criticizing someone else’s use of foul language as part of an ongoing running gag. Age of Ultron was awesome!
They are also many things, but boring is not one of them, which is another thing super heroine films are called.
Ripley is a strong character. Sarah Connor is a strong character…at least in the earlier films. Mako Mori is a strong character. They are strong characters because they were written to be people first, not women. Ripley I’m pretty sure was actually supposed to be a guy before being made a woman. This is not a hard thing to do and yet both Hollywood and those connected to it still seem to like either objectifying or ignoring women in their media.
If you have been on the internet at anytime during the past few months, you’ve probably heard about the backlash over the lack of Black Widow toys among Avengers merchandise (They finally eventually got one, but still), presumably because it’s still assumed that the only people interested in comic book movies are boys (both young and old, at this point there’s really no use pretending that comics and superheros are just for kids anymore) and that boys wouldn’t be interested in playing with a girl toy because the fact that it’s a girl makes it a doll and not an action figure like the others.
First off, I’m a girl. I like, hell, I love the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I watch all the movies, I bought my Ant Man ticket two months before it came out and am psyched for Civil War (As well as desperately hoping it’s better than the comic story of the same name. It probably will be because this is Marvel we’re talking about, but still.), I watch the cartoons, I’ve started reading the comics (though not a lot for reasons that will be made clear in a moment), and the only reason I don’t buy the toys is because 1 I’m in my 20s, though that’s not really an excuse anymore, and 2 I’m a poor college student even if I do have a paid summer internship. I have a lot of friends, about half if not more who are girls, who love the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Also, my favourite Avenger isn’t Black Widow or Scarlet Witch (though they both kick ass and are awesome), it’s either Iron Man or the Hulk. Though admittedly I find the characters of Tony Stark and Bruce Banner more interesting than I do the heroes….and no, I don’t just mean as shipping fodder. But that’s a post for another time.
Second off, and let’s be real people, action figures are just dolls marketed for boys under a different name. If Ken was anything more than an accessory for Barbie, he’d probably be one too. This is the same thing we went through with the Princess Leia thing and we’re getting Princess Leia toys. And they’re not the damn bikini dolls.
Thirdly, Disney, as a company whose main normal demographic (based on your merchandising) tends to lean towards the feminine (even though it’s supposed to be for everyone of all ages), I expect better from you. You are DISNEY! Girls will like your stuff anyway.
I liked Frozen, I’m the girl who has every version of Let It Go and I’m still not sick of it (…no I won’t sing it in public. I won’t put anyone through that…unless they ask me too.) You are learning! You have a good queen! I mean a queen who isn’t evil! You’ve finally realized that love doesn’t happen in three days! You know that girls don’t have to be girly and can kick ass! You’re making progress!
So why are we getting Princess Leia toys for a highly anticipated movie that hasn’t been released yet, but had to wait until the DVD for Black Widow toys for another highly anticipated movie that HAS been released? Marvel, why not a movie? She’s popular enough, Scarlett Johansson has proven she can hold her own in an action film. I know she was never made to hold her own story in the comics, but she’s still interesting. It’s YOUR property, you can follow the comics and STILL make something up!
Here’s another thing, movie makers, why has it taken us THIS long to get super heroines right? I know the film isn’t coming out for another 3 years or so and we don’t even have an actress for her yet, but this is Marvel and they’ve done great things with Black Widow, Maria Hill, Scarlet Witch, and Hope van Dyne (Yes, I know about the controversy about Black Widow in Age of Ultron. It’s in the comics so don’t blame the screenwriters for this one. It’s terrible, but it does make a little bit of sense. Everything else I’m gonna chalk down to ‘The Scarlet Witch messed with her mind like everyone else and she had a crush on Banner already that was exacerbated afterwards’. She’s a healthy lady. She’s allowed to be a badass and have a crush on the shy geek with the giant green anger problem. And yes, Ant-Man should have been about Hope, but what can you do.), so there’s nothing to make us think that they’ll screw up Captain Marvel. Did you big studios ever stop to think that maybe the other super heroine movies sucked because they were bad movies and NOT because they had female leads? No? Well, start doing that.
We’re getting a Wonder Woman movie about a year before Carol Danvers and considering this is DC and not Marvel…or just not Marvel, I’m very nervous. BUT, seeing as I don’t care about DC all that much outside of the DC Animated Universe, Batgirl, their current live action TV shows, and Batman, I don’t really care. I don’t really care about Batman v Superman, but if my friends who ARE interested in it tell me it’s worth seeing, I’ll go check it out. Otherwise, Marvel’s getting all my money DC, and I don’t mean that horrible Fantastic Four reboot Fox did. That’s a rant for another day. I am glad that cast a non white actress as Diana though.
Now make the Green Lantern in your 2020 film John Stewart.
We’re also getting a Supergirl series on CBS soon. …Not sure how I feel about that. It kinda sounds like a more super and less ‘man’ version of Smallville with the lady who played Supergirl in the terrible movie as the adoptive mother. And yes, I know she’s a better actress than she is in that movie. She voiced Talia al Ghul in Batman: The Animated Series. So, waiting on that one. But considering the trailers I’ve seen, it looks promising.
Also, Agent Carter is awesome. So is IZombie. Go watch them.
Back on topic, Captain Marvel comes to theatres November 2, 2018. I know I’m seeing it.
….Okay okay, one more thing. Imagine Natalie Portman as female Thor….yeah.
(Photo via Marvel Comics)