Friday, March 8, Marvel Studios’ first much-anticipated film of the year, Captain Marvel, hit theaters. The date also happened to be International Women’s Day.
Coincidence? Impossible (we see what you did there, Marvel).
And while this is a perfect example of using release dates to your marketing advantage, it was also simply the best day for this iconic feminist hero to be cast onto the big screen.
While this is a film I recommend everyone see, more specifically, it is a gift to women everywhere.
In 2017, when Wonder Woman was released, young girls were inspired to see a female superhero leading a team to victory in a way that was beautiful, heroic, and true.
Now, in 2019, Captain Marvel is carrying the torch.
Well, more like taking the torch and using it to light a 10 foot tall bonfire that is ready to burn down the patriarchy.
However, some people felt that this film was not exactly groundbreaking.
Many felt that the film “ tried too hard " to be a tool for social justice warrior propaganda. The progressive nature of themes in relation to notions of gender and race are clear, but these shouldn’t be dirty, taboo topics.
In fact, women have had fewer speaking roles in recent movies than they have had in the past decade. Giving women leading roles in powerful films isn’t unwarranted activism; it’s real life.
This argument is similar to that which arose after the release of the film Love, Simon, a story of a closeted gay high school teen navigating his own sexuality. In an article published by Time Magazine, it was argued that the amount of movies featuring gay characters is abundantly unnecessary. Why represent minorities when sticking to the stories of straight, white men have proven successful since the cinematic industry first took off?
Because, today’s world needs it.
The overwhelming theme in Captain Marvel shows us that women have the capability of being just as strong as any man. Marvel Studios producer Kevin Feige has confirmed that Captain Marvel is the “most powerful superhero the MCU has ever introduced."
Most powerful? It can’t be. Everyone knows that men always have superior strength to women, and that is why they always get to play the hero.
Or is that just a stereotype presented to us by a male-saturated cinematic genre that keeps us believing women are meant to be saved, not to be the saviors?
With this being the common thought amongst the majority of audiences, this film’s message is more important than ever.
Towards the end of the storyline (minor spoiler alert!), we see multiple flashbacks in which our hero, Carol Danvers (aka Captain Marvel), is thrown to the ground again and again. Of course, being the hero she is, she gets right back to her feet each time.
It is the typical “fall down 7 times, get up 8" mentality that we should be instilling in all young women, especially in a world built to push them to their knees.
At one point, Monica, the 11 year old daughter of Carol Danvers’ best friend, pushes her mother to take on a dangerous but heroic mission, asking her what kind of “example she wants to set for her daughter."
We should applaud Marvel for such a fantastic line. Mothers are often pressured to always stay home with their children; to play it safe and to let their husbands do the dirty work. This concept of women breaking out of stereotypical roles, if they want to do so, should not scare us. It should push us to ask ourselves the same question: What example are we setting for our own daughters?
Are our films representing them? Are our films showing them how capable, powerful, and independent they truly can be? Or are we silencing them, holding them back, and telling their brothers to do the talking?
And if all that is not enough to convince women worldwide to see this film, there is one more thing.
It is the perfect prequel to seeing Carol Danvers help the rest of the MCU heroes take down Thanos in Avengers: Endgame this April. While there have been no definite details regarding this plot line, the post credits scene following Captain Marvel shows Danvers being paged to help aid in the fight.
Undoubtedly, the “most powerful character" the MCU has ever seen is set to play a pivotal role here, and who would want to miss out on that?