How Marvel portrays its female superheroes has become rather concerning these days and I fail to understand why!
There’s a scene in Avengers Endgame where all the female superheroes of the MCU assemble and get ready to fight Thanos. That scene will always be imprinted in my mind because of the powerful impact it had on screen. But the recent representation of female superheroes in Marvel like the Mighty Thor, She-Hulk, Captain Marvel, and the Wasp left me wondering if these representations are just for namesake or if it’s Marvel trying too hard, and somehow it’s just not working.
I’m not saying all of them are bad, Ms Marvel and Wanda Maximoff did have real screen time along with a really good arc in their stories. Often, I cannot help but feel that male superhero movies are made on a grander scale than the ones with female superheroes. Be it the budget, marketing, or character development, the men still seem to get the best of the best.
Also Read: The first episode of She-Hulk: Attorney at Law is a crash course on how to be Hulk ‘the right way’
Here’s what lacked in each one of them!
The case of the Mighty Thor
Honestly, I was so excited to see her as the Mighty Thor after watching the trailer of the movie. But disappointingly, she still felt second to Thor in the whole film. Initially, when it was announced that Natalie Portman would be playing the Mighty Thor aka female Thor, she received a lot of criticism for her petite figure, which is bizarre in itself. Still, the actress went through intensive workouts and build muscles but for what? To simply die in the end! It feels like female superheroes can only co-exist along with the male ones where they are objectified, playing just a love interest, or are dead.
The weird-looking She-Hulk
This one’s so painful to watch. Marvel movies have been heavily dependent on CGI since the beginning of their very first movie. We’ve watched the male Hulk with such good CGI for a decade now. What happened when they had to deliver the same for a woman? When Bruce Banner turns into the Hulk, he looks so huge, he definitely comes across as this giant monster who can crush you in two minutes. But when Jennifer Walters turns into Hulk, she isn’t even half his size, and not to forget how her hair gets more volume and she still looks pretty? The green CGI done on her looks so plastic compared to the one done on Bruce which makes him look like he was born into the world in this form. This left me with the thought that maybe at the end of the day, the makers want her to look like a ‘pretty’ monster because why else will someone watch a TV series starring a woman superhero?
The confusing Captain Marvel
Her powers, her origin story, how her story failed to live up to the hype created around her, there are a lot of things the makers of Captain Marvel have to answer. She was shown as a really strong avenger in Endgame, where she does manage to cause some serious damage to Thanos by destroying his ship and even capturing him. But in her own movie, Yon-Rogg was able to beat her. Endgame was made before Captain Marvel and it clearly shows that she was playing two different versions of the same character. She is supposed to be stronger than the Hulk, Captain America and Thor but small things like this make her arc look inconsistent.
The unconvincing Wasp
Evangeline Lily is great when she plays Hope Van Dyne in Ant-Man and the Wasp. But she’s highly unconvincing and is not able to grab our attention as Wasp at all. So much importance is given to Ant-Man alone in the movie that the makers fail to give an interesting story for her. And because the character lacks the attributes of a superhero, it lessens the chances of ever having a solo film on her.
They’re all strong female characters who could’ve been in the history books if portrayed with the same amount of dedication used for the male ones. Maybe there’s a deep root cause of the problem where the producers feel their target audience is still not ready to accept female superheroes in the same way they’ve been worshipping their male Avengers. Another fact that was rightfully pointed out in the recent episode of She-Hulk was how even though it’s her story, there have been three cameos so far. As if she could not hold the story by herself without Bruce and Wong!
Here’s hoping that phase 5&6 of Marvel which includes the Black Panther and Captain Marvel sequels, only brings us better and more concrete stories that give female superheroes the spotlight they deserve.
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