Higher, Further and Faster with Captain Marvel
After eleven years and twenty films, the Marvel Cinematic Universe is finally soaring to new heights with its 21st instalment. Captain Marvel (2019), co-directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck, will be the franchise’s first solo, female-led superhero film.
Captain Marvel is set to revolutionise the superhero genre as previous films have predominantly had male protagonists. The first Marvel Cinematic Universe film to have a lead female hero was Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018), however, unlike Captain Marvel, The Wasp had to share her titular lead role with Ant-Man. Since the year 2000, there have only been three solo female superhero films, Catwoman (2004), Elektra (2005), and Wonder Woman (2017), to hit the theatres, with only one of them becoming a box office success. With its upcoming release, Captain Marvel aims to join the ranks of Wonder Woman in being a film that effectively shows why representation matters.
Even though the film includes an elite alien species, galactic adventures, and super-human powers, Captain Marvel still manages to show the regular, everyday harassment that many women experience. The film features a scene where Captain Marvel, also known as Carol Danvers, is asked to smile. Brie Larson, who portrays the titular lead and has been endlessly bombarded with online comments saying she needed to smile more in the film’s official trailer, addressed this simple issue in a recent interview.
“This is part of why art depicting the female experience is so important because, on one hand, for women and girls, it allows us to go, ‘Oh, I have that experience too,’ and for those who aren’t in our bodies, can look at it and go ‘Wait, that happens to you? We’ve gotta do better”
Captain Marvel aims to shed a light on these issues that are more common than many average comic book fans might think. Being part of a large, highly popular franchise, Captain Marvel has the ability to educate the world on something extremely important and it is doing everything in its power to do so.
As we live in a world where people can easily tear each other down on social media, positive representation is extremely important. Started by We Have Stories, the #CaptainMarvelChallenge is a campaign which intends to provide free screenings of the film to young girls and women who may not have the opportunity to see it for themselves. The campaign states that “everyone should have an opportunity to see women in roles they can aspire to one day be, roles that show women as strong, smart, and bold.” Captain Marvel will show audiences how women have the ability to do anything and will help empower the female figure in a predominately male industry.
Captain Marvel not only aims to provide better representation for women in the media, but also celebrates diversity in race with multiple female supporting characters. Maria Rambeau, played by Lashana Lynch, is Danvers’ best friend and an accomplished United States Air Force pilot, while Minn-Erva, portrayed by Gemma Chan, is a skilled Kree sniper who is part of the elite military task-force, the Starforce. These characters show how the Marvel Cinematic Universe is taking a step towards making a film that better represents our modern world and the people who live in it.
Captain Marvel will not only revolutionise the film industry through its actors and characters, but also through its crew. Anna Boden, the film’s co-director, will be the first woman to direct a Marvel Cinematic Universe film, and Pinar Toprak will be the franchise’s first female composer. Toprak will also be the first woman to score a major superhero movie. Although one role out of many may not seem big, the impact of these women will surely help pave the way for future female filmmakers and composers.
Even though the film promises to bring positivity and female empowerment, it recently has become a victim of internet trolling. Through its various social media sites, trailers and posts about Captain Marvel have been bombarded with negative comments. Some of these comments come from sexist ‘fanboys’, others from DC enthusiasts who have a negative bias against Marvel films, while others are simply just trolls. However, this behaviour is not new as it was previously seen before, prior to the release of Wonder Woman and Black Panther. These ‘boycotts’ often happen for sexist or racist reasons which just goes to show how important representation is in the media.
Nevertheless, Captain Marvel is estimated to have a high domestic opening of over $100 million in its first opening weekend. Regardless of all of the negative comments and trolls that aimed to hinder the film’s success, Captain Marvel has managed to achieve a high amount of ticket pre-sales in its first 24 hours of sale. This makes it the third top pre-seller in terms of Marvel Cinematic Universe films, closely following behind Avengers: Infinity War (2018) and Black Panther (2018). This piece of data shows how audiences are still excited and eager to see the film despite of the backlash it has had to face.
Captain Marvel will truly revolutionise the superhero genre in a way that is higher, further, and faster. Captain Marvel is not scared to push the boundaries of the genre’s norms and effectively gives its audience a strong, powerful, female protagonist in the form of Carol Danvers. This film will hopefully emphasise the issues that women commonly face in a day-to-day basis, and will help empower and remind the younger generation that girls can be heroes too.
Captain Marvel flies into cinemas March 7th.