Female Superheroes

This post may be a bit afield from typical SatZ topics.

Marvel’s announcement today that they would change the (comic book universe, not movie universe) character Thor into a female character, has prompted Kelly Faircloth at Jezebel to say that she still wants a Black Widow movie.  Some of the commenters go further and say forget Black Widow, what we want is a Captain Marvel movie (for those not up on their comic books, Captain Marvel is a female superhero in the Marvel comic book universe who is a heavy hitter on par with Iron Man or the like).

So a few things here:

  1. I think you could have plausibly titled Captain America: The Winter Soldier as Black Widow and Captain America.  For whatever it is or isn’t worth, Black Widow in that movie is a co-protagonist.  Now, she wasn’t in the title, and that is perhaps its own separate problem.
  2. It is certainly true that Black Widow (along with Hawkeye) feels like a bit of a cadet member of the Avengers.  She doesn’t have the raw power of Iron Man, Thor, Hulk, or indeed Captain America.  And it would be great to see a female character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe who could stand toe-to-toe with those powerhouses.  But in the realm of not letting the perfect be the enemy of the good, Scarlett Johansson has done a great job introducing the audience to Black Widow, and she should almost certainly be the first female headliner of a Marvel movie.
  3. But finally, Captain Marvel is legitimately awesome, and is a character that I think that the MCU could use.  Someone with uncomplicatedly awesome powers, the kind of thing where you can put yourself behind her eyes and just enjoy the empowerment fantasy.  She doesn’t need to constantly build suits, she doesn’t have a superpowered family looking over her shoulder, she doesn’t have rage problems: she can just fly and lift heavy things and shoot energy around like a boss.  That may make it harder to write a really compelling movie about her, but it does suggest that I’d watch the hell out of that movie for just the pure fun of being a superhero.



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