A Marvelous Change Up

Over the past 11 years, Marvel has produced some of the most popular movies to date. Over the past decade, 22 movies (including the up and coming film End Game) have entertained millions upon millions of fans. From Iron Man and Thor to the Hulk and Captain America, most of the superheroes we have seen on the big screen have been male. White males. Yes, there have been a few different races/ethnicities represented like War Machine and Falcon, as well as women, like Black Widow, and Pepper Pots who have had roles in films like the Avengers, but they have never had an ~actual~ movie made about them, yet. Marvel in more recent years has chosen to incorporate stronger female characters such as Shuri, the Wasp, Okoye, Gamora, and Valkyrie, just to name a few. Although it has been great that Marvel has started to put more focus on female characters, for most fans it just was not enough. Fans wanted origin films about these women, they wanted films where one or all of these women were the main characters, they wanted something different than the norm. Even though rumors have floated around for years that Black Widow was going to get her own origin film, in which those rumors are FINALLY becoming a reality as the prequel has been confirmed, Marvel finally listened to their fans and created its first female-fronted film! It only took a little over a decade to make it happen…

Now I know many have taken notice of Wonder Woman and her movie that came out 2 years ago in 2017, in which I applaud DC for creating a movie for such a strong female character. The box office hit had its numbers vaporized as Captain Marvel has since become the latest female-fronted film to break world records. Captain Marvel had the largest opening weekend ever in regard to female-fronted films and is a billion-dollar success throughout global box offices! This is a big win for Marvel and an even bigger win for females and fans alike. Although this movie is important for the Marvel franchise and its future films, this movie is also important for today’s society. Women, children, and fans love to see a variety of characters on the screen but diversity within the characters presented is incredibly important, especially now. Black Panther was a groundbreaking success for Marvel making waves throughout society as being one of the most diverse movies created so far with 90% of its cast not being white. Spiderman: Into the Spider-Verse featuring Miles Morales, an African American Latino, won the Academy Award for Best Animated Film! Those who claim that films focused on different races/ethnicities would not be successful in the film industry were clearly wrong as films like Black Panther have proven with record-breaking numbers and numerous awards.

With diverse films like these proving to be incredibly successful, news about continuing to add more diverse characters to the Marvel Cinematic Universe has begun to pop up. Recently it has been rumored that Marvel may be adding a superhero by the name of Shang-Chi, in which the movie will be written by a Chinese-American writer. A second Black Panther film is in the works as well. Even though Marvel has faced criticism in the past for changing beloved characters from their original designs, switching races and ethnicities, it appears as though this could become a thing of the past.

The addition of Captain Marvel to the Marvel movie industry was a victory for females and fans alike. The film not only empowers the adults who see it, but children as well. As a little girl, I grew up watching superhero’s like Batman and Spiderman, and although these characters are some of the best, in my opinion, I know I would have loved to have seen a movie like Captain Marvel at a young age. I think that is part of the reason as to why I became so excited for this movie, even though I enjoyed Wonder Woman, Captain Marvel is a flawed but empowered female superhero who doesn’t let her faults get in the way of pursuing her dreams and protecting the universe, can’t forget that part! Along with watching Captain Marvel’s origin story throughout the film, we also get an origin story about Nick Fury, one of the most important characters throughout the MCU who happens to be an African American. In the original comics, Nick Fury is a white character, but in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Nick is portrayed by Samuel L. Jackson, adding to the diversity!  

Although Captain Marvel did face quite a bit of negativity from certain groups, overall the movie has overcome obstacles and is one of the best-selling Marvel movies to date! This is what happens when diversity and inclusiveness are taken into consideration for movies displayed on big screens worldwide. People want to see others like themselves throughout the entertainment industry more often. It is one thing to see a representation of your views on the big screen, but it is another to see your gender, race, ethnicity, sexuality, history, lifestyle and more actually come to life in a positive light. Movies like Black Panther, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse and Captain Marvel are paving a new road for Marvel as well as DC and other popular movie industries that are not only making important statements by the characters’ they choose to bring to life, but are changing the future of the film industry forever. I, for one, cannot wait to see what characters will be gracing movie screens in the near future as this is just the beginning of a new era of diversification in one of the most influential markets across the globe.