Marvel Comics has three as-yet-unannounced films scheduled for release in 2016 and 2017, following “Ant-Man” in 2015. One of these movies has to be female-led.
The time is absolutely right for a female hero to lead her own Marvel movie. The women of the Marvel Cinematic Universe have been strong from the get-go; “Iron Man” took Pepper Potts and turned her from Stark’s default love interest and assistant and into the modern definition of a career-driven and independent woman who just so happens to slowly fall in love with the lead dude — in a way that makes sense and does not sacrifice her own personality.
Pepper doesn’t give up any of her sense of self over the course of her four MCU appearances — she merely adds the role of girlfriend to her already incredible resume. By the end of “Iron Man 3,” she can even add super powered ass-kicker to the list. But Pepper’s brief flirtation with super-punching at the end of “Iron Man 3” highlights something that the MCU films have neglected despite getting so much right; despite putting Black Widow, Jane Foster, Sif, Peggy Carter and Maria Hill on the big screen, none of them pack the same amount of power as their male colleagues.
Sif is the only one of the bunch who has enhanced abilities, but even she’s no match for Thor — a man who adds a whole bunch of weather-manipulation crap on top of his super Asgardian strength. That’s not to diminish how important a role the MCU women have played up until now. Black Widow more than held her own with the Avengers, proving that you don’t have to eat radiation for breakfast to go toe-to-toe with an alien invasion.
Peggy Carter and Maria Hill showed that human women can hold their own — and take leadership positions — in large organizations. Even Jane Foster, the one character with no combat skills to speak of, has more going on in her life besides being in love with Thor. Her primary goal throughout “Thor” is protecting and furthering her research; she starts out a scientist and ends as a scientist.
Women got two — two –chances and people think Hollywood should call it quits. Will anyone call for the death of the male action film after “White House Down’s” less-than-stellar opening? No, they won’t. With “The Heat” a success in theaters and “X-Men” a success in comics, it’s time for Marvel to capitalize on this. It’s time for them to be the change that Joss Whedon wants to see in the filmmaking world. Whedon’s gone on record a number of times saying that getting more female heroes on the big screen is absolutely a priority of his. It has to be a priority of Marvel’s, too, because representation is vital.
It’s time for the “minority” that makes up half the population to see themselves punch planes like the Hulk, fly like Iron Man, inspire like Captain America, and brawl like Thor. Like a few others before me have pointed out, it’s time for Carol Danvers to get a movie. Marvel has been prepping Carol for the big leagues for the last year, promoting her from Ms. Marvel to Captain Marvel and giving her an ongoing series that’s changed the way fans interact with comics.
More so than any other female hero at Marvel, Carol Danvers has become Marvel’s leading lady. She needs a film. She’s a fascinating and rich character, easily as captivating as Tony Stark. Her powers are big and impressive. Between flight, her super strength and her energy blasts, she visually packs the same punch as all the heavy-hitting Avengers combined. She even carries the company’s name! Any argument about no one knowing who Captain Marvel is has to be rendered moot because everyone knows what Marvel is. Their first question will be, “Wait, you mean ‘Marvel’ as in ‘Marvel Comics’?” And then the answer is simple: “Yes.” Done! Sold! “Captain Marvel” has to be one of the three unannounced movies on Marvel’s slate. If it’s not, and if no other female-lead film has taken its place, then this can be considered nothing more than a colossal disappointment.
It’s always disappointing when people with the power to change the world postpone the inevitable. Because a female superhero film is going to happen again, and Marvel has the opportunity to make it happen now.
Brett White is a comedian living in New York City. He co-hosts the podcast Matt & Brett Love Comics and is a writer for the comedy podcast Left Handed Radio. His opinions can be consumed in bite-sized morsels on Twitter (@brettwhite).