Captain Marvel: A female first for Marvel franchise

Janae Jarnagin, Staff Reporter

Marvel has released 20 films since the release of 2008’s Iron Man marked the beginning of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). Since then, Marvel has perfected the superhero game; however Marvel’s 21st movie, Captain Marvel, breaks many of the superhero molds Marvel fans have grown accustomed to, specifically the place of women in Marvel. As the number of female led movies continues to grow, action movies such as Wonder Woman have received mass success, both with critics and at the box office. With the Marvel franchise containing multiple female superheroes, fans began to ask when a female character would lead in a film. Marvel answered that question with Vers, also known as Captain Marvel.

Released March 6th, Captain Marvel centers on Vers, an alien Kree soldier battling in a war against a group of Skrull insurgents. When an interaction with the Skrulls sends Vers to earth she teams up with Marvel veteran character Nick Fury to defeat the insurgency; however, as more information is revealed about Vers’ history on Earth, she begins to question the Kree empire she has sworn allegiance to and the truths they may be keeping from her. The most inspiring pieces of Captain Marvel’s story come from her perseverance through adversity. Vers does not know who to trust throughout the movie and at one point is betrayed by someone she considered a friend. This friend also had a position of authority over Vers, meaning she was lied to by a roe model she had looked up to. As she battles with her previous leader, he calls her weak, worthless, and refers to her as only human. The scene then cuts to a montage of moments from Vers life, when she was knocked down by assorted challenges but continued to get back up. Despite the physical and emotional pain she feels at the hands of someone she once trusted Vers continues to fight and defeats him. For many high school girls, and for many young women in general the feeling of helplessness is a prevailing emotion. Women are often betrayed by people they trust and are expected to suffer in silence. Captain Marvel is a role model for young women to overcome the pain they have suffered at the hands of others and make a difference for others.

Vers was first introduced to the comics in 1968 as a love interest for the original male Captain Marvel; as time went on the compelling story of Vers made her a more suitable character for the title Captain Marvel. Captain Marvel’s fifty year evolution as a character reflects the evolution of the cultural role of women in the United States. The group of women responsible for creating Captain Marvel include author Kelly Martin, currently responsible for writing the Captain Marvel comics; Anna Boden, lead director on the film; and Brie Larson, a Golden Globe and Academy Award winner current playing Captain Marvel. The women behind Captain Marvel commented on what makes the character special during an interview with the New York Times, Larson said she believes that what sets Vers (Captain Marvel) apart from other superheroes is her strength. While other superhero characters tend to begin at a weak point and grow into their roles, Vers begins her origin story as a soldier and warrior who has already worked to become strong. The group believes that this quality makes Captain Marvel an important role model for women. Boden, the first female lead director in the MCU, said “As she gets to know herself and embrace what makes her her, she really achieves her true power. Part of that means rejecting the voices of people who tell her she’s not strong enough and doesn’t belong. I feel like a lot of people will be able to relate to that, particularly women.” Boden, Martin, and Larson’s efforts paid off at the box office. Joining the prestigious list of thirty two movies that grossed over $1 billion at the box office. Only two women, including Boden, have made the list, and the first one was an animated story making Captain Marvel the first live action movie directed by a woman to gross over a billion dollars at the box office.

Captain Marvel represents a new era of female led superhero films for Marvel, with a Black Widow origin story led by a female director set to be released at an undetermined date. Captain Marvel will join Black Widow in the upcoming Avengers: Endgame, set to be released April 26. Endgame will continue where Infinity War ended, with half of the universe’s population missing and presumed dead after Thanos collects all time stones. Endgame will center around the surviving characters of Infinity War working to reverse the actions of Thanos and restore the Universe’s population.