What would an all-female Marvel film mean not just for fans, but Marvel itself? (Image Source: Sarah Maren Cosmetics)
By Michaela Coulter
Over the past decade, Marvel Studios has delivered iconic movies and become a cultural phenomenon worldwide.
The past 23 films have seen these beloved characters build relationships, eliminate threats and deal with obstacles outside of the life of crime.
These films are usually all male-dominated, with a female in the shadow often as the love interest or side kick, never overshadowing the man.
However, in the past year we have seen that change, with characters like Shuri, the head of science and information exchange in Wakanda, represented as intelligent and confident rather than a damsel in distress or a love interest.
In addition, Marvel also made history by giving us our first lead female hero movie Captain Marvel (this was Marvel’s most successful and controversial film).
Captain Marvel grossed over US $1 billion and was a positive representation for women and young girls.
With this in mind, should an all-female lead Marvel movie happen?
And if so, is it worth it?
From my experience, Marvel films in the past have attracted a large male audience, mainly because that’s who the films have been catered towards.
However, when I saw Captain Marvel, it was the first time it was a mostly female audience, really showing that having a positive female figure who is strong, confident and willing to stick up for herself and others will benefit a female audience.
It is scenes like when she is shown flashbacks of herself overcoming obstacles, being pushed or knocked down only to get up again which hit home for me.
The three times I saw it in cinema I burst into tears, having experienced similar situations where I was told I wasn’t good enough or I could never do it, only to bounce back, which is what we should be showing younger girls.
An all-female Marvel movie could expand this idea of self-worth, showing that the women of Marvel aren’t just superheroes, but strong, resilient women.
Each female has their own strengths and weaknesses with the Marvel universe, and putting them together would mean they would have more of a chance to show them off.
And while the idea of an all-female film may be popular among female fans has had some fans voice that it’s not needed because the scene in Endgame was cringeworthy, forced or ‘tried too hard’, reports are proving otherwise.
Following a report from Buzzfeed News, the scene in Avengers: Endgame when Okoye said “she’s got help” received the second loudest cheer from the audience during the film; first going to Captain America picking up Mjolnir.
The scene had an overall positive reception, and like others, when I first saw it, I cheered and fist pumped shamelessly in the cinema.
I thought it was awesome to see these iconic heroes help each other out.
It was something that would actually be seen in a comic book, and worked perfectly for a comic book-based movie.
However, there are likely aspects of an all-female marvel film that wouldn’t work.
To put it simple: sexism!
Let’s take Captain Marvel for example: A lot of people didn’t like Brie Larson, the actress who portrays Captain Marvel, because they believed she was annoying, or was ruining Marvel’s reputation.
However, it’s evident that this wasn’t true, and that certain audiences didn’t approve of Captain Marvel because she didn’t have the stereotypical love interest that narrated her journey and decisions, nor did she wear the revealing outfits most female heroines are shown to wear.
But why should female heroes have to be sexy and appeal to a male gaze?
Why can’t we have a representation of women who are strong, independent and resilient?
If Marvel were to open up the idea of an all-female cast, it would need to consider how to tell the story and how it can appeal to their predominant male audience in less sexist ways.
Captain Marvel was a success because it was a story of self-discovery, resilience and inner-strength.
I think they would need to carry that idea of resilience and inner-strength into a female Marvel film.
In addition, each female hero in such a film would have to have a chance to show their strength, especially someone like Hope Van Dynce (The Wasp).
Hope made her first appearance in Ant-Man, returning as ‘The Wasp’ in Ant-Man and the Wasp.
What I love about Hope is that she is smart, resilient and works well with Ant-Man.
When the first poster was released, Wasp was in the front, showing that both characters would be sharing the spotlight.
It was the first time a female who was sharing the spotlight with a man was in frame and not doing the what I call the “boob and butt pose”.
She had a strong stance and I loved it – it genuinely was a great representation.
I think if Marvel presented to young females and women a story with these iconic characters, the film would not only impact the audience in a positive and inspiring way, but would widen the female audience coming to see the films.
Following the success of Captain Marvel and Avengers: Endgame, especially the first time we saw these female heroes together, it has the potential to do well.
It is a great chance for Marvel to expand the story of female heroes and really show off their power and story.
And with Scarlett Johansson, known for her role as Black Widow, revealing in Variety that she, along with other Marvel actresses Tessa Thompson and Brie Larson, are pushing for an all-female Marvel film, there’s a likely chance it will be produced; much to the excitement of myself and other female Marvel fans around the world.