Friday, March 8, 2019, was International Women’s Day. Every year, this event offers celebrations focusing on women’s rights and achievements in a variety of countries. This year, one way Americans celebrated their reverence for women was with a new film release featuring an awe-inspiring female superhero, Captain Marvel.
Famous film critic Leonard Maltin feels that the Marvel Studios release of Captain Marvel may finally demonstrate that Hollywood filmmakers are beginning to understand how timing can help draw people to movies, while also supporting important societal themes, like female empowerment, according to TMZ. Maltin especially likes how actress Brie Larson, who portrays Carol Danvers in Captain Marvel, portrays an inspiring example of what women can achieve while also reminding both genders that we all have some version of a superhero inside of us. Like the dramatic impact Wonder Woman achieved worldwide two years ago, Maltin sees Captain Marvel similarly impacting the globe.
Marvel Studios has a longstanding reputation for creating captivating superhero films for over 10 years. However, throughout that decade, all leading superhero characters have been male. Captain Marvel is the first Marvel film that both depicts a female superhero and uses her name in the title. So, understandably, there is some pressure on Captain Marvel to perform well and grab audiences with its story of female heroism, according to Yahoo News.
Also, Brie Larson’s depiction of the leading character comes with its own set of audience expectations that differ vastly from what the typical male superhero title role would hold. The audience expects to see Larson’s portrayal of Carol Danvers as a progressive, empowering superhero that reminds us of the modern-day woman. By releasing the movie on International Women’s Day, Marvel seems to be promising that we’ll see plenty of female pride and power in Larson’s superhero.
The film does cover plenty of stereotypical female issues for Carol Danvers, and many of her struggles, based on her sex, are very real and relatable for today’s women. For instance, the audience learns that Danvers wanted to be treated just the same as her brothers when she was younger, but she was often set aside as the girl, according to Yahoo News. However, that type of treatment does not prevent Danvers from later becoming a Starforce warrior and an imposing fighter that is loyal to the Kree cause.
Like many women before her, Danvers is treated with both sexism and stereotypes in the movie. As a Starforce warrior, she feels the sexism profoundly, but sexist treatment also appears in Danvers’ personal life. However, Danvers emerges as a woman who works hard to disprove the sexist treatment she experiences, and she finds motivation in proving people wrong. That makes her relatable to the modern woman, as well since many of them have also found inspiration in breaking out of the norm.