This past weekend, Capt Marvel was released in theaters. It is the 20th installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the first to have the lead role be a woman. And despite some controversy before it was even released in theaters, there was something else in the air that made the newest superhero movie in the collection different.
In case you are not familiar with Marvel Comics or their movies. The movies are loosely based on comics that were written as far back as 1939 spotlighting characters like Spider-Man, Iron Man, Captain America and more. And you might be led to believe that female superheroes were never shown on the big screen because they didn’t exist in the comics, but even in the comics female superheroes have been a driving force. And female superheros like Black Widow and Scarlet Witch have already been introduced into Marvels movies, but never as the led character.
All the anticipation and build up for this movie led me to be both excited and yet terrified.
What if it wasn’t good? What would it be like to see a female in a lead role? Would Marvel be able to capture the challenges women face in a way that related to me?
When I think about it, I realize I was worried a female superhero would come off as unrelatable and more like a man than a woman. While I truly enjoyed Wonder Woman. Wonder Woman was the first DC Comic to feature a woman in the lead role. And while I thought it was an excellent movie, I couldn’t relate to a warrior who had grown up in a culture so different than how I was raised. She didn’t act the way a typical woman would act. Because she didn’t understand the culture of a world where men and women lived together.
But an Air Force pilot and American girl, that hits a lot closer to home.
While I wasn’t an Air Force pilot, I did serve in the Air Force for six years. And I distinctly remember the numerous times I would show up, people would wonder why I was there and be utterly surprised when I did whatever they didn’t think I was capable of.
To my delight, not only was Capt Marvel a great movie, it was a movie that embodied how women feel and the challenges they have to overcome. I was moved to tears at different points of the movie. Because I knew what it meant to fall and have to stand up over and over again. I knew what it was like to have to overcome the stereotypes. And the limitations the military sometimes has put on women.
One review I read talked about how Vers is continually told to control her emotions. And the reviewer who was a male didn’t understand why. She didn’t seem emotional. But as a female, the line didn’t even stand out as odd. In the military, I was continually told to control my emotions. I was told not to whine even when I was just trying to point out something. Once while sitting on a court-martial the defendant was moved to tears and one of my fellow jurors turned to look and see how I would react. He told me he expected me to cry too. Experiences like mine are woven into the theme of the movie.
Key to Capt Marvel
Capt Marvel isn’t a woman because of her tight outfit and anatomy, but because of the real-life struggles she faced. The reason the movie was so powerful was more than that a woman is on the screen. It is that women were instrumental in writing, producing, composing, and directing it. In sharing our stories and our experience. And it is powerful to see.
Have you seen Capt Marvel yet? What were your thoughts and biggest take away?