“Captain Marvel” Defies Traditional Arc of Female-Led Stories

For years, many of the superhero movies that have been created have had men at the forefront. That has been changing in recent years with movies like Wonder Woman bringing female superheroes into leading the charge. However, Wonder Woman was from DC and now,  Marvel has finally caught up. Captain Marvel was teased at the end of Infinity War, and to see her character manifest in the form of Brie Larson is exciting. Captain Marvel also sets up the next Marvel film, Avengers: Endgame through its coda which Marvel uses to segway into the next film.

Set in the ‘90s, Captain Marvel gives its hero her proper origin story with twists and turns along the way. In its entirety, Captain Marvel isn’t like other superhero movies not just because it introduces a new superhero but because it has a strong female lead.

Often in movies that have a woman as the lead, one of the main storylines is romance. However, Captain Marvel doesn’t rely on that as one of its major themes. Captain Marvel is also known as Carol Danvers, and the movie does a great job of balancing her life as a superhero and an ordinary person. The relationships in the movie focus more on the friendships of Maria and Carol, as well as Fury and Carol.

Throughout the film, the audience sees the friendship of Maria and Carol be rebuilt, and the one with Fury being formed. Showing different kinds of friendships and connections is part of the film’s backbone, because the audience starts to root for the whole group. A film can have a romantic subplot but that sentiment is harder to cultivate. Using friendship allows everyone to be connected and helps the audience focus on the whole movie rather than just a romantic involvement.

Captain Marvel also addresses the concept of perspective, showing that there are two sides to every story. Carol starts out the film as Kree and her enemy is the Skrull. Her allegiance informs her perspective of who she trusts and who she doesn’t. However, the film questions that perspective and shows the audience that it is wrong to believe one side just because the character thinks they are doing the right thing. The Skrulls tell Carol and her new friends how they view the Kree and this makes Carol think about her role in this war. Carol doesn’t have the full picture at the start of the film because she doesn’t have all her memories nor does she know any Skrulls personally. This all changes over the course of the movie as true colors are revealed and missing pieces are filled in.

Movies are something that many families go out and see every day. People find a connection in these movies and it’s important that not all movies have the same narrative because that isn’t true of what happens in life. It won’t always be a man leading the charge; women are just as capable of taking leadership. Captain Marvel gives the audience another movie to show this in full effect. Carol Danvers is strong and independent, not exhibiting any characteristics of a damsel in distress. This movie allows young girls to have an example of a women who isn’t a side character and doesn’t have a major romance plot. What Captain Marvel celebrates is the friendship of two women as well as self-worth, catapulting Captain Marvel into the ranks of a truly unique movie. Breaking from the traditional arc of females in this genre.

There haven’t been nearly enough superhero movies with females leading the way. As the cinematic industry expands so does its stories. Having a man as the lead doesn’t further that along; it only stalls the progress. There are plenty of female superheroes without movies, giving way for a plenty of movies to be created. Superheroes are meant to show how the impossible can be possible. However, the younger generation won’t be able to see that if they don’t see themselves represented on screen.  As shown in the Super Bowl ad for Captain Marvel, we must be “Higher, further, faster.”

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