Comic Book Heroes in Film: The Age of Goddesses

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Above: Captain Marvel, played by Brie Larson. Below: Wonder Woman, played by Gal Gadot.

By Robert Salas

With the dawn of the “grab them by the pussy” comment, made by a certain world leader, comes the age of the Goddess. Women around the world are enraged and empowered by the contemporary sexist rhetoric that plagues society. And it could not be more beautiful.

Throughout history women have been subject to the tyranny of the ideals of the patriarchy. It’s not until very recently in history that women have openly demanded to have rights and to be respected as equals to men. That fight is still happening today and Hollywood is embracing the images of powerful females in, what some would call, the contemporary mythology of super heroes. This concept, simply put, is the idea that people idolize the fictional  superhuman characters that populate the silver screen.

“People want to believe that having power beyond our humanness just might be attainable. . .”

Don’t believe this? Just look around. Everywhere you look people are wearing Superman tee’s, raving about the Avengers and some are even getting tattoos of these modern gods! People want to believe that having power beyond our humanness just might be attainable and, seeing this brought to life in almost every blockbuster film released since the original Avengers film, reinforces that hope. Lets be clear, idolizing isn’t the same as worshiping and to equate comic book heroes with religious ethos is not the point here.

Androcentrism has dominated the comic book movie industry (and pretty much the movie industry in general). Especially in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. But at long last, the MCU is finally taking steps to bring a stronger female presence to the big screen. Last week, the MCU released the first official trailer for Captain Marvel, its flagship female-led blockbuster. But first, lets look at a crucial feat in female-based super hero cinema.

The OG Superheroine: Wonder Woman!

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Wonder Woman, played by Gal Gadot, made her first appearance in Zack Snyder’s Batman v Superman.

It’s the DC Extended Universe that paved the way for female-led blockbusters in comic movies. Wonder Woman, released in 2017, proved to be the highest grossing DCEU film yet, totaling at just over $4 billion. This movie did not have a deep plot nor did it have stellar acting. It’s the message behind the film that bore success. In order to be successful and for the film to mean something for women’s rights everywhere, a female director was needed. Patty Jenkins delivered a beautifully-shot rendition of Diana Prince’s origin story.

“Women can be more than a sexy side character for male leads to save.”

Since its release, Wonder Woman has become a beacon of hope for people all around the world. Yes, the original Wonder Woman comic book, created by William Moulton Marston in the early 1940’s, did push propaganda and political messages for that era. But for millennials that are coming of age, Wonder Woman (2017) is an important film. It spreads the powerful message that women can be more than a sexy side character for male leads to save. They can be the smartest, strongest and most compassionate characters. The can be the hero, and don’t necessarily need a man, unless he is her sidekick in the case of Steve Trevor played by Chris Pine.

She’s Arrived and She’s Ultra-Powerful

The MCU hasn’t shied away from incorporating powerful-female characters in their movies like, Black Widow, Scarlet Witch and Pepper Pots. However, these characters seem to always take a backseat to the male characters: Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, The Incredible Hulk, Black Panther, Spider-Man and the Winter Soldier. 

“Captain Marvel presses past the ideals of a big-headed, arrogant and all-powerful being.”

Carol Danvers aka Captain Marvel encompasses goddess-like powers unlike any other MCU characters. Yes, Thor is a God but Captain Marvel presses past the ideals of a big-headed, arrogant and all-powerful being. She is another strong woman that has overcome adversities and transformed herself into a symbol of equality.

Captain Marvel, played by Brie Larson is the MCU’s first attempt at launching a big-budget, female-led film and, the hype is real. The MCU has a proven history for dominating the comic book based film industry. With the more recent MCU films like, Thor Ragnorak, Black Panther and Avengers: Infinity War breaking the boundaries of comedy, racial tension and large ensemble casting, people are raving about the inaugural female-empowered Captain Marvel.

It is important to our society, worldwide, to embrace the ideals of strong, powerful women that have the capacity to lead even, if the first steps are on the big screen.

 

 

 

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