Marvel has been dominating the superhero market with its recent release of star vehicle films.
It started with Black Panther in February, and now with the recent release of Avengers: Infinity War (Part 1), Marvel is rounding out their big machine with Deadpool 2, Ant-Man & The Wasp, Venom, and the very exciting and long awaitedCaptain Marvel. All these films releasing back to back seems to spring about what has been known as “superhero fatigue”.
I know personally I wanted to hold off seeing Avengers: Infinity War due to not wanting to experience super hero motion sickness. However, after seeing the movie (3 times opening weekend), I enjoyed the film much more than I thought—but it was due to the way in which Marvel has been switching up their style.
Marvel has always done a great job of extending their films to be made by different directors, allowing the studios more opportunity for a diverse look. However, at the dawn of the MCU, the story, characters, and visuals being played out on screen seemed to follow the same cycle. . In my opinion, Marvel began to completely redefine their look and stance with Thor: Raganorak. The feel, tone, visuals, and the writing of the film is completely different than anything Marvel had produced before then—so much so, that the film was a point of controversy from some die hard MCU fans.
Then you have Black Panther, whose behind the scene crew—and most importantly, cast— was also vastly different than anything in MCU history. These films have been lauded as refreshing, “something new”, and dynamic.
But in my opinion, the cause of all this is due to mainly who? The characters. The character development in recent Marvel films is something we fans have been craving. It makes you feel like you haven’t seen this same story regurgitated a million times, and this is partly due to how each Marvel story centers on the characters to develop the film. In Avengers: Infinity War’s case, they subverted the norm and used the women to bear the brunt of the sacrifices, if not more, than male counterparts.
We can start with the first female superhero, Wanda (AKA Scarlet Witch) who is immediately thrown into conflict. She is clearly in love with Vision, and wants to stay in their peaceful bliss—but when called to duty she will return to the Avengers, no matter how heavy a heart.
When Vision, is hurt Wanda handles most of the fighting in this action scene—while also attempting to heal Vision. Until Captain America and his team comes into save the day, its up to Wanda to get them out of this situation, and I believe she had the guts and power to do it.
Audiences may take this for granted, but this rarely happens in a superhero film. Unless the superhero film is specifically about a woman, the fight scenes tend to be specifically catered on the male character. In the specific moment, Wanda became the sole carrier of protecting Vision’s stone, and ensuring it did not get into the hands of Thanos.
As we learn in the film, she is the only one powerful enough to destroy the stone—which also lets the audience know just how powerful she really is. The fate of the entire world—nay, the universe—in one woman’s hand? Astounding.
What’s even more interesting from an audience point of view is seeing how she grapples and comes to term with it, and the responsibility. Wanda wants to deny this task, and once more refuses her power when she knows it will mean the end of Vision. However, when the time comes to do the inevitable, Wanda, once again being loyal to duty, tearfully destroys Vision. And, just like during the Scotland fight scene, she also has to fend off Thanos as he decimated the Avengers gang—until Thor throws his axe.
This is one of the reasons why this film is so dynamically different than what we’ve seen in the MCU. Similar to how they have established that Shuri is the smartest person in the MCU ,they have established that Wanda is one of the most powerful—and potentially destructive— superheroes. Although we’ve seen her in Age of Ultron and Civil War, I believe this specific film is where we see that come into full play. Despite this power, Wanda was in fact not the only female to seriously foil Thanos’s plans.
We cut to Gamora, which the film also places a heavy burden on. After receiving word from Thor about Thanos, Gamora immediately know what she must do—and further more, knows that she will have to die. When they confront Thanos, she is the one who kills him (well…), and when captured she immediately prepares herself to be killed by Peter.
When she realizes it is between her life, and Thanos getting the soul stone she attempts to end her own life in a sacrifice. Once again we see Gamora deal with the weight of her decisions, knowing she has the power to keep Thanos from the soul stone. The difference between Gamora and Wanda is that Gamora is Thanos’s emotional connection.
Thanos is put in the position of the female superheroes through killing Gamora. That is an extremely powerful statement coming from films that are predominantly male driven. In addition, very rarely do films put a male in the point of view of a woman’s lens. By Thanos’s sacrifice—or murder—of Gamora. he understands what it feels to sacrifice and lose what Wanda has lost, through his mourning of Gamora.
On the flip side, Marvel also let their villain equal to Thanos be a woman. While all of Thanos’s children were tasked with gaining the stones, Norma Midnight leads most of the charge against the other Avengers, and also leads the war on Wakanda. When she attacks Wanda, she has a throw down with Okoye and Black Widow (another kick ass scene!).
Lets not forget Mantis: while she is a B character, she alone possesses the power to subdue Thanos—however briefly—and put him to sleep. While Nebula—another strong female character—also charges through on a mission to kill Thanos. And lastly, as shown to us by the cut scene, audiences know that Captain Marvel is ultimately going to be the one to help save the day!
The point to make here is that Marvel–and the Russo Brothers—really let the females shine through in this film. The full extent of each woman’s power came through; their arcs were each fully developed, and each really carried their own throughout most of the film.
Again, people may take this for granted—but Marvel could have centered the film on Iron Man, Captain America, and Thor. All of the heroes come to help, and yes, Thor is the one to ultimately stop Thanos, but between Gamora and Wanda they all have a hand in holding Thanos off. This is exciting and riveting because we see that the females can carry the brunt of everything just as much as the males. Although they may not have conquered Thanos yet… these women conquered the screen.