Captain Marvel’s arrival in the MCU has been long overdue. The much-anticipated flick, which flies into cinemas on March 8, sees a Marvel movie debut a female-led film in its franchise for the first time, and serve up the beginning of a power shift in its movie-verse.
It’s fitting, then, that Captain Marvel should share its release with International Women’s day. The annual date that celebrates the global achievements of women has already inspired plenty to act, but Captain Marvel’s presence on this date is hard to understate. Hannah Cowton, lifestyle blogger for The London Geek, believes that Captain Marvel’s impact can already been seen first-hand, and thinks that International Women’s Day helps to showcase this point.
“I think that it (International Women’s Day) is a great day to leverage all of our important work,” she said. “Already the film has proven to have it’s young female audience in mind with the recent GoFundMe campaign, so I’m excited to see where else it will go.”
The GoFundMe campaign, that Hannah alludes to, recently raised over $60,000 to give underprivileged girls in LA the opportunity to see Captain Marvel on the big screen. A similar gesture that saw children in Harlem given the chance to see 2018’s Black Panther, certainly, but one that can be just as influential in giving girls a strong, female role model to emulate.
Shreya Shah agrees. The 13-year-old Londoner feels that a female Marvel superhero film is proof that there’s no limitations to what women can achieve. For Shreya, however, the cultural message that Captain Marvel sends to boys and men is just as important.
“I’d like to think that all girls believe that they can grow up and be and do anything, and aren’t limited by anything,” Shreya said. “I’d love to be able to change the world tomorrow and have more equality in everything, but I know change will take time. Everything starts with awareness, so I will make sure we celebrate International Women’s Day, and make sure my friends who are boys celebrate too!”
Dr Shelley Cobb, Associate Professor of Film at Southampton University, also maintains that Captain Marvel’s social and cultural impact can help with gender disparity in the film industry. Using her global status, Captain Marvel star Brie Larson has called for greater representation of women, from those working in the film industry to journalists and critics, in a bid to promote equality throughout the film’s press tour. It’s a welcome boost that Dr Cobb believes can help usher in a sea change across the board.
“Films like this with several women behind screen can set a good example and, more importantly, give these women high-level experience that should get them more jobs,” she explained. “Many women will go see the film on that day as a way of celebrating women’s global progress, even if there is still so much more to do. It will still mean something possibly very special to a group of female friends, sisters, mother and daughter, mother and son, or father and daughter who go to see it together.”
The global reach of the MCU means that anyone – no matter their age, ethnicity, nationality, or sexual orientation – can be inspired by the themes that Captain Marvel explores. Barcelona-born Veronica Ramos Gonzalez, who plans to celebrate International Women’s Day with the most important woman in her life – her mother – believes that Captain Marvel’s universal appeal will help all women to feel confident in their own skin.
“We’re told from a very young age that there’s always going to be a man that’s going to save us,” she stated. “Well, not anymore. We may not have Carol’s powers, but we can be pilots and we can be funny and badass, and vulnerable and stoic. Being different is always a good thing, and I think Carol is going to show us girls and women exactly that.”
Veronica’s view is one that Sophie Kerlin can relate to. Whilst she’s disappointed that women still have to appoint a specific day to acknowledge their achievements, Sophie thinks that Captain Marvel can help to provide a platform for more female-led movies across all genres.
“We’re already seeing that films with female leads are outperforming others in the box office, with films celebrating female power and trying to normalise the sight of a female heroine such as Wonder Woman or the rebooted Tomb Raider,” she said. “Hopefully this will be the start of a new wave of female-led films that accurately represent the achievements of women across the world.”
Captain Marvel has plenty riding on it, not least because of the MCU’s male-oriented film franchise. Negative online comments, that led to score aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes to change its policy that allowed users to rate unreleased films, have also tried to undermine its release.
And yet, despite this, it’s not difficult to recognise the impact that Captain Marvel is having. The film’s influence is there to see and, as International Women’s Day looms into view, it can help to bridge the gap between genders that, one day, may not need to be bridged any longer.