Why the 'Endgame' Girl Power Moment Fails
The Lack of Strong Female Characters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe
SPOILERS for Avengers: Endgame
So, Endgame is out now and it's pretty good. I liked it. But the one thing that bothered me is that girl power moment.
You know what I'm talking about; Spider-Man is down and the team needs to get the Infinity Gauntlet back to Scott's van, so all the girl characters are like "we'll take it from here." And we get this long sweeping shot of the girl characters in the movie. Now, this moment doesn't work for me, and not because I'm a sexist, or because I'm against these characters having a moment, but because these characters kinda suck.
Let's break them down: Captain Marvel, Valkyrie, Scarlett Witch, The Wasp, Mantis, Gamora, Nebula, Pepper Potts, Shuri, and Okoye. And if I forgot anyone, let me know, because most of these characters are pretty forgettable.
Let's start with the big gun: Captain Marvel. Carol Danvers is too powerful, has no personality, and no motivation to do anything. They spent a whole movie introducing her character and forgot to give her any personality. She has no character flaws and everything comes easy to her so she's this boring Rey-Superman hybrid. At least Superman has character motivation, that his adopted parents raised him to be a good person and always help those in need. What's Carol's motivation again? That her black lesbian friend said she used to fly planes or something? Not good enough. Even the Russos were like, "Fuck it, we don't have time to fix her character, send her to space."
The Wasp. Did anyone see Ant-Man and The Wasp? Well you didn't miss much. Hope van Dyne is a boring-ass character because she has no flaws. Scott is interesting because he is initially really bad at being Ant-Man, and he has to learn to improve and get better. But Hope is good at all that shrinking shit from the get go. She has a mom, but whatever, who cares.
Scarlett Witch is pretty good, I guess. I think the only real problem with her is that she doesn't get quite enough development as she should. Her and Vision get together off screen between movies. So when he dies in Infinity War it doesn't have the impact that it should, and because of that, her appearance in Endgame is also kinda lacking.
Shuri and Okoye. I've lumped these two together because I basically feel the same way about both of them. They're fun characters and other than Michael B. Jordan, probably the best parts of Black Panther, but here they are treated like side characters and don't really get much to do.
Mantis is fine, but not much of a fighter, so her inclusion here is weird.
Pepper is a great supporting character, but not a superhero. Yeah she wore a suit for five seconds in Iron Man Three, but who cares.
Gamora is really cool and well developed. But the problem here is this isn't our Gamora. This is a Gamora from an alternate timeline, so all of that character development we saw in the Guardians movies, out the window.
Nebula is a well developed character with flaws, and a personality, but in this scene she's pushed to the background and I didn't even notice she was there my first watch through. So again, kind of a waist.
Lastly we have Valkyrie, who is great. She is powerful and badass, but also flawed as she is an alcoholic, and has a cool backstory as a failed noble warrior. So that's one.
But other than Valkyrie, Scarlett Witch, and Nebula, this scene is severely lacking in well developed characters, and so the whole thing kind of falls flat. Really Marvel? This is the best you can do?
Side-note: Other strong female characters from the MCU absent from this scene:
- Black Widow, who is great but died earlier in the movie. Oops.
- Jessica Jones, Misty Knight, and Colleen Wing, from the Netflix series. But those shows basically take place in their own universe so another no-show.
- Agent Peggy Carter, who is fantastic but at this point, too old and too dead.
- Sharon Carter/Agent 13, who is fine I guess, but there is not enough time spent developing her, and in this movie they just forgot about her altogether.
- The cast of Agents of SHIELD. Seriously, all the female characters in the show are great, with dynamic personalities, flaws, and interesting backstories. Any one of them would be great to see.
- And Lady Siff, who admittedly needs fleshing out, but also it's kinda weird that she just stopped existing after Thor 2.
My point is, after 11 years and 22 movies, Marvel Studios has only made one movie with a female lead. And it's the worst one. We still don't have a Black Widow movie and now she's dead. So Marvel is really gonna have to step their game up if they actually want to focus on some of these characters. Because so far, aside from their TV shows, Marvel has kind of shit the bed with their female characters.