Marvel Is More Committed To Movies About Cishet White Guys Than We Ever Imagined

From Avengers World, the current comic book featuring the main Avengers lineup. Look, women and PoC!

From Avengers World, the current comic book featuring the main Avengers lineup. Look, women and PoC!

I am getting beyond tired of your shit, Marvel Cinematic Universe. First you gave us the Ant-Man movie news that the story would focus on Scott Lang. This meant that it would not be about Hank Pym, the original Ant-Man, which meant his wife Janet van Dyne, the Wasp, would also not be in it. Then you gave us the news that it would feature Pym after all, but as an older, retired hero. This means that if Janet is in it, she will either also be old and not a hero, or they will change her character significantly. (This is probably a way to conveniently sidestep the fact that Pym tends to be a mentally unstable, abusive asshole, making Janet more of the hero in their stories anyway. God forbid we see a discussion of mental disorders and abuse or a female hero showing up her male companion on screen.) Either way, one of the founding members of the Avengers will probably not be getting her due. Then last week we heard that a director hunt was on for Captain America 3. Right on the heels of that news, writers were announced for Thor 3.

Look, I love Cap and Thor (and Loki) as much as the next person, but this is some hot bullshit. Right now, the future of Marvel’s superheroes on the big screen appears to look something like this, ad nauseum forever:

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My Avengers fleece blanket, as modeled by my bed.

We can’t keep shitting on DC for not making a Wonder Woman standalone when the MCU doesn’t really have a leg to stand on either. First of all, it turns out that Gal Gadot is apparently contracted for three films, including a Wonder Woman one. Whether they’ll make it is up in the air, but it is a step in the right direction. Secondly, Marvel is actually more accountable here, because they have so much money from their films that they don’t have the (utterly bullshit) excuse that female-led action films are a financial drain. Hell, they could make a movie about a talking space raccoon and people would hurl money at it.

Oh wait. They're doing that.

Oh wait. They are doing that.

But God forbid they announce a film about a superheroine who punches things in space, or the King of a fictional African nation, or a team of diverse teen superheroes trying to make it, or that goddamn Black Widow standalone that we’ve been clamoring for since Iron Man 2 hit theaters. Yes, they do get some props for their announced Netflix series featuring Luke Cage and Jessica Jones, and the Peggy Carter TV show that has apparently been greenlit. Melinda May, Raina, and Skye from Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. are our first MCU characters with Asian heritage (yep, Skye’s half Chinese—they haven’t engaged with it in-show yet but I’m banking on May turning out to be her mom). But a TV show is not a movie. The movies are the backbone of the Marvel Cinematic Universe—and it says something that that backbone is entirely built on straight white men.

The thing that frustrates me the most is that Marvel Comics seems to have been making a genuine effort toward diverse representation lately. There’s that all-female X-team, the Young Avengers, the Mighty Avengers, the Fearless Defenders, Ms. Marvel and Captain Marvel, and even the new Loki-focused book. Even the flagship Avengers title features a diverse team of men and women from all over the world. Marvel’s comics seem to be moving in the right direction and starting to portray the world like it really is: made up of all sorts. Meanwhile, their movie arm, which will easily reach more people in one theatrical run than most comic books will in their lifetime, keeps regurgitating the same old heroes doing their same old cishet white guy song and dance.

This isn’t the first time I’ve complained about this, and given that even Marvel execs are telling us we should be happy with the female characters we’re given, it’s likely it won’t be the last. Is it good that we have a crew of (all white) ladies doing a variety of cool things in the Cap, Iron Man, and Thor franchises? Yes. But that should be a given. It’s a damn tragedy that we have to dispense brownie points to production companies for portraying women as human beings. Black Widow is gonna be badass in The Winter Soldier? First of all, she damn well better be—that’s not something that should be up for debate. But more importantly, until she or another hero that isn’t a white guy gets a movie with their name in the title, it’s clear what sort of heroes Marvel considers the most worthy.

2 thoughts on “Marvel Is More Committed To Movies About Cishet White Guys Than We Ever Imagined

  1. There’s talk of a Captain Marvel movie. Hope we get it, Carol needs a movie. A black Widow one could happen anytime, considering it would probably be a prequel focusing on her joining Shield.

  2. Pingback: It’s Really Happening: A Peggy Carter Series Is Coming to Your TV | Lady Geek Girl and Friends

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