Anyone can wear spandex: The expanding Marvel Universe and Superheroes of the female persuasion

In Axby’s first ever Lazy Sunday List, Charlie lists his top five female candidates to join the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Spoilers for Marvel’s Phase 2 from here on in, you’ve been warned.

By Charlie H.

Enforcing justice, saving civilians and generally kicking evil’s ass has been showcased in many forms in the marvel cinematic universe. The citizens of earth are protected by those donning high tech armour, wielding magical hammers and even simple medieval weaponry. With its variety of characters and story styles Marvel studios has created a truly engaging cinematic universe. However, in the name of variety, one must ask ‘where are all of the female superheroes?’

The marvel cinematic universe has really progressed with stage two, exhibiting some of the best movies in the franchise yet. ‘Ironman 3’ had the feel of a full-circle fulfilling end whilst leaving enough loose ends for interesting progression. ‘Thor: The Dark World’ gave us more Asgard, more ‘magic’ (In Midgard we call it science) and more Loki. ‘Captain America: the Winter Soldier’, possibly the best of the three, had the chops of a political thriller with plenty of ‘feels’ thanks to Cap’s returning best buddy turned Nazi robot Bucky Barns. All along it maintained its identity as a superhero movie; them explosions probably did it. However, disappointingly this stage did not progress much in the representation of female characters.

Whilst Pepper pots kicked some ass at the end of ‘Ironman 3’,’ Thor’s mother fought to her tragic death and Black widow continued doing her trademark secret agent flip-de-doos, none of them felt like characters in their own right. Even lady Sif, who was shown to be utterly and entirely awesome in episode ‘Yes Man’ of ‘Marvels:Agents of Shield’, exists in ‘Thor 2’ only to pine over her lost love.

Including more significant female roles is necessary for two reasons. The most obvious reason is representation of sexes. And it doesn’t hurt that there’s a veritable buttload of amazing female heroes whose powers and stories are awesome!

So who would be interesting to see? Who would fit best into the universe as it expands?

She-Hulk (Jennifer Walters)She Hulk

Now bear with me. Some find this hero a little tacked on to the Hulk’s story, If not just plain tacky.

She-Hulk originates as Bruce banners cousin, who after sustaining a mortal wound requires a blood transfusion to survive. Now even if you haven’t read the comics you miiight be able to guess what would happen if the Hulk gave somebody his gamma irradiated blood.

So Jenny recovers newly imbued with super hulk-like (not hulk equivalent because c’mon) strength and green skin (cuz science). Best part, she’s doesn’t have to ‘hulk-out’ to use her powers. She ain’t all ‘hulk smash’ and ‘GRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH’. I for one would like to see some sensibly directed super strength, thank you.

Take it a step further and you’ve got a standalone She-Hulk movie. ‘Oh no the Hulk is smashing again! Who can we get who is also big green and strong and will be emotionally conflicted enough to make the movie interesting?!’. (No, not you Shrek.)

Spiderwoman (Jessica Drew)
SpiderwomanThis has only been a relatively recent development in the comic universe, but Spiderwoman has been part of some huge story lines for the Avengers.

Though there are many different Spiderwomen, Jessica Drew originates as a super-agent of Hydra, later turning to Shield after a failed attempt to kill Nick Fury. She often displays a dry, ‘let’s get business done’ attitude which would be fun to see in the current character mix.

Ms. Marvel (Carol Danvers)Ms Marvel

With the dimensions of the cinematic universe ever expanding, (hey there talking raccoons) we are sure to see threats to earth reaching galactic proportions. For this I’m afraid some heroes will just not make the cut. It’s not that you don’t have the soul Tony, it’s just your suit can only do so much.

Ms. Marvel is marvel’s Superman, but with more powers. If future Marvel story lines point to the inclusion of the Skrull, this hero is what we need.

Mockingbird (Barbara Morse)Mockingbird

Non-super heroes have been well received when portrayed on the big screen. Black Widow and Hawkeye kick ass in spite of being cape-less and Mockingbird comes along with the same charm. Also, as the wife, and subsequent ex-wife, of Clint Barton (Hawkeye), the inclusion of Mockingbird in later films could be helpful for fleshing out both of their characters.

Also, for those who aren’t a fan of the regular human Avengers, in the comics, after suffering a near fatal wound, Mockingbird is injected with a some science which is a mix of the super soldier serum (Captain America) and the Infinity formula (Nick Fury) to keep her alive (and give her super strength and whatever).

Side note: Mockingbird fights with two batons which can be formed into a bo staff! Bo staffs are cool!

Elastigirl (Helen Parr)Elastigirl
Totally kidding, but can you imagine?

It’s clear that Marvel is not without options for expanding its hero universe; the female superhero movie has been tried, but not very well tested. Sure we’ve had Electra and Catwoman, which only proves that crappy scripts or direction can be attached to big project names. Need we mention that there’s a plethora of male hero flicks that have been disappointing? Daredevil, Hulk, Ghostrider and, somehow, Ghostrider 2.

Female superheroes haven’t had much of a chance, partly because the right franchises haven’t been chosen. But with Scarlet Witch partaking in the Avengers 2, it’s hopeful that we will see more developed female roles. Also, with the confirmation of a stand-alone Black Widow movie we’ll finally be able to see more depth to a character that has up to this point been (as suits her role) an enigma.

So what do you think? Agree with my list? Did I miss our some of your favourite super heroines?

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One thought on “Anyone can wear spandex: The expanding Marvel Universe and Superheroes of the female persuasion”

  1. She-Hulk would be cool. Spider-Woman would be great.

    Carol Danvers absolutely deserves a movie (as Captain Marvel, though, not Ms.) She’s got the classic superpower set – strength, flight, invulnerability, even energy blasts – and the MCU needs a woman who can stand toe-to-toe with the other heroes.

    I’d like Bobbi to show up in Agents of SHIELD. But if she does show up, I want her to have nothing to do with Hawkeye. She’s too cool a character to be tied down as “Hawkeye’s ex,” which is the situation she’s been in since she died.

    Another interesting choice would be Monica Rambeau. A woman of colour – not yet seen in the movies – with a really interesting power set.

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