Phase Four of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) has had in my opinion the most women and people of color representation. This does not mean that they are doing it perfectly. Since the pandemic started, most television and movie productions have been halted. The Marvel Cinematic Universe was not excluded from this. This halt came after the hit movie “Avengers: Endgame”, leaving fans at a stand still with MCU content. As the years progressed, they were able to film and make multiple movies and series. They worked extremely hard to produce multiple forms of content. Fans expected movies but they were hit with this new form of cinema and television mix. Marvel and Disney partnered together to create multiple series on the streaming service Disney+. The shows on Disney+ were basically the backbone of creating Phase Four. Marvel still released movies along with these new series additions.
In the MCU, Black Widow is a character that we have had since the very beginning of the MCU. We have seen Black Widow grow from Russian superspy to the literal savior of the universe. Though this was not the doing of the Marvel creators, Scarlett Johansson and fans alike have been pushing for Black Widow to be seen as more than a sexy super spy. This growth was finally seen when our beloved Black Widow sacrificed her life in order to save half of the universe. Marvel definitely heard us and gave us the most badass girl superhero but at a tremendous cost. I think that the Black Widow movie came at a very late time because they gave it to her after her death.For example Captain America and Iron America had already gotten multiple movies made. I feel as if she deserved more because she was made to be the ultimate sacrifice. Marvel has had troubles in the past with treating their female characters with respect and seeing them as equal to their male co-stars.
Continuing with “Eternals”, in the trailers we were led to believe that Ikarus was going to be the leader of this hero group. As the movie progresses we see that Ikarus slowly loses himself and Sersi, played by Emma Chan, becomes the ultimate leader and savior. Fans had mixed opinions, some loved having a strong Asian-American female lead, while others blamed Marvel for destroying a strong male lead and making him weaker than his female co lead. This led to critics calling Marvel “woke”. Partially because along with Sersi being the lead, Phastos played by Brian Tyree Henry, was a gay black man with a human family. I remember not paying much attention to it because it did not bother me. It was normal, Marvel has had many gueer characters before like Loki, and Valkyrie. Another “Eternals” character I felt was poorly represented was Ajaxs, played by Salma Hayek. She was the first Hispanic superhero I saw in this big of a movie. She was not a side character, or a comedic relief, she was a superhero with a wicked suit. She was killed about halfway into the movie, but my queen was still amazing and I am proud of her for that.
The movie “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” to me, felt similar to “Black Panther” where Marvel showcased a beautiful and powerful culture. It celebrated being both Asian and American and had a beautiful blend of American and Asian characters. I felt that it was done right by casting Simu Liu as Shang-Chi, because he represented and celebrated along with his community. But not everyone can be pleased, in the movie the Ten Rings organization was left to Shang-Chi’s sister, Xailing. Some fans did not like that such a powerful, government toppling organization was left to her.
To segway from movies to series, Wanda is in my opinion the most powerful character in the MCU. Wanda has been despised since “Endgame,” where fans considered her in the running for “strongest avenger,” a fan made ranking for the Avengers. After the series “WandaVision” aired, we were made aware that Wanda had an entire town mind controlled in a made up reality she created. This lit a fire that could not be put out. Fans called Wanda reckless and a villain. In “Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness”, The Scarlet Witch abuses her power to walk into other dimensions. Many fans called her a villain, which yes, she could be seen as that. But at the end she realizes her choices are wrong and fixes her mistakes. She even spoke a line in the movie about how when Doctor Strange breaks the rule he’s a hero but when she does it she is deemed a villain. In the same movie, we are introduced to America Chavez; she is an interdimensional traveler. So far, she is the only character in the entire MCU to have this power, the misogynists are not happy. Another wave of controversial “wokism” by homophobic viewers was caused because the movie revealed she has hispanic lesbian parents.
To end my rant, we are introduced to Captain Britain and Monica Rambeau as Captain Marvel. Both of these are insanely strong characters that were killed off very poorly. Marvel has a way with killing off amazing women characters. The MCU and its fans have mixed opinions when it comes to representation. I hope to see in the future that Marvel creators and fans have more open discussions with the communities they are representing. To me, some of these characters felt forced and used for fake activism. People of color and women want to be represented in shows and movies the same way as their equal male and white counterparts. It is time for the MCU to listen and go above and beyond for their fans.