With “Avengers: Age of Ultron” being shown at Calvin recently, and “Ant-Man” coming out in theaters over the summer, it’s a good time to talk about Marvel. Well, it’s always a good time to talk about Marvel. Specifically, the women of the MCU, or the Marvel Cinematic Universe. (Hint: If you’re not familiar with that term, it means the X-Men movies and the Spider-Man movies don’t count. Just the ones related to the Avengers.) So far in that universe, we have two female superheroes: Black Widow and Scarlet Witch. We have nine male superheroes, which you can see is a major ratio difference.
“But the Avengers are mostly male! What other female characters would they include?” a hypothetical person may ask. Excellent question! One of the founding members of the Avengers in the original comics was a woman – the one who actually gave them the name of the ‘Avengers’ in the first place, and no, it wasn’t Black Widow. It was Wasp, or Janet van Dyne. She was one of the first five Avengers, along with the original Ant-Man, whom she married, Iron Man, Thor and the Hulk. She is powerful, named the group, is really awesome and completely foundational to the core of the team… yet is in none of the movies.
When Marvel stated they were making an Ant-Man movie, there was hope. After all, surely Wasp could be in it, right? After all, she’s his wife. That is not the case, unfortunately, as the movie is about the second Ant-Man. From what we learn, the foundational female member of the team sacrificed herself (or, in a possible echo of a comic plot, was sent to another dimension) and has yet to have anything to do with the team she helped found. Instead, her daughter shows up in the Ant-Man movie as a civilian and receives a Wasp costume at the end of the movie, as if you can trade one Wasp in for another and that’s alright. They’re both Wasps, right? And her daughter is an actual character from the comics, so it should be fine.
Not really. Female characters aren’t interchangeable. The two Wasps have completely different personalities, and having the original Wasp’s daughter become an Avenger (if she even does, it’s unknown as of yet if she will) doesn’t change the fact that Marvel erased the founding female member and thinks that as long as they have a female character, it’s fine. Whether the female is Black Widow, Scarlet Witch, or now the second Wasp… just having one woman in the group doesn’t cut it.
Furthermore, none of the female Avengers have gotten their own movies. A Captain Marvel (another female Avenger from early on) movie is planned for 2018, but that means it will have been 13 years since the last Marvel female superhero movie. In 2005, they had the movie “Elektra,” but it didn’t do well. Naturally, that means over a decade wait for another female superhero. After all, we all know that when “The Hulk” had mixed reviews in 2003, we waited another decade for a male superhero movie. (Hah. Not – five years later, it received a sequel.)
So if you watched “Age of Ultron recently,” thank your lucky stars for Scarlet Witch – she’s the second female Avenger we’ve got in the MCU, and she’s great. That doesn’t change that she’s only the second one. Can we get seven more in here, pronto? Let’s make the team half and half. Or at least make that Black Widow movie. The clock’s ticking.