— Caution: Civil War spoilers ahead! —
It doesn’t take much to notice that the Marvel Cinematic Universe is lacking in one major aspect: female superheroes. Much like previous Marvel films, the most recent iteration, Captain America: Civil War, only features a few female characters. And these women are always part of an ensemble. Although the Black Widow movie is one of the most requested Marvel film by fans, in addition to the recent controversy against Disney for leaving her character out of their line of Avengers merchandise, none of the MCU movies have been led by a female character so far.
In Captain America: Civil War, we see the return of Black Widow, Scarlet Witch, and Agent Peggy Carter’s niece, Sharon Carter. Although Civil War is a Captain America film and not an Avengers one, these women are somewhat left in the shadows compared to their male counterparts and teammates. Scarlet Witch is essentially put on house arrest by Tony Stark and babysat by Vision while the rest of the team rushes to address the Bucky Barnes situation. Sharon Carter assists the Avengers, but is essentially left behind once they no longer have a need for her. Black Widow probably has the most significant part in the resolution of the film, as she takes Tony’s side in the Sokovia Accords but still helps Steve Rogers protect his long-time partner and friend.
Despite the minimal female representation in Civil War (and the MCU in general), the female characters are undoubtedly the most important characters in the movie. Here’s a few of the reasons why these women are so badass:
Black Widow is literally the smartest person in the group
Seriously, Natasha should probably start making all the decisions for the Avengers from now on. As the Avengers have caused civilian deaths and great damage during their fights with enemies, the United Nations has decided to create a set of legal documents, called the Sokovia Accords, with the goal of overseeing and regulating the involvement of the Avengers in dangerous battles. Ironman agrees with the proposal and complies to sign the documents, while Captain America argues that they should be able to intervene any situation without government interference. Black Widow shows that she is level-headed in the film as she takes Tony’s side on the Sokovia Accords despite being closer to Steve. She understands that protecting civilians from the dangers that come from intense superhero fights is the most important thing for the group, even if it means being on the opposite side of the issue from Cap. However, Natasha ultimately supports Steve in fighting for justice for his best friend, Bucky Barnes (aka. the Winter Soldier). As we know from the second Captain America movie, Bucky was captured by HYDRA and turned into an evil super soldier, who mercilessly kills anyone standing in his path. In Civil War, Natasha, in her loyalty to Steve, helps Bucky escape a brutal fate he does not deserve. Her commitment to both the team and loyalty to one of her closest friends is what makes Black Widow one of the strongest characters of the films.
Black Widow is one of the most underrated characters in the Marvel Universe, but she proves time and time again that she deserves a bigger role in the Avengers films, as well as her own set of solo films. These movies could explore the depth of Natasha Romanoff’s character, and her own origin, as well as her growth and development into the strong woman that we see in the current Marvel films.
No one can match Scarlet Witch’s powers
Wanda Maximoff’s powers are so strong that she is seen as the biggest threat in the world by 117 nations. Tony Stark confined her to the Avengers headquarters, where she was minded by Vision, in an effort to keep her and her powers contained. Despite these precautions, put in place for her “safety”, Wanda is able to easily able to beat Vision when Hawkeye came to “rescue” her. Steve, realizing Scarlet Witch’s strength, calls her to be on his side, and she shines in the last 20 minutes of the film where she is able to fight and beat every blow that is thrown at her, and saves Steve and Bucky from being crushed by a falling watch tower as they make their escape. After the battle, Wanda is captured, locked away and put in a strait jacket to prevent her from using her powers. Although Wanda was kept away for most of the film, and forced to face the consequences of killing innocent civilians in order to save Steve, the Scarlet Witch has the largest potential for being an even stronger superhero, both mentally and power-wise.
Sharon Carter’s strength was extremely underused
Agent Sharon Carter is probably the most underused character in Civil War. In the film, she gives a powerful speech at the funeral for her aunt, Peggy Carter (Steve Rogers’ former love interest and co-founder of S.H.I.E.L.D) about how no one should ever back down from what they believe in, which ultimately helps Steve decide not to sign the Sokovia Accords. Being a secret agent for S.H.I.E.L.D. and the CIA, she risks her job and provides great insider access to government plans relating to the capture of Bucky Barnes, ultimately helping Steve and the rest of his team find Bucky and get him to safety. This shows her competence as an ally, and becomes one of Steve’s most trusted partners. However, the kiss her and Steve shared before they parted ways was a bit weird and out of place. Was it really necessary? Sure, it might help prove that Steve is able to move past Peggy, but using one of the only three female characters in the movie to further Captain America’s personal growth is a bit shifty. Especially since romance doesn’t really seem to work out for the Avengers, and this might ruin a potentially bigger role for Sharon in the future. Moving forward in the franchise, we can only hope that the role of women moves past that of being love interests and sidekicks. Sharon would have been awesome in the fight between #TeamCap and #TeamIronman.
These ladies are awesome, there is no doubt about it. For the future of the MCU, I really hope to see more female representation in the films, as well as some more love for the lady superheroes all around. And let’s keep our fingers crossed for a Black Widow solo-film.