I’m a huge MCU fan. Seriously. Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, The Avengers. I have loved each and every entry, and was fully prepared to love Guardians of the Galaxy as well.
And I did! It’s an awesome movie, funny, with a fleshed-out sci-fi world, awesome fight scenes, great characters (GROOT!) and plenty of colour and atmosphere.
The story is pretty macguffin-y, but it works well enough. Ronan is an instantly forgettable villain, with his motivation wrapped up in a single speech and then forgotten. Nebula is more interesting, but has very little to do.
There is, however, a little seed of discontent growing within my love for MCU and it’s about the women.
Marvel is constantly lauded for creating movies with good female characters. And I am truly grateful for Pepper Potts, Black Widow, Peggy, Agent May, Jane… varied, interesting and often given story-centric moments.
But, in part because they are such great characters, I want more.
Every character in Guardians of the Galaxy was fantastic, but it was everyone except Gamora who sang. Heck, Groot and Rocket were more charming and sassier respectively. Gamora was just the straight woman. Black Widow kicks ass in Captain America 2, and is an integral part of the movie… but it’s still called Captain America. It’s still the relationship between Cap and Bucky that takes centre stage.
I want a female villain on par with Loki or Thanos. I want a franchise with a female title character.
I was hopeful that with a team-up franchise we would get more from the woman. But make no mistake, Guardians of the Galaxy is about Peter Quill. He’s the one we open with, he’s the human (our entry into the sci-fi world) and he’s the one who does the most to save the Galaxy. Of the ensemble, three are definitively male and one is presented as male (Groot).
Kevin Feige has been dangling the promise of a female-led movie in front of us for a long time. It’s time he stopped hoping and started doing. Give us Black Widow or pick someone else from your plethora of comic book titles or come up with a female Big Bad. But stop short-changing the female fans. Half naked Thor can only placate us for so long.