Diversity In The Marvel Cinematic Universe
Oftentimes, it seems like the Marvel Cinematic Universe has been around forever. In all actuality, the first Iron Man only blasted into theatres (pun intended) a little over a decade ago. Since then, it has undergone dramatic changes; from a studio that produced above-average comic book movies to a titan of the film industry. It has also made massive changes when it comes to the diversity of the film. In the first movie the MCU produced, there were barely any actors of color. The only female characters back then were Pepper Potts, who started out as “just a secretary” to Tony Stark, and Natasha Romanoff or Black Widow, who essentially a sexy secretary with a skillset on the side. However, the studio has evolved since then, producing the first female-led superhero movie to cross the one billion dollar mark, the first African-American led superhero film ever, and adding much more diversity to their films in general.
Marvel started making their films more diverse by strengthening the female characters in their first few movies; Black Widow and Pepper Potts both gained a lot of depth and were able to show their strength both in and before the first Avengers movie. They also added many other strong and intelligent female characters such as Margaret Carter, an agent in World War 2, and Jane Foster, an astrophysicist. These women were powerful and provided a great role model for young girls watching superhero movies. However, they still only played a small role in the success of the main character, the man, when they played any role at all and weren’t just there as a potential romantic interest.
With the release of Captain Marvel and Black Panther, Marvel Studios didn’t just expand their audience range, they made an important statement. They not only showed children in minorities that they could be superheroes, they also showed other children who may not be in minorities that anyone can be a superhero. Though we still have a while to go when it comes to diversity in film, it’s important to recognize how far we’ve come.