Warning: SPOILERS for Avengers: Endgame ahead.
Marvel Studios' Avengers: Endgame unites all the female heroes in the final battle for a cool moment of fan service, but we deserve a REAL, full-length A-Force movie. With the recent release of the 22nd installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Avengers: Endgame wraps up the story thus far, what Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige termed the Infinity Saga. Endgame is the culmination of the MCU, bringing it full circle back to when the franchise kicked off in 2008's Iron Man. It's clear that Marvel and the whole of the MCU has always been building to Avengers: Endgame since there have been few changes in the studio's plan over the years.
When looking at the MCU in the larger context of the changing landscape of superhero movies, Marvel has fallen behind in a few regards, particularly gender representation. Warner Bros' DCEU beat the MCU to releasing its first female-lead solo movie with Wonder Woman in 2016, ahead of Captain Marvel earlier this year. Warner Bros. will also release two female-lead movies in a year before Marvel, with Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) and Wonder Woman 1984 in 2020. In terms of the MCU, fans were calling for a female-led solo movie many years before Captain Marvel, and they've additionally been calling for a female-led team-up, like the Marvel Comics team A-Force.
Although no such A-Force movie has been announced, Avengers: Endgame directors Anthony and Joe Russo assembled the female heroes in the film's final battle against Thanos for one particular team-up moment. After Spider-Man is blasted by Thanos' ship, Captain Marvel picks up Tony's Infinity Gauntlet and she gets help from the other female heroes in order to get through Thanos' forces. It's a moment that specifically highlights the female heroes of the MCU, but fans deserve a full-length female-led team-up movie, not a single pandering sequence in a larger movie that predominantly focuses on male characters.
For years, Marvel Studios has been telling fans to be patient, that the representation they wanted so badly to see in the MCU would arrive eventually. It took Marvel Studios 10 years to release its first black-led MCU movie in 2018's Black Panther, and 11 years for their first female-led solo movie (though "only" 10 for a female character to be a co-headliner, with Ant-Man and the Wasp). While Marvel is finally starting to include more representation, especially with Black Widow, The Eternals and Shang-Chi on the way, it's taken an incredibly long time. And attempting to pacify those fans with an A-Force moment that feels more patronizing than empowering isn't going to endear the MCU to those who have been calling for more gender representation for years.
Certainly, it can be argued that Marvel Studios had an elaborate plan from the start and they couldn't have predicted at the time that there would be such a massive and vocal push for diversity in superhero stories (they could, however, have set out to lead the charge of such a push). It would be understandable they'd never want to alter their plans if they hadn't done just that when Marvel Studios brought Spider-Man into the fold, pushing back both Black Panther and Captain Marvel for a third live-action Peter Parker. So Marvel has proved they'll change their plans, but only for the right reason, and they've shown in the past to place priority on high profile characters rather than diversity in the MCU.
In that context, the A-Force moment in Avengers: Endgame comes across less like a genuine effort to let the female characters shine and more as a means to assuage critics. After 11 years, MCU fans deserve a real A-Force - or other female-lead team-up - movie, not a short sequence paying lip service to representation rather than delivering on that representation.
- Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) release date: Jul 02, 2019