Sophistication of Story: The concept is nothing new. A scientist creates a weapon that the government wants to use for nefarious purposes. However, the story focuses on Scott Lang, who is a lighter, more bumbling character than we have seen in the MCU so far.
Contribution to Overall Avengers Storyline: The technology from this film will play a large role in Avengers: Endgame.
Infinity Stones: None
Feminist Level: There’s a really obvious issue to this film that gives it an immediate mark against it being feminist, and that’s Hope not wearing the suit. Any excuses don’t work because we all know that if Hank had a son, not a daughter, he would have been fine with said son wearing the suit. Throughout the film, Scott doesn’t want to wear the suit and Hope clearly does, and it just don’t work. The logic of the plot isn’t there.
Does it pass the Bechdel Test?: No. The only conversation between female characters is between Maggie and her daughter, Cassie. The whole point of this particular test in the inequality of casting and the imbalance of the female perspective, so a child does not get a film to pass the test.
Does it pass the race Bechdel Test?: No
Ratio of Male:Female Characters:
Hope van Dyne
-2 for more than double the number of male characters to female characters
-2 for Hank not letting Hope wear the suit
-1 for Hope training Scott and clearly being the more qualified person to wear the suit
-1 for Scott being described as expendable
+2 for showing two functioning father-daughter relationships
+1 for portraying Paxton, the future step-father, as a responsible father figure who cares about Cassie, avoiding the trope of the “uptight” single mom
Is it worth watching: If you’re an MCU completist, watch it.
Captain America: Civil War
Sophistication of Story: This film takes the Avengers much deeper into politics, as they consider whether an international organization should have final say over what the Avengers do and when they do it. It stages a main battle of principles between Tony Stark and Steve Rogers, with the other Avengers split between both sides.
Contribution to Overall Avengers Storyline: This film introduces T’Challa, otherwise known as Black Panther. We also meet Everett Ross and learn more about winter soldiers.
Infinity Stones: There’s so much going on in this film that infinity stones aren’t really addressed. The only possible exception is the development of what, or who, Vision is, as he develops into a more human like being.
Villain: There is Zemo, who is the initial obvious villain, but Tony, Steve, and the Avengers as a whole are all villains depending on what point in the film you look at, and what your point of view is. There is no clear-cut villain in this film the way there usually is in a Marvel film.
Feminist Level: This film could be so much more feminist than it is, but it doesn’t even try. It starts out really well, with Natasha and Wanda as equal players in the opening fight, but then as soon as Wanda makes a mistake, she is essentially imprisoned in Tony’s penthouse. Additionally, the MCU pulls out a bunch of characters new to the franchise to fight and they couldn’t find one female character among the comics that could have done the same thing?
Does it pass the Bechdel Test?: Yes, but barely, when Natasha and Wanda speak through comms.
Does it pass the race Bechdel Test?: Yes, when Rhodey and Falcon talk to each other briefly.
Ratio of Male:Female Characters:
+1 for the women being as involved and capable as the men in the opening fight
+1 for Wanda/Scarlet Witch being shown as the most powerful Avenger
-2 for Wanda Maximoff being held prisoner in Ton’y apartment, and being rescued by Clint
-1 for the forced and weird kiss between Steve and Sharon
-1 for Sharon Carter being essentially a second rate Peggy replacement
+2 for both Natasha and Wanda going the entire film without love interests
-4 for there being more than 4 times as many male characters as female.
+1 for Natasha being shown to be the actual leader of the Avengers in the way that she can keep the peace the most.
Is it worth watching?: Yes, it’s a great film and sets up much of the next phase of the Marvel Universe.
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