Captain Marvel and the Bechdel Test


Carly Ortega, Staff Writer

The film industry is not known for its empowerment of women. Famed blockbuster movies like Jaws, Star Wars, The Avengers, and even The Little Mermaid fail to have two female characters who speak to one another.  If they do speak, they very rarely talk about anything other than a man. These traits are part of the Bechdel Test, a test that evaluates how women are represented in movies. In order for a film to pass the test, one of the criteria is it must have two female characters to talk to each other, but not about a man.

Wonder Woman, for example, passed the test. However, “Many of the scenarios in this film don’t actually scream female empowerment. Aside from the opening scenes when Diana is on her home island controlled by women, Wonder Woman barely passes the Bechdel Test”.

Released on 9 March 2019 on International Woman’s Day, Captain Marvel  the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s response to Wonder Woman does not surround its main character with amorous  men. Instead Brie Larson as Captain Marvel is tough, determined, and a relatable woman who carries the movie.

Never before had I realized that I did not have my own Iron Man, or Batman, or Captain America that I, a young girl, could  identify with. We had never before seen a movie that had a woman in a protective super suit. Nor one that depicted a formidable female lead who inspired herself, and others like Carol Danvers, a U.S. Air Force pilot, and Maria Rambeau an equally strong, talented African-American pilot. Their relationship allows viewers to witness the power of female friendships. 

A sequence in the third act of the film almost brought me to tears. It was filled with powerful imagery of a woman maturing and rising up to face the challenges in her life. Captain Marvel was everything I never knew I was missing, a strong, unapologetic woman who could fight every adversary that came her way (and not in a teeny tiny super suit). It hit home in a way that Wonder Woman just did not nor could not.

As a Marvel fan, I can only applaud the creators. With the success of Black Panther and Captain Marvel, two movies about minority groups, I can only look forward to what they will do next. Hopefully Captain Marvel will not be one of the few Marvel movies to blow the Bechdel test out of the water.