Why Captain Marvel’s new look points to a problem with representation


Captain Marvel has a very different look for Avengers: Endgame than she had in Captain Marvel, and here’s why it’s a problem.

With the recent premiere of Captain Marvel on International Women’s Day, we now have Carol Danvers’ origin story as well as a living, breathing, photon-blasting film persona for the iconic Marvel character in Brie Larson. During Captain Marvel‘s mid-credits scene, the films were linked with Captain Marvel appearing in front of our surviving Avengers, asking where the heck Nick Fury was.

Now, just hold onto that memory of Captain Marvel — what she looked like during her solo film and that mid-credits scene. Got it? Good.

Enter the newest trailer for Avengers: Endgame that included a brief scene with Captain Marvel and Thor. In this brief moment, we see Captain Marvel looking very different than she did in her origin film.

Throughout Captain Marvel, Carol Danvers sported a casual look and never appeared to be wearing much makeup. Her character was much less overtly feminine and wearing lots of makeup didn’t seem like something her character would typically do. In Endgame, however, we see Carol Danvers glammed all the way up as if she’d just finished a mini makeover at Sephora.

As you can see by the comparison below, Endgame Carol Danvers sports a very full face of makeup including red lipstick, dark eyeshadow, heavy blush and filled in eyebrows.

Many fans, mostly women, have noticed this difference and aren’t super thrilled about it. It seems to many like an attempt to make Captain Marvel more likable to a straight male audience.

The reason so many have called out this style choice for Captain Marvel in Endgame is that it points to a big issue within Hollywood — male and female gaze.

The male gaze is a feminist theory term, noting the depiction of women in media through a heterosexual male view and represent women as sexual objects. Endgame was filmed first and directed by the Russo brothers, and this isn’t the first time the Russos and their films have been called out for how they represent female characters.

Flipping that, the female gaze represents the perspective of a woman. Captain Marvel, co-directed by Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden, does this not just with Carol Danvers but most of the other female characters as well.

Also in Captain Marvel, Carol is never sexualized in any way. Her clothing and hair and makeup choices make sense given her character and what she’s doing in the film. That’s why seeing her with so much caked on in the Endgame trailer makes zero sense to us. There doesn’t seem to be any reason why Captain Marvel would suddenly be wearing a ton of makeup when she’s likely been in space doing superhero stuff we don’t know about.

Now, it’s worth pointing out that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with wearing makeup, a little or a lot. It is just quite telling that the Marvel film with more women involved portrayed Carol as less overtly feminine, whereas a male directed version went with a Barbie remake of the strongest Avenger.

There have definitely been missteps with how costumes and makeup were handled with other female characters in the MCU over the years, namely with Black Widow in movies like Iron Man 2. Makeup should be a reflection of the character, and it’s not something that all women wear and not something they should wear on screen just to look hot for men. This change is a good example of why it’s so important to have women involved in creating movies both in front of and behind the camera.

Hopefully, there will be a good explanation for why Carol’s look is so different in these Endgame scenes — fingers crossed it is also for one scene. We’ll be eager to see her return to her more minimalistic look from Captain Marvel as this seems more in line with her character.

It would also be great if Marvel could see the feedback from fans and take note of these kinds of issues moving forward when it comes to their female characters.

Related Story. Carol Danvers' backstory changes in Captain Marvel. light