Captain Marvel is doing well at the box office, and deservedly so. It’s the first female-led Marvel movie some two decades after the very first Iron Man film premiered. It's been long overdue and it’s a shame it took so long for it to happen.
However, while I did like Captain Marvel, for the most part, I was equally frustrated with it as well — mainly because of how both Maria and Monica Rambeau were used in the film.
When it was later announced that Monica's mother, Maria Rambeau, would be in the film my ears perked up, especially when it was revealed she would be a fighter pilot. That change in occupation is a welcomed departure from her character in the comics, in which she is a supportive mother and homemaker. In the movie, her character definitely maintains her supportive behavior and extends it to her best friend Carol. While their friendship was great to see on screen because outside of Black Panther, female characters don’t get a ton of screen time together, let alone friendships. (It also would have been great if the film had said it with its chest that the two were more than just friends instead of the heavy implications.)
As for Maria's young daughter Monica, her presence felt much the same, only more bittersweet. She's introduced to the masses in Captain Marvel as this little Black girl who adores her Auntie Carol. She even says she wants to be like her when she grows up. Who could blame her? Carol comes back into life after being gone for six years and returns with really cool powers.
For a prolific comic character such as Monica Rambeau, who was just as amazing as Carol in her own right, to now have her origin rooted in Carol's influence, is an absolute slap in the face. It’s also more of the same, the constant dilution of Black characters for the benefit of their white counterparts. At least Monica has somewhat of a chance in future MCU films to hopefully be fleshed in a way that does her character some justice. At no point has Monica been a sidekick-caliber character, something that isn’t so abundant in Marvel comics when it comes to Black characters and other characters of color, to begin with. For this to happen after what Black Panther did for the women of Wakanda and the Dora Milaje feels like a step in the opposite direction.
Monica Rambeau deserves her own movie just as much as Carol deserved hers and I’m remaining hopeful that she finally gets her chance to shine on her own. Since Captain Marvel is leading the charge of Phase Four for the MCU, the hope is that going forward, it's higher, further, faster for other characters of color, characters with disabilities, characters who fall within the LGBTIA+ community, and so on. I want them to ascend well past being reduced to props for their white, abled counterparts. They deserve to fly just as high and go just as far.