“Our film shows [girls] that if they fall down, they can get right back up. They shouldn’t be defined by anyone else’s expectations or limitations on them. They can do anything,” added Gemma Chan.
Brie Larson’s Captain Marvel, the first female Marvel superhero to star in her own solo movie, made a soaring debut on Monday night—literally. Six F-16 U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds jets flew over the film’s Hollywood premiere in formation, honoring the men and women serving in the Armed Forces who are represented in the film. Larson’s character, Carol Danvers, is a fighter pilot who receives alien powers during a mysterious accident that also wipes away all her memories of life on Earth.
“I’m going to cry. It’s been a couple of years working on this movie,” Larson said at the film’s lavish premiere at the Dolby Theatre, where she was greeted on the red carpet by Armed Forces members and dozens of fans dressed in red, blue, and gold Captain Marvel suits. “This little girl has the wig and everything,” she said of one young fan. “It’s really moving me. It’s really cool!”
In 2016, Marvel announced that Larson—fresh off of a best-actress Oscar for the indie drama Room—would portray Captain Marvel. Audiences had been clamoring for a female-led superhero film from the studio ever since Scarlett Johanssonfirst appeared as Black Widow in 2010’s Iron Man 2. For Larson, leading a film like this that promotes female strength is what she is most proud of.
“What I love about Captain Marvel is that she was strong before she got superpowers,” said Larson. “She was already awesome and a strong leader. You can be a hero without the powers and not being perfect. Captain Marvel is not an idealized version of perfection. She has flaws and makes mistakes—that makes her relatable.”
Also new to the Marvel Cinematic Universe is Crazy Rich Asians actress Gemma Chan, who plays Minn-Erva, a fearless blue alien sniper. Chan says she is delighted that the 21st Marvel Studios flick—out March 8—breaks with superhero clichés and presents women as authentic and multifaceted characters.
“This movie shows a whole range of female dynamics that you don’t often see in a superhero movie. You’ve got friendships and rivalries, mother and daughter love, and a mentor relationship between two women,” said the British star. “For me, the heart and soul of the movie is the female friendship. It’s overdue and I’m thrilled the female perspective is finally being told. We’re complicated, and why not show complicated female characters? It’s good for boys and young men to see, as well as girls and women.”
Chan says stories like Captain Marvel are crucial, because young kids, especially girls, need more female role models on-screen.
“I hope young girls feel they are worthy of being the center of stories, that anything is possible,” said Chan. “Our film shows that if they fall down, they can get right back up. They shouldn’t be defined by anyone else’s expectations or limitations on them. They can do anything.”