WARNING: I tried to be careful about spoilers. Nonetheless, I’m talking about Endgame and it’s three in the morning on opening night. If you haven’t seen it, I may have slipped up somewhere, so be careful.
The moment in question is a chaotic battle in which all the female characters, who were scattered across the battlefield, suddenly wind up in the same place and charge in unison. Some people on social media are decrying it for being forced social justice, others value it for being an awesome moment for women.
I feel it’s problematic, for feminist reasons. The characters featured in ‘the moment’ deserve a better moment, and they deserve more moments. The majority of the film is focused on male characters and the relationships between them. The female characters getting an immersion-breaking fifteen seconds is not a triumph for women. The problem is the female characters don’t know each other well enough to actually have a meaningful interaction, so instead they must all just charge together; the only way to give them a moment is to do it clumsily, because no time or effort has been spent on the relationships between them. The film is full of amazing ‘bro moments’ between the guys. Those moments are amazing because we have gotten to see those dudes connecting in like 5 movies now. Can’t say the same for the serendipitously gathered group of ladies in this particular battle.
What this moment indicates is that the problem is in the MCU’s bones. Endgame is paying off ten years of worldbuilding around male characters. It’s easy to have great moments between the guys, because the work has been done. Clearly the filmmakers recognized that the women have been underserved, but a ham-fisted moment was all they could muster because there were already too many guy-centric plot threads to wrap up from the twenty previous movies.
One positive thing ‘the moment’ does highlight is that the MCU is now host to a slew of excellent female characters. I’m hopeful this kind of immersion-breaking, forced feminist moment will give way to satisfying, earned feminist moments as the MCU builds off of films that devote screen time to forging connections between female characters. They’ve already started putting the work in, as Black Panther and Captain Marvel attest.