It's no secret that the Marvel Cinematic Universe is a male-dominated realm. After the release of Captain America: The First Avenger, I noticed a common pattern in Marvel films, where female characters are often relegated to the sidelines as love interests or damsels in distress. Heck, even strong female superheroes, like Black Widow, are hyper-sexualized to cater to the male gaze.
But then came Marvel's Black Panther—a groundbreaking film that highlighted Black culture and spoke to the power of the female agency. In the first film, we were introduced to layered female characters like the tech-savvy Princess Shuri (Letitia Wright), the no-nonsense spy, Nakia (Lupita Nyong'o) and the fiercely loyal Okoye (Danai Gurira). These women weren't just sidekicks lurking in King T'Challa's shadow, but they were strong, complex characters with individual stories. They were the backbone of their nation, proving that they didn't need any superpowers to hold their own. And now, in the film's sequel, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, the women are taking center stage.