WARNING: The following article contains major spoilers for Captain Marvel, now in theaters.
In stories where someone has lost a significant portion of their memories, it often falls to their significant other to help them remember who they are. In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, this responsibility has been, up until this point, most famously shouldered by Steve Rogers in helping Bucky Barnes recover his memories. In that relationship and others, the MCU films have done a good job showing us different types of relationships: best friend love, romantic love, familial love, etc.
Yet, these relationships are dominated by male characters. Women do play a role as love interests or in family dynamics, but the MCU is sorely lacking in depictions of female friendship. Captain Marvel is a groundbreaking film in many ways, including how it finally gives the MCU movies an authentic female friendship dynamic. After all, the love between Carol and her best friend Maria Rambeau is the one that matters most in this film.
Notable MCU Friendships So Far
The MCU friendship that’s gotten the most attention (and the most amount of ships) is the one between Steve Rogers and Bucky Barnes. Steve was the key to unlocking Bucky’s memories amidst all the memory wipes and brainwashing Bucky endured as the Winter Soldier. Captain America: The First Avenger sets up their friendship well, with Bucky acting as Steve’s protector and having a natural banter with him: “Don’t do anything stupid until I get back.” “How can I? You’re taking all the stupid with you.” Bucky refuses to leave Steve even as a building falls down in flames around him. Plus, he always tried to find him a date. That’s a good friend.
The closest we’ve come to a real friendship between two women in the Marvel films is Darcy Lewis and Jane Foster from the Thor franchise. Darcy began as Jane’s intern, but she is definitely concerned for Jane when Thor leaves; she sticks around to help Jane in the aftermath. In Thor: The Dark World, Darcy applauds Jane when she actually puts on “lady clothes” to go on a date. However, we don’t see much of Jane caring for Darcy in the same way. (To be fair, she was busy trying to find an Asgardian.) While they’re not really best friends, Darcy and Jane were at least good friends. Unfortunately, they were booted from the Thor franchise before this friendship could grow any further.
More recently, in 2018’s Black Panther, Nakia and Okoye fought together and had a sincere conversation about loyalty. Nevertheless, there’s not much evidence to prove that they are best friends. When it comes to being a best friend, it should be obvious; almost everyone knows what it’s like to share that closeness with someone. And honestly, this type of relationship between two women can’t be fleshed out properly when women got only 10% of screen time in the MCU’s first decade.
NEXT PAGE: Monica's Critical Role in the Film