Captain Marvel is a clever origin story and Avengers prequel that is all about empowerment with a whole heap of 90’s nostalgia. There’s no doubt that the first female-led superhero film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck, was bound to cause a stir since all films preceding it have been dominantly male. Captain Marvel has crushed box office concerns and has set the stage for more female superheroes to have their time in the spotlight. The film made a whopping $455 million USD globally in its opening weekend, placing it as the sixth-highest launch of all time and proving that female-led superhero movies can succeed.
Many reviews I’ve read have been either neutral or negative but I completely disagree and I’ll tell you why.
CGI and Action Sequences.
Technology has come so far recently and has enabled film directors to accomplish so much more. Take a look at the incredible CGI that was used to de-age Samuel L. Jackson and Clark Gregg as they reprise their roles as Nick Fury and Agent Phil Coulson. This flawless execution of de-aging convincingly sets the movie in the past of the Marvel Cinematic Universes (MCU) timeline, utilising quality and beloved actors instead of recasting younger versions. The film was full of sharp action sequences just like every other Marvel movie, keeping the vitality of the film alive and thrilling the audience time and again. When Carol Danvers (Brie Larson) embodies her true and complete power, the fight sequences are everything you could ask for and more. She reveals to me that she will definitely be able to defeat Thanos in Endgame (I am so ready!).
Many reviews have commented on Carol Danvers’ lack of character development. On the contrary, I believe she has substantial growth and am disappointed that it has been overlooked by many reviewers. Carol is initially portrayed as witty and brash with the tendency to react first and ask questions later, just like Thor in his first film. However, unlike Thor she does not have free reign to use her powers and she is constantly told to control her emotions (and thus her power) or things could get bad. As the movie progresses, the relationships she forms and the way in which she begins to trust in herself, shows an evolution of character that resonates with our own world today. Captain Marvel is a reminder that we have everything we need inside of ourselves, if only we stopped allowing others to hold us back.
No love interest.
What’s more, the absence of a love interest proves that the film and superhero can stand on its own. There’s no weak, fleeting love story that’s just been thrown in out of nowhere as a necessity to keep the female half of the audience happy while their boyfriends watch an action film (Black Widow, Hulk, what are you doing?). This gives Carol and her audience autonomy in their own right. There’s no male character being killed off to give the character “depth” or “purpose”, which inevitably leads to avenging and victory (sorry Wonder Woman, I still love you). For me, this film is a refreshing take on a female superhero and is long overdue in the superhero universe. Captain Marvel and Carol Danvers is completely welcome to the open arms of the entire female audience.
Never giving up.
Captain Marvel follows a similar moral narrative to Captain America where the audience are shown Carol Danver’s will to never give up. Just like the bullied Steve Rogers, who was determined to become a soldier despite his apparent weak physique, we see a determined Carol Danvers consistently picking herself back up no matter what has knocked her down and no matter who told her she would never be good enough. It’s a powerful message to everyone, not just women, that success comes with setbacks but you should always keep trying.
Captain Marvel also teaches us that sometimes the tough choice is the right choice. Incidentally, when Carol learns the truth about the Kree-Skrull war that she’s been fighting in, her decision to follow her conscience alienates her from everyone she’s ever known. This is again a similar divide to what we see between the Avengers in Captain America: Civil War. In Civil War, Captain America refuses to be controlled by governmental interests and instead becomes a vigilante, fighting for what he believes is good and just. This concept of fighting for others when they can’t is relevant in many social and political situations today where minority groups need more people like Carol Danvers and Steve Rogers to stand up for what’s right, even if it means standing alone.
A bit of foreshadowing.
The film hides lots of little easter eggs and succinctly brings the Avengers’ storylines full circle. Captain Marvel brings together villains and heroes from other MCU films and intertwines their stories to create a seamless picture whereas in previous movies you might only have half the story. What’s interesting is that this technique builds suspense by allowing the audience to know more than just the title character, keeping you on the edge of your seat until the final reveal. We see Nick Fury’s journey to losing an eye and even an origin story snapshot of Ronan the Accuser the villain from Guardians of the Galaxy. Then, there’s Jude Law’s character who creates a compelling mentor to Brie Larson’s Carol Danvers and together they lay the future for the final arc of this part of the MCU series.
Make a film about Goose.
Let’s not forget the completely adorable ginger cat, Goose. It’s safe to say that Goose is an absolute show stealer with a hilarious and indescribable surprise that’ll have you laughing right until his feature in the end credit scene that perfectly answers your questions as to how a certain blue alien artifact ends up at S.H.I.E.L.D. I wonder if Marvel would be up for making a Goose movie?