Captain Marvel review

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Making a Her-o

Ryan Joseph

Audiences were yearning for a female-led superhero movie with the signature Marvel flair, and we were finally given that with the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s unstoppable new heroine: Captain Marvel. Despite a formulaic story that resembles other Marvel origin stories, the film thrives. Captain Marvel follows Brie Larson (Carol Danvers/Vers/Captain Marvel) through a journey to discover her lost life as an air force test pilot and stop an invasion from the alien race called the Skrulls.
Larson’s Captain Marvel is a perfect blend of charm and comedy with resilience and strength. She can transition fluidly through scenes of vulnerability, trying to piece together the scattered memories of a life lost, to accusing innocent farmers of being intergalactic invaders. She brings an admirable and gutsy charisma to the character which uplifts the already strong movie.
The message is about breaking free from the limitations set by your superiors and not following the guidelines. Carol is a perfect representation of this as a woman who has been told her whole life to slow down because she’s a girl. This is repeated by the ‘leaders’ who restrain her from her full potential.
Through this adventure, she learns that despite the people who drag her down, she is in control of becoming the person, woman, and hero she needs to be. She becomes a role model for the audience members she represents.
The acting performances by the supporting cast are a strong point in the film. Jude Law’s Yon-Rogg is a far cry from the comics, and is a grounded but linear mentor. Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury is a shake-up from the hardened backbone of the Avengers we are used to, but some changes to his origin upset fans. The movie features a cat named Goose who prompts great reactions from characters and audience alike.
One of my problems with the formulaic, but successful, filmmaking style by Marvel Studios is that they utilize comedy at the expense of creative consistency, giving makeovers to its comic book counterpart. Captain Marvel changes aspects of the source material that do not necessarily strengthen the film but follow the themes that are gaining much of the film’s attention.
Being set in the 90s, nostalgia plays a cool role in this movie with a terrific soundtrack and references to things like Blockbuster (remember that?), as shown in the trailer. Being able to spontaneously break out into Salt-N-Peppa or Nirvana adds a needed memorable aspect to it while not taking away from the plot. Besides, Captain Marvel in grunge casual attire is magnificent.
Ultimately, despite a few problems, which were a result of the direction and the influence of how mainstream the superhero genre is as a whole, I am happy with the newest addition to the MCU and can’t wait to see more. While the film doesn’t use its lead actress to her full potential and falls in the middle of the pack in the MCU, Captain Marvel is a good set-up for Avengers: Endgame and thoroughly enjoyable.

Originally Published in Bandersnatch Vol.49 Issue 07 on December 4th, 2019

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