Director: Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck
Screenplay: Anna Boden, Ryan Fleck, and Geneva Robertson-Dworet
WARNING: Film features more than one female character and may cause you to understand life a little bit better.
Captain Marvel is an extraterrestrial Kree warrior who finds herself caught in the middle of an intergalactic battle between her people and the Skrulls. Living on Earth in 1995, she keeps having recurring memories of another life as U.S. Air Force pilot Carol Danvers. With help from Nick Fury, Captain Marvel tries to uncover the secrets of her past while harnessing her special superpowers to end the war with the evil Skrulls.
I have been a fan of the Carol Danvers character since I read Brian Michael Bendis’s run on Avengers. She was a vital background player who became front and center for me when Kelly Sue DeConnick, along with Jamie McKelvie’s resign and Dexter Soy’s artwork re-imagined the character from a one-piece bathing-suit puncher wearing thigh-high boots called Ms. Marvel, to a complex tough-as-nails pilot wearing funeral appropriate attire, who still punches, but is also an international role model.
All that to say that I was ready and chomping at the bit when this movie was unleashed, so, maybe a little tainted.
As soon as the credits ended and the lights in the theater came up I was asked my opinion of the movie. I had no doubt that I enjoyed nearly every second of it, but something didn’t feel quite right. Like many I have been a fan of the MCU since its inception with Jon Favreau’s Iron Man and I have seen the evolution of story construction leading up to the punchy and quippy action-adventure of Black Panther, Antman and The Wasp, and Avenger: Infinity War, both movies that I really dug.
This led me to be initially unsure of Captain Marvel as a more even keel action/espionage thriller. The level of dopamine excitement with the final scenes was different and I wasn’t sure how to react. It took a few hours of consideration, and a little math, to understand my opinion. Something I am noticed with Marvel movies, and have written about, is how they often feel like a perfectly extruded piece of tent-pole cinema. This is a formula that works very well for Marvel/Disney and far be it for me to say they are wrong. I came to the realization that Captain Marvel was best reflected in Captain America: Winter Soldier, which has been my favorite and not dethroned by subsequent releases. When I plugged in my complicated scoring system I was pleasantly surprised that Captain Marvel and Winter Soldier are a dead heat.
As much as I enjoy high quality spy movies like Winter Soldier I also love solid buddy cop fare. While Carol Danvers and Nick Fury aren’t partners they are, in a way, both cops on a secret mission to save the world. One knows the system and how to break it and the other slowly learns to understand humanity, literally. Brie Larson and Samuel L. Jackson play off each other perfectly, which is one of the most important elements of any story, especially in a buddy cop flick.
While many of the story elements are central casting the writer/directors are able to pinch and tweak them just enough to really bring out the color and making the experience all-the-more endearing. As I mentioned, I am a fan of the Kelly Sue DeConnick volumes of the Captain Marvel comic and I had some hopes about what may make it into the movie. I was eternally grateful when they referenced that Goose was a flerkin and my jaw hit the floor when they took it to the next level.
I know that Captain Marvel will never be the favorite Marvel film for everyone. I think that is really for the best because the MCU is all about making something different for everyone and as long as they keep that up I know they will be a powerhouse for years to come. It may require a double feature of Winter Soldier and Captain Marvel for me to decide which I enjoy more.
Now, I want to spend a minute considering the ill-conceived and manufactured issues surrounding the film. First was the lapped-up pool of opinion originating over star Brie Larson’s request that the press interviews represent the diversity in the film review community. Some strangely suggested that Ms. Larson did not want any men to watch the movie, or that the movie is not ‘for’ men. This puzzles me. That’s not true, it doesn’t, this is the very same drivel that froths from any movie that has even a minor suggestion of diversity. It is a silly left-over opinion from a bygone era when inclusion had no place in films, or opinions, allegedly. Personally, I take no umbrage with everyone’s voice being loud enough to be heard as long as they are polite about it.
There is also a contingent of people who seeming seethe with anger when a movie is not filled with only straight, white, male characters. While I don’t agree with this I do understand, this is no secret but the clear majority of films of yore were white male hero/savior film and other rest where either clumped as chick-flicks, or exploitation cinema. Some people just don’t like sharing and feel personally attacked when someone, who is not them, gets a little screen time. The world would be a better place if movie could just be movies and people remember that pop culture properties belong to their owners and not the fans.
It took Marvel a little while to get their house in order, so I can understand why people would think diversity is being forced on them but the last few films have included exciting characters who were people of color or female. This is a blessing and is awesome and should be celebrated, not a target if ire. Time will, hopefully, heal those wounds.
Captain Marvel has and will continue to piss off those who think diversity in pop culture is poisonous, but I don’t really care about that. Captain Marvel is one of the best additions to the MCU. It is a slow burn buddy cop film with aliens, aircraft, and ass kicking women. This is the movie I have been waiting for and it is the movie we deserve. Cheers to all involved.
Director: 7 – Cinematography: 10 – Edit: 4 – Parity: 10 – Main performance: 10 – Else performance: 7 – Score: 10 – Sound: 9 – Story: 6 – Script: 6 – Effects: 9 – Design: 10 – Costumes: 10 – Keeps interest: 10 – Lasting: 10