Don't believe the hype, Captain Marvel is...
The truth about Captain Marvel will always lie in the eye of the beholder, you!
But, we’re going to pit 3 of our favorite things about the movie against 3 things we didn’t like and you can decide which wins out.
👍 The Good
Carol Danvers was marvelous!
Personally, I went into the movie not sure I was going to like Brie Larson as Captain Marvel. She seemed a bit too cute in the trailers and she felt like she wasn’t going to be the right fit for a central, powerful character in the MCU. This was especially troubling with Kevin Feige talking about Captain Marvel as a centerpiece for the future of the MCU. I was wrong to be worried. She was great!
The final cut of the movie blended Brie Larson’s fun and loose portrayal of the hero with the power and strength of the character. The movie really does the character justice as a likable, fun, and still powerful and determined hero.
I also really enjoyed their creative choice to make her another superhero and not just a female superhero. Carol didn’t need a love interest. She was powerful all on her own. Respect! ✊Carol didn’t need to be heavy handed like Wonder Woman to portray feminine power. We have already seen that done really well in Wonder Woman. Carol is her own person. Respect! ✊ Carol Danvers is just a hero like any other in the MCU. She has friends like Tony Stark has Rhodey or Captain America has Bucky, but didn’t need a man to define her. Wonder Woman blazed that trail using the era her origin story was set in and Steve Trevor as a foil fo female empowerment. The contrast was powerful at times and humorous at others in WW. Carol Danvers just stands up and answers the call. ✊
👍More fun symmetry within the MCU
We’re big believers in a connected universe bringing more interest to fans than a disconnected universe. Given that each are equal in quality, the connected universe increases interest in the movies and its characters and by proxy we get more attached to the universe as well. Stand alone films can be beautiful beyond compare, but they aren’t great movies because they’re disconnected.
Captain Marvel continues the MCU’s beautiful symmetry across the board. We get big moments like the reveal of the Tesseract as the reason alien races come to Earth to do battle. The fun twist being that this is the first time and Avengers the second. We learn why it was called the “Avengers” initiative and how Project Pegasus was started trying to harness energy from the Tesseract.
We also get some fun little things like a young agent Phil Coulson showing up to learning how Nick Fury lost his eye…”the last time he trusted somebody” and how that was a cool spin on what we expected that really fits the character, being a spy with secrets having secrets. It also spins those symmetries into possible cover-ups. Maybe Howard Stark didn’t fish the Tesseract out of the ocean, maybe he did. The story behind Nick Fury’s eye is clearly a fun misdirection.
We also enjoy the deeper connections that give the universe more texture and meaning. It turns out that while Captain America was the “First Avenger” it was Carol Danvers who started the modern superhero era and was really the “first Avenger.” Now we know her pilot call sign was the namesake of the “Avengers” Initiative. She also introduced Fury to superheroes showing her power that kind of superhero power was fiction to the world until she comes back to earth. We also see how the tech that SHIELD wields in the Avengers was started by their first contact with alien races and this experience shaped Fury and SHIELD. The movie unpacks a lot fo the pre-Avengers mysteries and fills in the MCU a little bit more. It does it kind of like Rogue One, though it actually introduces a centerpiece for the future of the franchise.
Evolution of the superhero
Ironically, the first “modern” superhero in the MCU may be its most powerful hero. This is a fun little twist we love, but the part we enjoyed the most is that we are starting to see some of our heroes become truly comic-like in their powers. The DCEU has embraced this with some success from the beginning with Superman, Wonder Woman, the old gods, and now most recently Aquaman. These guys are all OP and at times this gives us some really good scenes. It’s risky to make your heroes so powerful that they become uninteresting or silly like Aquaman surfing on an enemy through the sky and then through a building only to emerge with a hair flip and a smirk. Captain Marvel mixes the incredible with a fun and it was all believable and fit with our view of the MCU!
It wasn’t all visual with Carol Danvers though. Captain Marvel is able to explore a powerful person within a super powered superhero. Some of the best characters are those that further explore a great human conflict. While Carol Danvers didn’t explore any great depths, it was able to make a statement about what makes her a hero…she stands up in the face of defeat. That and she is powered by photon energy that passed into her during an explosion. 😂 She flies through the sky smashing through vastly superior Kree tech in an amazing show of force and it was pretty cool to watch. She even manages to have fun doing it.
With other heroes in the MCU, they all evolved from movie to movie. Iron Man becomes more powerful as his tech gets better. Thor becomes more powerful as he learns to be the god of thunder and not rely on his hammer. Captain America’s fighting style and strength blossomed once he was put into the modern era and forced to evolve to the point where he pulls down helicopters or jumps our of a plane without a parachute. The list goes on through the MCU. Carol was pretty bad ass from the start! She’s cosmic with a hint of street level, and we love it!
👎 The Bad
Lack of Conflict
While Carol was great and it was awesome to see a new level of heroic power in the MCU, she didn’t get any substantial opposition. It didn’t hurt the movie for us, but the lack of compelling conflict kept if from being truly great.
Talos was awesome. The Kree/Skrull twist was good. Yon-Rogg was an obstacle, but one she cast aside once she embraced and understood who she was and shed the chains holding her down, literally. She casts aside the supreme intelligence without learning much about it. Ronan even runs away with his planet killing armada. It worked here because this movie was really just meant to be another fun chapter introducing a new character and giving more depth to the MCU before the big finale in Avengers Endgame.
We were hoping that the Skrulls and Talos would put Captain Marvel in between two forces for evil with a second final act twist, but they left CM’s plot a little less complex which is ok. Still, without more depth of conflict and opposition for Carol, emotional even, Captain Marvel doesn’t quite climb to the top of genre. I hope Talos comes back in the universe, maybe as future events turn him truly evil but for now this was enough.
The plot worked because it was engineered in a way that the elements of the story unfolded largely in reverse. We meet Carol as a part of Star Force 6 years after events she can’t remember. She comes back to Earth to learn who she really was. This masked a very simple plot and gave another origin story a different format. It wasn’t overly complicated, but that didn’t really take away from the fun of the movie. There just could have been more depth with a better conflict and a little bit more complexity to the plot. It excels with Marvel’s patented “fun” tone, but it doesn’t touch the heights of MCU movies that hit on deeper plots and more powerful conflicts like Captain America: Winter Soldier, Civil War, Infinity War, and Black Panther. Given to us in a more linear plot, Captain Marvel may have been a bore. As is, it was fun and exciting enough to be very enjoyable.
Politics and Haters
This last one doesn’t have that much to do with the movie itself, but more the environment around the movie. For us, it’s all about the quality of a movie. We judge the movie on its own merits and if we like it, then we are happy! If we don’t like it, the movie deserves to be called out and taken to task because we deserve to push the movies forward producing better and better entertainment for us. The MCU is a product of that evolution. Think about X-men in 2000 or early Spider-man movies or go even further back to Donner’s Superman. It’s incredible the quality of movie we get in general. That’s kind of how we think movies should be.
Captain Marvel has garnered a lot of debate and hate recently that had nothing to do with whether it was a good movie or not and we don’t have any time for that stuff! From review bombing to political agendas and even a little bit of a desire to see the megalith Disney fail and the MCU stumble because they are too big and too good right now. We aren’t interested in this stuff. We like the people making the best movies. Respect is earned. We don’t win if the quality of a movie or universe goes down, just haters.
We are psyched the X-men and Fantastic Four are coming the MCU not because Marvel got them back, even though that is pretty cool. We don’t really want Disney to own it all and we get what ramifications that could have in the long run. It was our hope Fox would turn things around and have a different style and approach to the MCU that worked equally as well or better. Up to X-men Apocalypse and F4 we had hope. They didn’t. We are psyched because honestly, those two franchises are almost dead weren’t getting better.
X-men Apocalypse was a mess and killed the momentum from the two previous good movies. In doing so, they made a wholly rebooted team kind of boring going forward. They tried to bite off more than they could chew rather than have a patient, decade long approach. They were trying to cash in big storylines as soon as possible without taking the time to make us care about these new X-men and give us more new characters. The F4 movie was an all-time flop and it deserved it. It was bad! That wasn’t Doctor Doom. They were all but done in movies for the next 5-10 years before the MCU got them back in the Disney deal. We were psyched because it meant that the guys putting out the best movies with the most consistent good quality were going to get two franchises that deserve better. The point here is that we just want good movies for the characters and stories we love from comics.
It’s all about the movies. The hate leading into Captain Marvel was ridiculous because in the end, it’s a very good movie. If you don’t like it because of the film itself, that’s one thing and you’re entitled to your opinion. But, to bash the film before it comes out is BS. We stand up against that nonsense. Give us good movies. Down with the haters and trolls.