Captain Marvel: Doesn’t Need to Prove Anything to You

I loved this movie. Honestly I haven’t had this much fun in the theater for a good while. The 2019 movie, directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck, is the twenty-first installation in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. On so many levels, this film was a spectacle. It was a great super hero movie that went against the mold of the MCU has been leaning on. It felt like a 90’s sci-fi film that perfected the style of storytelling that made the films we still love today. The super spy movie elements made me feel like we got our Nick Fury solo movie. Now I may be wrapped up in the hype of actually being satisfied by the movie and ignoring some parts that were not perfect, it certainly isn’t the best MCU movie, but also, who gives a shit.

I don’t read Captain Marvel comics. There isn’t a specific reason for it, the character has appeared in multiple other comics I do read like The Avengers, Alpha Flight, and several major crossovers, but I went into this movie not knowing her origin story. And I benefited from it. I have been getting burnt out on the same origin story that Marvel has been pushing; Iron Man, Ant-Man, Doctor Strange, etc. But this movie breaks away from that mold. Sure it isn’t the first one to do something different, but it was still different from every other Marvel movie. There is a certain balance that a cinematic universe movie has to go through; it needs to be capable of holding up on its own, as a solo film, while at the same time using the resources the previous movies have made available. Captain Marvel walks that line very well. They included what we already knew about the Kree, but didn’t rely too heavily on it. There was a few more Easter egg style inclusions from the Guardians of the Galaxy movies, such as the warm hole jump technology. As well as bringing back some more characters and planets, the movie expands on the cosmic side of the Marvel universe.

The Kree v. Skrull war has been talked about from fans ever since the beginning of the MCU, and we finally got it. While everyone on the internet has been freaking out about a woman being in a super hero movie, we’ll get to that later, no one has let anything slip about the Skrulls or how they play into the plot. I loved going into this thing basically blind. The story we get is great and even if you guess where it is going once or twice, there’s no one that wont be surprised by something. War is dirty and complicated. This film doesn’t shy away from the fact that there really are not clear definitions of a good or back guy. The main Skrull is Talos, played by Ben Mendelsohn. The guy just knows how to play a villain so well. Weirdly in this movie, he’s also pretty funny. On the other side of the war are the Krees. We have Djimon Hounsou and Lee Pace reviving their roles from Guardians one as well as some new characters. Gemma Chan, Rune Temte, and Algenis Perez Soto play the characters in Carol Danver’s Kree kill team and they all played their roles great. The leader of this group of soldiers is Yon-Rogg played by Jude Law. I really liked seeing Jude Law expand his acting. If anything lately he was starting to become a character actor, just look at him in Fantastic Beats, but he got to do something different in this movie. I look forward to seeing if they bring the character back for future films, I mean we get to see Ronan again so anything is possible.

Other than the cosmic elements, we have some returning humans from S.H.E.I.L.D. Agent Coulson, played by Clark Gregg, finally comes back to the big screen. It was a nice cameo but nothing more than that. The big entry however is Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury. Apparently they de-aged him with some kind of incredible computer graphics, but I couldn’t even tell. Seriously the character is in the movie a lot, and I never once thought “oh this doesn’t look like him.” I actually forgot he even was older until someone reminded me after the movie. Like I said earlier, this might be the closest we get to a Nick Fury solo film and I’m fine with it. He got to be a super spy, and even better, he did it without the fancy gadgets or infinite resources. The character played really well with Captain Marvel and seeing her interactions with him makes me feel confident there will be no problem blending her into the massive Avengers cast. On a smaller scale we have some supporting characters that really shine. Maria Rambeau, played by Lashana Lynch, and her daughter, Akira Akbar, bring Carol Danvers back to reality. These scenes were a good break from the space aliens and secret agents, and they had purpose. I remember thinking Hawkeye’s family was so forced in Age of Ultron but this was handled a lot better. And if you read comics, you’ll know we might be seeing Monica Rambeau in the future.

I know I might be gushing a bit over this movie but I really wasn’t expecting it to be any good. The Marvel movies are reaching a point where they have to go all out in order to be unique. Aside from that, I didn’t care for the shit storm of media and reviews surrounding Captain Marvel. I wont get into any political opinions here, but I do know people lately have go through great lengths to defend themselves from being considered sexist. And that is either because they hate a movie only because it has a female lead or blindly loving a movie because it has a female lead. If you get emotional about something as small as that, than you have some issues you need to work out. But it still made me worried that this movie would lean in and focus on the controversy like Black Panther did. Much like Carol Danvers character, played by Brie Larson, the movie didn’t really care about any of that. Yes there was some references to women being treated shitty in the 70’s and 80’s… because they were. Especially in the military. But the film doesn’t go out of its way to shoves it down your throat. This movie was about a person standing up and fighting for what she believed in, not about who she will sleep with and not in defiance of any opinions either. Brie Larson is now the only actor I can see playing Captain Marvel. She is a great action hero and exibits the Carol Danvers attitude naturally. Captain Marvel is a hero and Brie is the face behind her. And it isn’t a hero just for women but for all mankind.  Like Carol says “I have nothing to prove.”

The movie wasn’t perfect. They do something with the Kree supreme leader that I really wasn’t a fan of and the more I think about doesn’t even make sense in the context of the film’s rules. The music tries way too hard to recreate the feeling of the first Guardians of the Galaxy soundtrack but with 90’s hits. We get it, we all had radios in the 90’s too, but we don’t need fucking Nirvana playing for literally no reason during a major point in the story. Some of the plot wrapped up a little too easy, mainly due to a cat. But really these are minor things. The amount of positive elements far out-way the negatives. And by the end of the movie they did a great job answering some long pondered questions, some of which Nick Fury will neither confirm or deny.

Captain Marvel survives The Snappening, both on this website as well as in the MCU. She isn’t going anywhere so you better get used to her. She’s not here to make you feel better or to play nice with others. She’s going to fuck you up and you’re lucky if she smiles when she does it. I’m excited to see what she brings to Endgame as well as the cosmic expansion that will follow in the Marvel movies. And hopefully you are a cat person, because I doubt Goose is going anywhere either.

 

Movie watched and review written by: Troy Smith


 

P.S. This is the first MCU movie that takes place after the death of Stan Lee. They do a memorial for him that made me cry. I respect what they did to thank that man.

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