No Concessions: ‘#CaptainMarvel’ good film; better setup for #Endgame

Friday evening I experienced the MCU’s 22nd feature in Captain Marvel. The unknown recipient of Nick Fury’s post-credits 9-1-1 page was finally revealed in a fun, nostalgia-inducing film. Carol Danvers (Brie Larson) shapes her own destiny after uncovering secrets of her past. With the truth free, she sets out to become the hero the galaxy deserves.

It’s been a long time coming for Carol, aka Vers, as she is known to her Kree companions on planet Hala. Twenty-one films and a little over a decade later, Marvel unleashed its first film top-billed by a woman. And no one better to hold the title than the comics’ namesake heroine.

This Cap is one of the most powerful in Marvel comics, able to ascend galaxies in single leaps. Her fists release mighty photon blasts; and, at full potential, she illuminates a sun-like energy, tracing the dark universe with streaks of light.

Before she can soar, Vers must fall – literally – to Earth. After a extraction mission goes awry, the Kree warrior finds herself stranded on Planet 53-C aka Earth, circa 1995. Plummeting through a Blockbuster Video’s roof, she’s approached by two S.H.E.I.L.D agents – Samuel L. Jackson’s Fury and Gregg Clark’s Phil Coulson, both appearing decades younger thanks to Marvel’s digital de-ageing mechanism. With their assistance Vers attempts to return home. But memories of a foreign past leads her to a different path, one that changes the makeup of the universe as all know it.

Larson is superb as Danvers, embodying both the focused discipline and vulnerable uncertainty with ease. She handled her action scenes like a pro – specifically an early bout with some seedy Skrulls. And she lifts the comedic portions with Jackson as if they’ve worked together for years.

As the film proceeds on, its underlying message of empowerment becomes clearer. One of the strongest vices Carol must overcome is the assessment she must bury portions of her innate self to prove her ability. It’s a radiant theme throughout the film, showcasing how much more powerful all are when incorporating all of one’s self.

In this case specifically, Vers is taught to subdue her emotions, for they impair a solider’s focus. But it’s only when she taps into her intuition that she’s made whole, able to flex the best of her powers. A message fit to dismantle historical notions that emotional women cannot achieve in a man’s world. Not only do they succeed, but they exceed expectations.

While it was essentially another origin film, I appreciated certain tweaks. The method to trace our protagonists’ memories was interesting, and reminded me of Walter Hayes’ memory lapses portrayed in season 3 of HBO’s True Detective. I also lived for the fact our female protagonist wasn’t bound to a romantic co-star. I feel this was the main flaw in Wonder Woman.

Instead of a man, Danver’s family was Maria Rambeau (Lashana Lycnh) and her daughter Monica – clearly a setup for the present-time Marvel hero. It was beautiful to see that kind of female camaraderie. We will hopefully see more of these women-centric relationships in films like DC’s Birds of Prey and Black Panther 2.

My only fault, if any, was never having a moment during the film. I remember distinctively getting chills as Gal Gadot’s Diana ruptured through a building’s roof during a battle scene. And devolving into tears as Angela Bassett’s Ramonda shouted at T’Challa during his battle with M’Baku. I was awaiting that hair-raising scene, and never go it.

Maybe it was because of my unfamiliarity with the character, or just knowing this was the only thing standing in the way of Avengers: Endgame. Nonetheless, the movie continues Marvel’s success at the box office and run at this comics’ film thing. They can only go higher and further from here.

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