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Captain Marvel: Does it soar or plummet?

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Superhero Summaries

Across the last three months, I have watched three superhero films. All of different qualities and caliber: Aquaman, Spiderman: Enter the Spiderverse, and now Captain Marvel. Of the three, Aquaman was a fun diversion that ultimately disappointed. As it failed to hit the epic notes it promised, hovering between slapstick and serious in unbalanced measures. Spiderman was a one-of-a-kind animated film that was so well thought out that it was almost impossible to believe it was on the screen. And now Captain Marvel hits some excellent high notes, keeping the ball rolling across the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

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The three superhero films I saw over the past three months: Aquaman, Into the Spiderverse and Captain Marvel.

The Controversy: Too ‘Feminist’?

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Marvel cover art for Captain Marvel

One of the criticisms of the film before it even released, was that it was just going to be ‘feminist propaganda.’ This came from two factors: 1) It is a film with a female lead in a genre dedicated to male heroes. 2) Brie Larson (Captain Marvel herself) was misconstrued when she asked for more diversity among interviewers. This lead to unfortunate review bombing incidents online on sites such as IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes. Forcing the latter to change its policies.

Another consideration of the ‘fanboys’ was that the trailers presented Carol Danvers as a stoic, emotionless character. They complained with dark humor that she shadowed a plank and did not smile enough in the trailers. As if somehow the character and actress owed them something. However, having seen Captain Marvel, I can say that none of these complaints hold weight.

What is ‘Captain Marvel’ then?

Captain Marvel is an incredible 90’s rollback with a rollicking, rocking soundtrack. It is a space-flick with lasers and lightshows. The film provides a lesson about asylum seekers and women of strength. And most of all, this is a film about the power of human strength. Not a film asking for the removal of men from power. But a film that uses a long-overdue female presence to challenge what it is to be human. And if male viewers cannot handle that, this says more about their insecurity than the film itself.

Brie Larson and Samuel L. Jackson provide dynamic performances. Jackson in particular provides a performance that leads the viewer to believe he is a young version of the Nick Fury they have met previously. But Larson’s mixture of dynamism, charisma, bravado and conflict holds together the entire film.

How does ‘Captain Marvel’ rank in the MCU?

Compared to other films in the MCU, this adventure is much quieter. It is an origin film that introduces the character with the mixture of quietness and elegance it deserved, and battled incredible and almost insurmountable odds. While Black Panther and Infinity War are arguably better films, this is still a worthy adventure. It meets the weight of expectations and delivers a quieter piece. That introduces a mix of Marvel references and universe building, but also provides links to all the other films through Carol Danvers as a character.

The greatest aspect of the film was the themes from my perspective. The film combined all the concepts within its screentime to present a film with the overwhelming concept that the truth of being a hero is not in denying one’s humanity. Rather being a hero relies on accepting one’s humanity. Sadly too many will miss these valuable lessons through choosing to act out of hatred (ironically a message in the film). For me, the most powerful moment in the film comes in one end scene. I will not spoil this moment, suffice to mention it was a moment about validation. Where the film’s hero conveyed that she did not need validation to be a hero.

In the same way, with all that is to come and all that is behind: Captain Marvel does not need your validation. Yet it is a truly worthy addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I fully recommend watching Brie Larson’s performance developing into the most heroic powers of a fully fledged Captain Marvel.

8.5/10

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Captain Marvel

8.5

Rating

8.5/10

Pros

  • Another excellent Marvel film
  • Great Soundtrack
  • Great visuals
  • Excellent action performances

Cons

  • Plotting was a little slow in places
  • The timing of the film - just before End Game promised more than the film could deliver
  • Teases the audience too much for End Game
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