The latest Captain Marvel (because there is a history of characters called Captain Marvel) is stranded on Earth after a mission with her Kree unit against their age-old enemies, the shape-shifting Skrulls. Captain Marvel sense that she has been on Earth before but before she can unravel the mystery of her past, she has to fight the evil Skrulls who are chasing her. Will she piece her past life together?
I was surprised by this movie. It does not follow a classic plot and it was weird not knowing exactly when I was in the first or the second act. This is not a criticism at all. I wish more movies were not as obvious. All of the familiar Marvel universe tropes and feel is in this movie set in 1995. For some reason, I wish it had been a bit earlier, but it really does not matter. One thing that I do not like about this movie is how Captain Marvel is billed as the most powerful Avenger. Based on what was shown, Thor, Doctor Strange, and Vision still feel very much in the higher echelon of power at Marvel.
This movie has been targeted by some because of a few comments deemed insulting to white men and most of the reviews it gets will reflect on the attempt to discredit and bash the film. Do remember that most movie reviewers are white men. Brie Larson did not say anything controversial though. She said that she wanted a more diverse crowd reviewing and commenting on her movie as opposed to the same old white guys. This was deemed an attack on white men. I would try to point out more of the logical fallacies of people pissed at Larson but it probably would not change much.
The movie has a girl positive message. So yes, Captain Marvel comes off as a Pollyanna. It also hints at the larger history of Marvel characters called Captain Marvel with Monica Rambeau taking a large role in this film. In the comics, Rambeau was the first woman to be called Captain Marvel. It’s funny because if the role model trope was used between men, this would not bother. Iron Man 3 had such an interaction between Tony Stark and a boy. Stark has the same relationship with Spider-man. Because it is so unusual it glares and feels like social justice preaching in Captain Marvel. The intent of the writers is certainly there but before crying foul, compare the Carole Danvers/Monica Rambeau relationship with the Iron Man /Spider-man one first.
Many of hand-to-hand fight scenes were too closely shot to be well appreciated. As for the visual effects of the space-bound dog fights and Captain Marvel’s use of her powers, they looked more like a videogame and made it difficult to empathize with the characters. When one watches the classic dog fights in the classic Star Wars films, one can appreciate the choreography of spaceships fighting one another. In Captain Marvel, we get an impression that does not move the plot much.
This movie feels to me like Ant-Man and the Wasp. It is good but not incredible. It would be forgettable if not for the controversy around white male reviewers. This controversy should only bother white male reviewers who have enjoyed over a hundred years as unchallenged taste-makers in films. I am not sure why other white men feel attacked by this. Larson wants more diverse reviewers than the usual crowd. Surely white men will agree that they do not speak for everybody. This is really what seems to bother the afflicted men that criticize Larson.
This movie does not consider men its first audience. Why should it? The movie is not great nor bad so white men do not need the manufactured controversy to dislike it. Now, having written that, I understand that this film is neither for me, and that there is a good chance that female audiences and young girls in particular will enjoy it very much. This movie is for them, so I encourage them to check it out. However, while not memorable, it will also appeal to men.
I wish that society was not so divided that a movie with a positive message for younger girls would be seen as an attack on white men.