Comic Books

‘Captain Marvel” Review: Carol Danvers Takes the Lead

Marvel Studios’ CAPTAIN MARVEL..Captain Marvel (Brie Larson) ..Photo: Film Frame..©Marvel Studios 2019

Captain Marvel isn’t Marvel’s first try at a film centered around a woman superhero. Their last attempt was Elektra, which disappointed at the box office and convinced Marvel not to try again until two years after DC released the record-setting box office smash, Wonder Woman

I never read the comic series, and it isn’t necessary in order to enjoy the movie, but here’s some handy background info on the many Captain Marvels. Somewhat more helpful, but not mandatory, is familiarity with the previous MCU movies, including Guardians of the Galaxy and the Avengers. You will see character overlap, but I think this movie would stand well alone even without that background.

Captain Marvel is an origin story for our superhero set in 1995 and takes advantage of ’90s nostalgia to show us Blockbuster videos, slow internet connections, and grunge fashion. As the movie begins, a Kree warrior with a bit of an attitude problem (Brie Larson) lands on a vaguely familiar planet, known as Earth, and encounters a very young and two-eyed Agent Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and rookie Agent Coulson (Clark Gregg.) Both have undergone some digital de-aging special effects, which can get a little uncanny at times.

Captain Marvel is a decent origin story movie, but it does suffer from the fact that it had to be jammed into the past in order to insert a new, previously MCU-unknown hero into the narrative for the upcoming Avengers: Endgame. That said, it managed to do so and still tell a new story.

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Captain Marvel is (finally) showing us an amazing, strong female superhero that could take on any one of the Avengers and win. Brie Larson’s portrayal is inherently likable. The movie easily passed the Bechdel test, and the directors and costume designers chose to portray her and all other female characters in the movie without any of the sexualized representations that usually cling to women superheroes like a skimpy spandex leotard.

We genuinely believed that this was a woman who wasn’t backing away from fights and wasn’t anyone’s eye candy.

It was refreshing.

My hope is that after Endgame, we see even more Captain Marvel stories without all the white guys named Chris. Carol Danvers is strong enough to take the lead.

As usual, stay until the very end for the post-credits scene. Captain Marvel opens Friday, March 8.

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This post was last modified on March 7, 2019 8:36 am

Marziah Karch

Marziah Karch lives in Portland, Oregon and is the author of multiple books and magazine articles. Bylines include Lifewire, Rodale's Organic Life, Tech Republic, and WIRED. Marziah earned a Ph.D. with a dissertation focusing on the information behavior of indie game designers.

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