Marvel’s “Captain Marvel” soars to success on multiple fronts

Originally Posted on The University News via UWIRE

Captain Marvel is a near perfect introduction to one of the MCU’s most powerful and respected hero’s…oh and also a total win for women in film….4/5

The success of Marvel Studios is unprecedented—21 films over 10 years without a glaring failure.  A studio that sought out to create a massive shared universe—with mega stars populating their title heroes—Marvel’s product has been at worst, consistently quality, and at best, fantastic.

“Captain Marvel” is on the upper side of that equation.

The latest entry breaks new ground for the MCU which introduces its first solo film for a female hero. While female leads like Jessica Jones and Agent Carter have existed in the MCU, it’s hard to compare the impact and importance of a feature film compared to a Netflix and cable television series.

What Marvel Studios and the directing tandem of Anne Boden and Ryan Fleck ultimately produce is an exciting romp that combines all the action-packed fun of the superhero genre with Top Gun, adding in some of the best humor to date in the MCU, and all the heart and authenticity you can ask for. The titular Captain Marvel (aka Carol Danvers), portrayed by Oscar winner Brie Larson shines, being captivating from the start and dominating every scene she’s in. Larson brings an authenticity to the role that truly allows an audience to buy in to her superhero antics.

While the film is hardly perfect, with several tacky moments that I can already predict hardcore Marvel fans will lament over, what truly makes “Captain Marvel” shine is its ability to tell a story based around a superhero universe that feels grounded in a way that  every fan can relate to.

The core story of “Captain Marvel” follows Carol Danvers (Larson), a Kree warrior with a mysterious through an intergalactic war with the enemy, Skrulls—led by leader Talos (Ben Mendelsohn)—an alien race who can shapeshift into any creature in the universe. After a mission gone astray Carol finds herself on earth in the year 1995. She is soon met with familiar faces Nick Fury (Samuel L Jackson) and Agent Coulson (Clark Gregg), characters who are introduced to their first instance of supernatural abilities. What ensues is the tantum of Danvers and Fury slowly unraveling Captain Marvel’s mysterious past on planet Earth, as well as the truth behind the Kree-Skrull war.

“Captain Marvel” uses many of the tricks other marvel films use to create an enjoyable and exciting environment. While many have criticized the “Marvel Formula”, it’s hard to say that formula isn’t enjoyable. A roaring score accompanied with a slew of nostalgia filled with 90s hits underscore many of the most memorable moments in the film. Similarly, strong comedic performances from Larson, Jackson and Mendelsohn contribute to the familiar feel. A complaint many marvel fans have had in past MCU entries has been injecting comedic moments into unneeded scenes. “Captain Marvel’s” humor feels the most genuine and well ingrained of any film to date. A surprisingly refreshing take on humor in the MCU. But fair warning to adamant MCU haters, this is without a doubt a Marvel film.

Though, the most powerful aspect of “Captain Marvel” isn’t its music, action or humor. It’s the hero’s journey we, as an audience, go on with Carol.

A central arc Carol Danvers faces is her ability to control her super-powered abilities, which appear to be tied to her ability to control her emotions. Throughout her early life we are shown flashes of Danvers being told “no” to opportunities because she is a girl. Weather it being told to go slow when go-karting or when she isn’t permitted to fly jets for the Air-Force, she is consistently rejected for opportunities. Even when she gets her super powers, she is told she cannot serve in the Kree special forces until she can control her emotions. This blight is one I know many women face every day. Beyond the obvious sexism of being denied opportunities because of gender, being criticized for being “emotional” while men are praised for being “passionate” is a battle I see the women in my life fight every day. To see a superhero fight these battles and succeed in such a powerful way is a part of the heart, authenticity and compassion that makes this film great for comic book fans and non-fans alike.

Marvel Studios has been clear about its intention for the future of MCU—Captain Marvel is going to be a pillar of the universe and a core member of the super hero team ups. The MCU higher ups have related the impact of Carol Danvers on the future of Marvel Studios to that of Iron Man, Captain America and Thor. What this movie emphatically says about the future of the genre and the studio is that in Brie Larson/Carol Danver’s hands, the future is secure.

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