Chain of custody issues will not keep Super Saiyan, Carol Danvers, from winning this 90s era game of Guess Who!
A friend of mine asked if I knew anything about the controversy surrounding Captain Marvel. I didn’t. I explained that once I decide to see a movie, I avoid any promotional materials to avoid spoilers. As a result, I missed out on the Rotten Tomatoes thing. I’m still not 100% clear about what happened, but I think it’s unfortunate to judge a movie on anything other than its quality. So, with all this as preamble, here’s the truth about Captain Marvel:
It’s an okay movie. Brie Larson is good as amnesiac superheroine, Carol Danvers. Samuel L. Jackson is unexpectedly cuddly as a young Nick Fury. Clark Gregg and Lee Pace reprise their roles in cameos as Phil Coulson and Ronan the Accuser. The real stars of the show are Goose the Cat and the late Stan Lee. The acting is high quality.
Where the movie struggles is the story. From the first scenes, Carol Danvers, or “Veers” as she is called by her Kree comrades, is told by her mentor (Jude Law) that she is too emotional to control her incredible power. The question raised is whether emotion is a liability or an asset for Carol, or any woman for that matter. And so, all other conflicts are diminished to the point of irrelevance in favor of Carol rediscovering her power through emotion. There is not any real peril, only emotional awareness. Carol never shows any any vulnerability, she just smirks wryly and kicks all asses. Along the way, she overcomes male oppression and low expectations, proving that being a girl or a woman just means doing things your way.
Nick Fury, Phil Coulson, and Ronan the Accuser also get origin treatment. In perhaps the disappointment of the decade, we see how Nick Fury loses his eye. Phil Coulson’s hair looks great, and Ronan the Accuser is still a dick.
The biggest mystery of all is how the “Core” shows up (this is the chain of custody issue). The Core is actually something important we’ve seen before and should have been with a particular institution, but it shows up here and is used in an entirely different way than we’ve seen in the past, leading me to wonder if the MCU might be taking too many liberties, to the point where they are creating plot holes.
“But, Movie Mechanic,” you’re asking, “what about all the feminism?” Look, I got no problem with the feminism, except it’s only real function is to shorten the story. Remember in Captain America, when Steve Rogers spends the first half of the movie as a courageous wimp who gets beat up by thugs, rejected by women, rejected by the army, and suffering asthma attacks? Those scenes help us connect with Rogers. In Capt. Marvel, those scenes are reduced to sound bites of men being pigs and clips of Carol standing up. I guess this type of male oppression may be a common experience shared by all women, so the director decided to skip past the interesting stuff. But, for me, it changed the focus of the movie from the stated theme, which is that a woman’s emotions are an asset not a liability, and no one can take away something that comes from within you. Instead, it became about beating men at their own game.
In addition, this movie may have introduced plot holes into the MCU involving the events of Avengers (2012). One of those is the Core and how it functions, and the other is space travel. Without the Tesseract, how long would it take Thanos to fly to earth? I used to think earth was a distant and isolated place, but this movie says otherwise.
Overall, it’s an okay movie for me, but I realize that I am not the target demographic. This is a movie for women about women. It was even released on International Women’s Day. I may not see the world the way women do, so I will say this: my wife didn’t like it and my sister loved it. Go figure. I give it 3/5. I was glad I paid to see it in theaters, but I’ll wait for the BluRay before I see it again.