Released: 7th March
Seen: 6th March (Advance Screening)
Have you ever been looking forward to a movie, one you’re sure is going to be a lot of fun with some cool characters and funny lines but then you go online and learn that it’s an evil piece of feminist propaganda meant to cuck all the men and turn them into soy boys, or whatever the hell idiots online think feminism will do to them? Yeah, that’s basically how it’s been building up to this movie, The internet has turned into a constant barrage of idiots taking the lead actresses quotes out of context and pretending they’re anti-men or being giant raging turd monsters telling a woman to smile because they looked at 4 pictures where she isn’t and that means she never does. Oh, oh and then there’s the other thing where people who haven’t seen any movie ever said that instead they’re going to go see Alita instead of Captain Marvel because Alita isn’t at all a feminist movie and is totally apolitical, even though it’s literally a movie about a lower class being lied too and oppressed by the one percent and the only hope for anyone is a woman who is surrounded by flaming garbage dumpsters in the shape of men. Basically, I have hated every single discussion building up to the release of this movie because it has slowly sapped me of my hopes for humanity and now that I have seen it… this is what you were scared of? This? THIS IS WHAT FRIGHTENED SO MANY MEN ONLINE, PEOPLE!
Captain Marvel follows Carole Danvers (Brie Larson), who only knows herself as Vers, a member of a Kree military unit. She only has memories of the last 6 years of her life but throughout that time she knows she’s been at war against the Skrull’s. Skrull’s are beings who can shapeshift into anyone that they see, copying them down to the DNA. When a battle with the Skrull’s sends Carol down to earth in the year 1995, she must not only deal with the Skrull’s that are now infiltrating earth but she also has to find out why she feels a connection to this planet and just what caused her to lose so much of her memory. The only people who can help her on this journey is Nick Fury (Samuel Jackson) and an adorable little cat named Goose (Played by four very adorable and very smart kitties).
When it comes to Marvel movies, I pretty much universally expect them to be good. Yes, they do seem to have a very similar formula and what set’s some of them apart are the very specific flourishes that they put on that formula, but it works and usually provides me with a few hours of quality entertainment. This film has several jobs that it needs to do during its 124-minute runtime. The first thing is that it is the first in the Marvel Cinematic Universe to have a female lead, yes that’s an important thing to bring up because this kind of thing actually matters. The second thing is that it needs to make sure we not only understand who Captain Marvel is as a character, but why she was the one Nick Fury paged in his final few seconds during Infinity War (If that was a spoiler for you… why are you not sitting through the credits of MCU movies? This should be a thing we learn to do through cultural osmosis at this point). Lastly, it needs to be fun. We keep forgetting that superhero movies, in general, are meant to just be fun. Sure we can do cool dark stuff with them, but that dark stuff only works with the light fun stuff for it to bounce off of. Let’s go through these three things one at a time.
With this being the MCU’s first movie with a female lead character, there’s a ton of weight behind this. In the same way that Black Panther had a lot of excitement built into it just because of what it meant on a cultural level. This film really doesn’t lean into that, because it doesn’t need to. It’s a Marvel movie, there are certainly a few moments when they do bring up the legitimate hardships that women in society have to go through when dealing with… well, society. For the majority of the film though, they just made Captain Marvel a fun character with a lot of great jokes and some amazing fight scenes. There are so many moments in this movie where Captain Marvel basically takes on entire armies by herself and they’re amazing sequences. In the trailer there’s a train fight that begins with her (seemingly) punching an old woman in the face and it’s one of the most awesome fights with expert choreography, and also is where the Stan Lee cameo can be found (and it’s possibly his only cameo as Stan Lee in one of these movies, which I enjoyed on a meta level).
When it comes to explaining why she was Nick Fury’s last call, they don’t shy away from making it clear how strong she is. For a large amount of the movie the plot revolves around her trying to find her strength, a strength she believes has been given to her by the Kree and can, therefore, be taken away from her. It’s honestly amazing watching her grow and learn every new skill that she will inevitably be using in Endgame. She is being formed in front of us and it’s awesome to watch. Seeing her taking on room after room full of super-powerful beings makes it very clear why she was called on by Nick Fury… and they also make it clear why they never called her before now, in the same way they often explain why Thor or Hulk aren’t around. She’s a force to be reckoned with and possibly one of the most powerful superheroes in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Finally, the fun in this movie is endless. Sure it starts off emotional with a brilliant Stan Lee tribute that was so heart-warming that it got applause in the cinema that I saw it in, but once we get through that we’re on a really fun ride that doesn’t stop. So many great moments happen, some funny one-liners, great battle scenes and the most amazing cat to ever be put on film. Seriously, the cat steals so many scenes that it’s in and not just because it’s a precious fluff ball but because there are genuine laughs attached to what they do with that cat. The story builds at an easy pace, it’s really simple to follow what’s going on and we even get some cool bits of lore that just add onto the rich tapestry that is the MCU. Also, Annette Benning is having an absolute blast in her role and I am so glad that she got to be part of this movie because she was just a ton of fun.
Are there political messages in this film? Well, I can’t say it was intentional but I will say that having an entire movie where the conflict is about border security and the welfare of people trying to cross that border is kind of loaded, but handled really well and does try and examine just what this means… albeit, exploring it with giant alien creatures, but still exploring it. There are ideas here; there are complexities behind the bright colours and occasional shots of Salt ‘N’ Pepa. The use of 90’s iconography is certainly there, Blockbuster and Radio Shack get two big posthumous shout outs and there are some jokes that only 90’s kids will understand, but it just gives the film a specific kind of charm that helps it break apart from the rest of the MCU.
Is this the best Marvel movie yet? Not in my opinion, but we are only a year past Black Panther and Infinity War so that bar is high. I can’t pretend that every joke landed and there were some moments when some things just didn’t work for me or some characters that really felt like they had no business being there (Seriously, why is Ronan the Accuser in this movie? I love Lee Pace as much as the next Pushing Daisies fan and I will always be happy to see more Lee Pace in anything, but Ronan the Accuser is literally the most boring villain in all of the MCU, why is he here?). It’s certainly a great movie on its own that does exactly what you want it to do. It’s full of charm, action set pieces that capture the imagination and the best kitty of all kitties. There is a ton to enjoy here, and you’re going to want to see it all because after this, we’re at the Endgame my friends and there is nothing that’s stopping this MCU train from hitting home runs every single time.
PS: There are 2 end credits scene. The first one is basically essential in terms of preparation for Endgame, the second one is a joke ending but it’s absolutely awesome because of the best kitty ever.