By CAMERON BOLTON
The thing I really enjoyed about this movie is that it wasn’t your typical superhero origin story movie. The movie starts with the main character already as a superhero while her origin story is slowly unfolded as the movie goes on, kind of like in Batman (1989). We don’t even learn that Captain Marvel’s (Brie Larson) Earth name is Carol Danvers until midway through the movie.
The movie starts with an amnesiac Carol as a member of this alien space force that criticizes her so much for being emotional, you’d swear they were Vulcans. Instead, they are the Kree, who you might remember from Guardians of the Galaxy and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. where they were portrayed as a race of racist expansionists, save one or two exceptions. Here, they are the good guys, “warrior heroes” as Carol calls them at one point, fighting a race of evil alien shapeshifters called the Skrulls.
The leader of the Skrulls is Talos (Ben Mendelsohn), whose actor doesn’t really strike me as main villain material. Not because he doesn’t look evil, but because he strikes me as looking like someone who thinks they’re a bigshot, only to get put in their place by a masked man with a deep, scary voice. [spoiler] Not that it matters when it’s revealed that the Skrulls aren’t terrorists, they’re refugees being hunted to extinction by a race of racist expansionists, save one or two exceptions.[/spoiler]
As far as feminism films go, I thought this one was good. You have a strong female character who’s first duty isn’t eye candy. The movie also touches upon how hard Carol has to work in a primarily male field, especially amidst complaints about being too emotional, without being heavy-handed about it. [spoiler] The best part of the movie might, in fact, be when Carol tells her evil mentor Yon-Rogg (Jude Law) “I have nothing to prove to you.”[/spoiler]
Also, one of the complaints I heard about Black Panther was that the title character wasn’t very dynamic. Starting the movie as this wise king and a perfect warrior before ending the movie as this wise king and perfect warrior. I’m not sure if I buy that completely myself, but that’s not something that you can say about this movie. We do see Carol grow as a person through the film. Like at the end, [spoiler]where she realizes the answer to the age-old superhero movie question of ‘why do we fall?’ Man, I am on a roll with the Batman references for this review.[/spoiler]
After doing some research online, I found out that Kevin Feige wanted a Captain Marvel and Black Panther movie much earlier. The problem was that Marvel CEO Ike Perlmutter hindered the process due to being cheap and thinking audiences wouldn’t flock to a film unless it had a white male for a lead. I bring all of this up because even after Captain Marvel got the go-ahead, I think there still must not have been much faith in the project, which is why they worked a big name actor like Samuel L. Jackson into the script.
Jackson, who has been digitally de-aged despite him and Angela Basset being the dictionary definition of ‘black don’t crack,’ is just kind of there. With the movie missing out on a great opportunity to give some kind of compelling reason as to why he lost his eye. He doesn’t really do anything noteworthy until the very end of the movie where we see him start working on the Avengers Initiative.
The movie also explains that the Captain Marvel pager that we see at the end of Infinity War was given to him with the explicit instructions that it only be used for emergencies. You know, I’d consider aliens invading New York, S.H.I.E.L.D.’s arch-enemy on the verge of world domination, or a rogue A.I. more than capable of an extinction level event, among other things, to qualify as an emergency, but that might just be me.
None of the returning characters are actually utilized that well either. Agent Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg) and Korath the Pursuer (Djimon Hounsou) only show up a couple times to say some lines while Ronan the Accuser (Lee Pace) only appears twice in the whole movie. The latter of whom is so drastically different from his last portrayal, i.e. not hamming it up as much as humanly possible, he might as well be a new character.
One final note I’ll give is that this movie has a really touching in memoriam for Stan Lee. I sure will miss his numerous cameos across the Marvel universe.