By Emerald Green
After Captain Marvel’s long history of switching comic book franchises, genders, and suits, Marvel Studios’ latest rendition hit theaters on Friday, March 8. It was no coincidence that Marvel Studio’s first solo female lead movie hit theaters on International Women’s Day as the story confronts modern issues like feminism (and more unexpectedly, immigration). This chapter of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) takes place in 1995 when BlockBuster Video was still popular, and S.H.I.E.L.D. (Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division) was first formed. It only received an 80% on Rotten Tomatoes, probably because the film is not plot-driven, but most of Marvel’s origin stories are not. It still debuted at the top of the box office, earning $455 million worldwide and is the sixth-highest worldwide opening of all time, falling second within the studio only to “Black Panther” (2018).
Just months after his passing, the film waited no time to pay its respects to Stan Lee. It began with replacing the reel of scenes from past Marvel movies that fill the Marvel logo title sequence with images of the creator, completing the idea that he is Marvel. Later, Lee makes his traditional cameo with short, sweet exchanged smiles with Captain Marvel herself. He had no lines, unlike his other cameos, but he didn’t need any for the audience to feel his presence. These were nice and necessary tributes for fans who still mourn the genius’ passing.
There was no one else more suited to play the titular role than the Academy Award-winning actress Brie Larson. Somehow Larson manages to encompass both a powerful and adorable spirit in Carol Danvers/Vers/Captain Marvel. With a complicated story such as an Air Force pilot turned alien turned superhero, the film effectively showcases Carol Danvers as always being comfortable with who she is even when she wasn’t sure who that person was. Danvers embodies every woman who wants to do something great but has been told they can’t because they’re female. In Danver’s case, she has always been told that she’s too emotional (a comment that almost every woman has heard at least once in their lifetimes), but she eventually uses that to her advantage and learns to appreciate it as one of her greatest strengths.
Samuel L. Jackson returns as a younger and spry Nick Fury at the beginning of his career, before he’s ever seen a superhuman or extraterrestrial. Instead of hiring a younger actor to play the character thirty years ago, Marvel Studios decided to use Jackson and flawlessly CGI-ed his face to make the 70-year-old look decades younger. (However, those CGI skills were more lazily implemented to animate Captain Marvel’s final form.) Jackson’s portrayal of Fury is essentially the same as it’s always been, just with one more eye than audiences are used to. Surprisingly, Fury was an intense cat-lover in the mid-90s, and fans finally learn how Fury actually lost his left eye, and it’s not the dramatic tale they might have envisioned.
In regards to the other characters, this has to be Jude Law’s most forgettable performance as Yon-Rogg because he is not exactly an evil villain and more just a lame jerk. It seems like a waste to use a talented actor like Jude Law in such a boring character. Lashana Lynch plays Maria Rambeau, another strong female character for audiences to admire in an Air Force pilot and single mother, but her character is everything you expect her to be and nothing more. Ben Mendelsohn portrays Talos, a leader within the Skrull alien species, but with as much complexity as his character has, Mendelsohn should have had a little more fun with the role.
Despite the film’s other technical advances and impressive CGI, it just didn’t sound right. When the music should have increased in intensity to tell the audience how to feel or give them goosebumps, it just didn’t. The music was not dynamic at all. While the story takes place in a great era for music, the soundtrack doesn’t take advantage of more 90s classics, the sequence of Nirvana’s “Come As You Are” and No Doubt’s “Just a Girl,” one right after the other, only comes to mind.
It was not until the very end that the film reveals how Captain Marvel connects to “Infinity War” (2018) in the traditional end-credit scenes featuring a bearded Captain America (Chris Evans) and a platinum blonde Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson). Fans get their first taste of what happened after Nick Fury paged Captain Marvel before turning to dust, and it only built up the already high anticipation for next month’s release of “Avengers: Endgame.”
Overall, there was so much room for more— from the soundtrack to dull scenes that could have benefited from a few more laughable lines. Had these overlooked aspects of the movie-making process been cared for with the attention that they deserved, “Captain Marvel” would have soared “higher, further, faster.” It is undeniable that Captain Marvel is an important character that is going to change the future of the MCU, and with a plot twist that leaves the audience feeling guilty about distrusting certain characters in the movie for the wrong reasons and the common theme of being underestimated in general, it is still a very important movie to see with lessons from which everybody can learn.