Click here to see where this ranks up with the rest of the MCU.
Our feelings have the capacity to spark decisions that when strongly justified, leave a legacy. Notice Captain Hook: after losing a hand to some flying brat and a crocodile. His pain and fear fueled an ambition dedicated to ridding Peter Pan in order to rest peacefully. As a result, James Matthew Barrie’s creation remains to this day one of the most iconic villains across literature, theater, and cinema. There’s no similar emotional drive from anyone in Captain Marvel, a movie that shows how badly Earth needs someone out of our own world to fight off the great evil Marvel Studios created.
The problems start with the aliens. Remember how Star Trek famously used its aliens as cultural symbolism for more abstract concepts based on the time each episode and movie were made? I remember during my college years twice watching the old Star Trek episode, Let That Be Your Last Battlefield, where the crew meets two beings white on one side of the face and black on the other, to represent the Civil Rights Movement. Marvel’s cheap way of utilizing that is through its alien race of the Skrulls, shape-shifters who could be anyone at any moment: Nick Fury, Stan Lee, Thanos, etcetera. You know, exactly what Invasion of the Body Snatchers did. Yet boys watching this movie will five minutes later forget the overbeaten communism/terrorism allegory as it’s used improperly.
The other world outside our planet, Carol’s home of Hala, feels less like something that will captivate viewers of all ages, and more a like bland inspiration off anyplace that isn’t the United States, leading into unintentional offensive territory much like how Doctor Strange insults the culture of Buddhist monks. Talk about lost opportunities! At least the actual human characters are represented better than the fictional ethnicities of blue-face and green-face; still doesn’t make them good role models, however.
Brie Larson fails to empower women into being perfect leaders as she expresses no prodigy in her performance of distracting plasma-fists—at least Scarlet Johansson puts SOME effort into Black Widow. Captain Marvel marks a massive step-down from Captain America, a man who, unlike his female version, still manages to convey a smidgen of believability through clear strengths and weaknesses. While Marvel Studios' Black Panther coincided (perhaps intentionally) with the Black Lives Matter movement, this movie seems to be well-timed (also could be intentional) with the rising feminist movement. The problem with that is they don’t know how to make a good movie out of a suggested political agenda.
Heck, Brie is just doing the opposite of what she intends, degrading both men and women with her pathetic moments. The origin of her costume colors tries for inspiration, and a scene of claustrophobic corridors midway through has the thrills, and the explanation to how Nick Fury got his eyepatch is appropriately funny, but all the highest points coupled alongside Annette Bening’s painful exchanges with Brie (seriously, they barely let the other finish their sentences) render the cool moments worthless.
The heavy reliance on flashbacks establishes another reason why Captain Marvel goes against what it wants to achieve. While events depict the genesis of S.H.I.E.L.D., it turns annoyingly obtrusive to see Carol’s memories of getting back up after falling down when a conversation would have sufficed. Not to mention the cameraman makes everything too dark and foggy in space and didn’t even bother thinking through how to shoot the scenes in California. The intense lack of care from everyone behind this project tempts one of the Skrulls to shout, “I’m the captain now!” Or better, “There’s no crying in baseball!” Yeah, there are plenty of nineties references in this movie set in that very decade, but not for plot purposes, just aimless nostalgia. These include the kind-of-funny: taking a long time to play a CD, but mostly the cheap: “I’m Just a Girl” playing over the final fight, and a Terminator 2: Judgment Day rip-off of, “I need your clothes, your boots, and your motorcycle.”
It’s straight-up insulting how much this story copies familiarity, including all the lazy plot conveniences that subject this entire screenplay as a massive step down for Marvel Studios. For instance, Carol flies an escape pod perfectly without ever having seen it before, then crash lands by coincidence in her home of six years earlier (of all places)! Marvel’s ship must have let its anchor down way back in 2014 yet somehow keep rowing. Thus, they sunk.
So, O Captain! My captain! May this fearful trip of Marvel be done, but O heart! Heart! Heart! O the bleeding drops of red, where in the theater the audience lies, fallen cold and dead. My captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still, my father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor will, may this cinematic universe anchor safe and sound, its voyage closed and done. Exult O shores, and ring O bells! But I with mournful tread, walk the deck Hollywood lies, fallen cold and dead.
If there is a specific movie you’d like to see graded, or if you are interested in guest blogging for my site, please email me at Trevor@TrevorsViewOnHollywood.com for your recommendations.
Have a great weekend, and happy watching!
Disney Movies. Disney. Web. <https://movies.disney.com/captain-marvel>.
Smith, Chris. “The second ‘Captain Marvel’ credits scene just leaked and you can watch it right here.” Digital image. BGR. PMC Entertainment, 6 Mar 2018. Web. <https://bgr.com/2019/03/06/captain-marvel-spoilers-second-credits-scene-leaked-teasing-endgame/>.
Whitman, Walt. “O Captain! My Captain!” Poetry Foundation. Web. <https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/45474/o-captain-my-captain >.