By Sonali Mathur, CAS Class of 2020 (English and Journalism)
Bedford Square News, Spring 2019, Issue 1
(above) Captain Marvel Teaser Poster, IMDB
Fans will be more than pleased with Marvel’s latest: a prequel, starring Brie Larson as the feisty Captain Marvel, that takes us back before the Avengers was formed.
It’s a classic Marvel movie, complete with an origin story, extraterrestrial beings and superhuman villains, the world at stake, and in the end, of course, a predictable yet still captivating victory against the villains. Through a series of flashbacks that are as confusing to the heroine as they are to the audience, we delve into the world of Carol Danvers aka “Vers” and her mixed-up identity; which planet is she from? Who is she really? Memories of a troubled childhood, fun times singing karaoke, and piloting American air-force planes with her long-lost best friend (Lashana Lynch) resurface.
We finally get to see more of Nick Fury than just his minutes-long cameos; Samuel L. Jackson is badass and charming as a young Shield agent who quickly switches over to Vers’s side after seeing for himself that the Skrulls–shapeshifters from another planet–are causing chaos on earth. Together they set out to find out who Vers truly is, who the woman in her head is, and to defeat the real, and surprising, evil. Their chemistry brings a sense of quirky friendship and warmth to the screen; some great scenes include a road-trip and them trying to escape from a locked USAF office.
The movie suffers from the usual marvel tropes: “funny” comments that are meant to give heroes and villains a personality, a somewhat rushed and predictable ending (Vers has wasted years learning martial arts when she can easily just blow up her enemies) and scenes verging on cringing sentimentality; the heroine’s hug that stretches too long with an old friend who she’s only recently reconciled with due to her memory loss, as well as Larson’s almost performative sympathy for the Skrulls.
Yet, it is more loveable than the average Marvel movie, perhaps due to the direction (Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck) which slips slightly away from the usual Marvel formula. There is a twist that I truly did not see coming.
We see true girl-power as Vers breaks from the hold that Yon-Rogg (Jude Law) has on her. He’s spent years telling her to “control her emotions”; its immensely rewarding that it is the force of those very emotions, rather than the absence of them, that powers her to defeat evil in the end.
Larson gives us the superhero we need. Vers is sassy and funny, she wears flannel and leather jackets and steals motorbikes, and is capable of navigating a planet unknown to her in a manner more eloquent than Thor’s. She can punch, kick shoot fire, fly and even glow. She can do it all, which leaves me wondering how, or whether, it is possible for anyone to defeat her or at least match her level. I guess she is the superhero that Avengers: Endgame needs.