Sorry to burst your bubble, haters, but Captain Marvel is really good.
With all the controversy surrounding Captain Marvel, created by internet trolls, it was refreshing to watch the film and see how wrong they were about it. Captain Marvel has been labeled a feminist film, and it is, but it does so without dragging men down. Instead, the film focuses on women empowerment, sisterhood, and friendships.
We are first introduced to “Vers” (Brie Larson) on the Kree planet Hala, who is part of the Kree’s military branch. Star Force, led by Yon-Rogg (Jude Law). Vers has no clue of her past and how she got on Hala, but she is appreciative of the powers given to her by the Kree. Yon-Rogg takes Vers under his wing as his apprentice in a big brother-sister sort of way and prepares her for war against the Skrulls, an alien race that can take the form of anyone. During a failed mission against the Skrulls, Vers ends up on Earth in the 1990s in search of the Skrull leader, Talos (Ben Mendelsohn). With the help of fresh-faced S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), “Vers” is able to discover her past and the truth behind her power.
Under the direction of Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck, the most interesting parts of Captain Marvel are the friendships between Carol “Vers” Danvers and Fury and ace pilot Maria Rambeau (Lashana Lynch). Captain Marvel may be the first, and necessary, film where there is no love interest for the main character. It was quite refreshing to not have to sit through a potential romantic relationship to drive the storyline (I’m looking at you Vision and Scarlet Witch). Instead, Carol is driven to fight her enemies through her own unwillingness to give up, with some motivation from her friends who remind her what a badass she truly is. Larson, Jackson, and Lynch share such great onscreen chemistry, it’s easy to believe they’re actually close friends in real life.
If there were to be some sort of love story, it’s really between the sisterhood bond between Carol and Maria. We see glimpses of Carol’s past where Carol, Maria, and Monica (Maria’s daughter) shared a life together where your closest friends have become your family.
The film also centers around women no longer putting up with crap to “prove themselves” to anyone but themselves. Larson, who I truly believe is playing a version of herself in the role, shines as Carol, a determined hero who refuses to put up with opposing forces, including the male ego. She doesn’t go out of her way to put men in their place. She only does so if given a reason to. Throughout the film, Yon-Rogg reminds Carol to not use her emotions and that emotions are a sign of weakness, something that many of us have been told in our lifetimes. She is also told that the powers given to her could be taken away. But, it is when Carol realizes everyone has been trying to hold her back from achieving her true powers, she becomes the Captain Marvel we all know from the comics — the most powerful being in the galaxy. Also, watching one woman take down an entire army (shown in the trailers) felt extremely empowering.
One of the strongest aspects of Captain Marvel is the way Marvel crafts their villains. Talos is not a one-dimensional character hell-bent on destroying the Kree and all life on different planets. He is much more than that and is, actually, quite charming as a character to watch. Mendelsohn brings the character some humor and sass in the role, especially when interacting with Fury, who provides just as much humor and sassiness back, if not more.
While it’s far from perfect, due to the slow pacing in the first act and some points of the film requires you to know some MCU and Captain Marvel history, Captain Marvel proves that having a woman hero and women-led creative team doesn’t change Marvel’s formula for success. Boden and Fleck and their team created an inspirational hero that many girls – and boys — could look up to and could probably kick Thanos’ purple ass.