Superhero movies are a dime a dozen and there are millions who complain about the lack of originality that Hollywood churns out every year but the reality is as long as they keep making money then you don’t reinvent the wheel.
They are so commonly shoved down the masses throats that it produces satirical anti-hero or anti-superhero movies like the enormously popular Deadpool or the upcoming Brightburn horror/thriller – effectively the origin story of Superman but what if he was actually evil instead?
But while Marvel wraps up “phase three” of their master plan with the penultimate Captain Marvel, it didn’t meet the hype hysteria of being marvelous.
There are exactly seven weeks until the biggest blockbuster of the year, Avengers: Endgame, hits theaters. The sequel to Avengers: Infinity War might be one of, if not the most, anticipated movie of this millennium given that it’s the last installment of the culmination of 22 films (21 if you don’t count Edward Norton’s 2008 The Incredible Hulk).
Outspoken feminist and Oscar-winning actress Brie Larson leads a solid cast in Captain Marvel that includes Lashana Lynch, Annette Bening, Jude Law, Ben Mendelsohn, and of course, Samuel L. Jackson.
Helmed by the director duo, Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden – known for Half Nelson, It’s Kind of a Funny Story and Sugar – it’s about as average as it gets for a Marvel production, which ironically means it’s still a lot better than most big budget action or science fiction movies.
One thing’s for sure though, it isn’t marvelous by any stretch of the imagination and the hype was overblown.
The story follows a smart-ass wisecracking extraterrestrial Starforce member, Vers (Larson), who lives on Kree Empire’s capital planet of Hala. During a dangerous mission to recover an undercover Kree operative who infiltrated a group of shapeshifting creatures called Skrulls, Vers is captured.
When she manages to escape on a pod, Vers crash lands into a Blockbuster Video in Los Angeles, California. Surprise, while it seems like we’re in some high-tech future, it’s only 1995 on Earth.
That’s when Vers meets Shield Agent Nick Fury (Jackson) where they journey to find a scientist who may have created a light-speed engine. Meanwhile, Skrulls have infiltrated Earth and you don’t know who to believe is who. But when Vers consistently has ambiguous dreams of Earth, you may learn that she might have a history there.
Larson called it a meditation on “intersectional feminism,” which according to the author who coined the term, Kimberle Crenshaw, means “The view that women experience oppression in varying configurations and in varying degrees of intensity. Cultural patterns of oppression are not only interrelated, but are bound together and influenced by the intersectional systems of society. Examples of this include race, gender, class, ability, and ethnicity.”
In other words, it’s an evolution of feminism that is not simplistically defined by being pro-female power, it’s a combination of a lot of different societal constructs. For instance, a rich educated white woman is only held by a sole oppression – being a woman.
This is notable in the relationships that the characters have with each other,if pointed out would lose the surprise of some twists, but it’s there.
In fact, the filmmakers really shove it down your throat to the point of being annoyingly redundant. There is a specific scene where they show Larson’s character facing adversity at different times in her life – getting back up with her empowered fists pointed downward as if to see “nobody is going to keep down. Not now, not ever.” It’s enough to make your eyes roll at just how often they do it.
The acting is top-notch with sneaky good performances from Ben Mendelsohn and Lashana Lynch. Other than that, the film had some pacing and structural issues that weren’t glaring but were unbecoming of the quality that we’ve come to expect of a Marvel movie.