WARNING: Let’s just start out by saying this will probably have some spoilers. Maybe, maybe not. But if you actually care about the film then go ahead and find other fun Disney world posts to read because I don’t want to be the one to ruin it for you.
When you hear that the MCU is releasing another superhero movie you get excited, right? When you find out that the lead protagonist is going to be a woman, you get hyped even more. Despite pulling in over $455 million (domestically) at the box office this past weekend Captain Marvel has been hugely criticized. Prior to the film’s release, it was targeted by trolls attempting to tank the reviews on Rotton Tomatoes, and of course, the whole “Brie Larson should smile more” ordeal. *side eye*. But I personally kept an open mind.
I feel I have a responsibility to like it because we do need more movies with strong female characters.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe was long overdue for a female lead for many years now. So, when I heard that Captain Marvel was coming out, I couldn’t wait to finally see what they had in store. Having the knowledge that Marvel handles the superhero genre better than anyone out there it was very easy to see that this movie is going to be great, or so I thought. Throughout the movie, I thought, “I really hope this is over soon. I have a podcast to listen to.” I never thought I’d rather listen to a few 30-minute podcast episodes then see a Marvel movie.
Captain Marvel Review
I truly found myself at a loss for words as the credits rolled by. I have been trying to put my thoughts together for a couple of days now as I wanted to make sure this came out right. Even writing this now, I feel weird for saying it but I didn’t like Captain Marvel. The weird part is that I feel I have a responsibility to like it because we do need more movies with strong female characters. But is that a real reason to like a movie – because of a female lead? I say no. Here’s why I didn’t like Captain Marvel.
Origin Story Telling:
Marvel has trademarked they way you tell a proper origin story by hitting certain beats at the right time so that the audience feels as though they are developing with the character as he/she progresses through the movie. Captain Marvel missed a lot of the ques that the MCU has set as a standard origin story. Now I know that this may have been an attempt to tell a different story dynamic as their lead role was played by a woman, but why mess with something that is already proved perfect? Captain Marvel/Carol Danvers’ story was all over the board and for me, I couldn’t quite get into her emotions and what she was going through. This is important for any origin story regardless if the crowd has read it, seen it, or knows about it before the movie comes out. There is a certain validation that comes with knowing the paint-by-numbers way how the character becomes something truly amazing.
When you hear the term “superhero”, you inherently know that this person is going to become unbelievably powerful or heroic, but first must go through some trials for the right to wield their powers. Carol Danvers doesn’t take the progression steps necessary to have the audience be with her in her rise to power. The performance felt very flat from the acting stand point and I wasn’t sure if her emotions really reached anyone in the seats. Captain Marvel was marketed as a strong confident woman who became one the MCU’s strongest allies, but in this origin story, she didn’t make a lot of decisions for herself. She spends 90% of the movie being told who she is and never once questions her own emotions. This is an essential attribute for any hero. To trust their own feelings over what they are being told. Every character in the MCU has gone through the same motions and each time it was proven advantageous. Why change it now? Why mess with the perfect recipe?
Strong Female Lead:
The most promising feature of this movie was that we were going to get a strong Female lead that was going to take charge and show the boys how it was done. Especially seeing how this character is basically the cheat code to fight Thanos in Avengers: Endgame. To say that I was let down completely would be heavy-handed, but I don’t see her as someone who makes her owner choices or follows her own star like every other lead character does. When she finally figures out who she is, it felt like she wasn’t angry for being tricked or lied to at all. She just continues with the mission. Where is the anger? Where is the struggle with right and wrong? The struggle between revenge and forgiveness? The internal battles that all heroes must go through to make the ascension into the superhero realm. Nothing screamed “epitome of female empowerment” to me.
Best part of the movie…
Yep. A cat named Goose. I enjoyed those scenes the most. Those parts were funny and unexpected. Sorta like Baby Groot steals the scene in almost every part of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2, or
Listen, I’m familiar with the MCU, I know my fair share of comic book details, and furthermore, as a person coming in not expecting much, Marvel/Disney definitely dropped the ball on this one. Don’t get me wrong this movie wasn’t all pitfalls. There are a lot of good moments and great actions scenes that truly show off the full power of the MCU capabilities. The movie wasn’t horrible but I’m not going to race out and preorder it. My kids will have to wait to see it when it hits either Netflix or Disney+
My closing thought is this, if this movie wasn’t a female lead does it review as well? Is it criticized the same way? Is the cult following as large? I do wonder everyone’s thoughts if this character wasn’t played by a woman.