“Captain Marvel” is the next step in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) and it truly shatters all expectations for a female lead movie.
The film, directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck, stars Brie Lawson as Carol Danvers, A.K.A. Captain Marvel. Danvers is a military agent for an alien civilization called the Kree based on the planet Hala. She is trained by Yon-Rogg, portrayed by Jude Law, the military commander of the Kree Starforce. The Starforce acts as a black ops team in the Kree war against the Skrulls, a race of shapeshifters accused of taking over planets by infiltrating them. After a botched mission, Danvers is kidnapped and interrogated by a Skrull strike team and after escaping, crash lands on Earth. Her spectacular entry to Earth’s atmosphere alters her presence to a young Nick Fury, portrayed by Samuel L. Jackson, agent of a secret government organization called S.H.I.E.L.D. Danvers and Fury team up to investigate the Skrull’s interest in Earth and Danvers’ mysterious past.
The film’s power comes from the focus on Danvers as a character and not her relation to other characters, which is something that female lead movies often suffer from. Danvers is a flawed character who feels extraordinarily realistic. She doesn’t pull punches, and she doesn’t say sorry to anyone in this movie. The writing in the film treats Danvers as her own woman. The common feature of screenwriting for superhero movies is to shoehorn a romantic subplot to pad the runtime for a movie. “Captain Marvel” absolutely does not do that. This movie is an action movie through and through. That is not to say there aren’t moments of rest between heated action scenes, but this is a superhero movie that breaks the mold in a few ways.
There has been a trend in MCU movies to almost be like links in a chain. Each movie is just being made to link into the next one. After “Avengers: Infinity War” was announced, this trend was increasingly so. To be clear, movies put out by Marvel Studios are not bad movies, but they have increasingly felt like prequels to movies that don’t need them. “Captain Marvel” does not give off that impression. It is a movie that completely stands for itself. One could even make the argument that “Captain Marvel” could be taken out of the MCU canon and exist on its own. There are clear references to the greater MCU, but they don’t detract from the story at all and they genuinely enhance the viewing experience.
“Captain Marvel” was not without its controversy, though. Prior to the film’s release, many online reviewers gave the film poor reviews on movie review website Rotten Tomatoes. The reviews had the overall message of the movie being “feminist propaganda” or “social justice propaganda.” This assessment was ultimately fueled by the small-minded idea that a movie starring a female lead must be completely dependent on that female lead’s subservience to a male lead.
“Captain Marvel” is a joyful experience at the movies. It has comedy, action, and an intriguing mystery for moviegoers to figure out. “Captain Marvel” receives an A rating.