Review: MARVEL STUDIOS CAPTAIN MARVEL – “…The Cat Did What!?”

Review by Sam Beard

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Photo courtesy of @AlanahSees, taken at Captain Marvel world premiere March 4th, 2019

After attending a press screening of CAPTAIN MARVEL on Monday, I felt like I could do anything. I was full of joy and just could not stop smiling. This is a welcome feeling for me, after some other Marvel Studios origin films left me cold. I think CAPTAIN MARVEL presents a unique and powerful origin story that perfectly illustrates who Carol Danvers is, and how she fits into the scope of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

I went into the film with almost no expectations. I love Brie Larson in her earlier work, namely UNITED STATES OF TARA. She gets dressed up in a very fancy superhero getup in that show as well.

Long Live Princess Valhalla Hawkwind!

I was so excited when the Captain Marvel casting announcement happened in Hall H at San Diego Comic-Con, and now years later, the movie is finally about to enter the MCU canon. It’s a huge deal for any female Marvel fan. There are so many strong women in the MCU, and a lot of them could carry their own film (I’m looking at you Shuri!) so it’s about time we got this femme lead film.

Despite the opinions of certain fans, I feel that this is one of the strongest entries into the Marvel Universe, and a lot of my reasons have almost nothing to do with the fact that Carol is a woman.

Captain Marvel digs into mental health and psychological warfare. Carol has to deal with memory loss throughout the movie, and as a result, she spends a lot of time questioning who she is and who she can trust. Her enemies, and even some friends know more than she does but don’t divulge the truth about her past for various reasons. She’s left facing a somewhat existential internal war because of this withholding of information. Her struggle is pretty unique in the MCU. It brought to mind Steve Rogers’ struggles to find his place in a new time. There are a lot of similarities between the two characters and I think Cap fans will love Carol.

The internal struggles were also reinforced through the Kree Supreme Intelligence, the AI system that runs the Kree homeworld. It’s almost like a boggart for the Kree, showing each Kree resident a different person depending on their unique experiences. Carol’s confrontation with the Supreme Intelligence was another very personal fight. Psychological manipulation is a big theme in this movie thanks to the shapeshifting Skrull as well. During one section in particular, anyone could be a Skrull in disguise and it was easy to get wrapped up in the deception. I hope we get to see more of the Supreme Intelligence, Skrull, and of the planet Hala in future films.

The storytelling was so stellar in this film. One thing I was worried about for this late stage origin story was that it would feel too disconnected from the previous films. I could not have been more wrong! The writers found lots of small ways to connect Carol to the events of earlier movies, going way back to the beginnings of the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. TV show. Carol inspired Nick Fury in so many ways that weren’t apparent before, and it was fascinating to see how much of an impact the short time they spent together had on Fury and on S.H.I.E.L.D.

Having very few expectations, I was pleasantly surprised to see a big focus on the Kree-Skrull War. It’s something I’ve been waiting for since the early days, and it’s amazing to see it play out in such a big way. Up until now, these alien races have mostly been background players or antagonists and it was cool to see a different side of this fight. Marvel excels at bringing out the emotional side of a conflict, and Captain Marvel is no exception. The attention to coexistence, and finding common threads between disparate people is so relevant. This film reads more like a Sci-Fi piece than your standard Superhero action film, and I loved that.

There is a lot of fun and humor in the film as well. Carol herself has a fairly dry wit, which I loved. She’s not an over the top, bubbly, perky person. She carries herself with a fair amount of gravitas and a heaping helping of snark. Her and Fury together make for a really dynamic pair. Goose, a cat, is one of the best new creatures introduced. He brought a lot of levity and heart to the screen as well. He’s also responsible for one very iconic feature of the MCU, but you’ll have to watch and find out. There are a few big MCU questions that finally get answered throughout the movie, so keep your eyes open!

If you’re on the fence about seeing the latest installment in the MCU, my advice is to run to the nearest movie theatre! I think Guardians of the Galaxy fans will love it, along with fans of the emotional depth of Steve Rogers. I can’t wait to see how Carol Danvers will relate to the Avengers in End Game. Be sure to stick around through the credits!

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