Captain Marvel: A New Face


Image used for review purposes.

Marvel strikes again, this time with another new superhero: Captain Marvel. Captain Marvel, or Vers, is a Kree warrior who is fighting in an intergalactic war against the Skrulls. She doesn’t remember anything about her past, but has inconsistent memories of another life as a U.S. Air Force pilot. When landing on Earth, Vers partners with Nick Fury to defeat the Skrulls and discover the truth about her past.

Captain Marvel answers many questions about the MCU, including the origins of the Avenger Initiative, how Nick Fury lost an eye, how Fury got the pager used at the end of Infinity War, and since the film’s release, Marvel has provided an answer for why Fury didn’t page Captain Marvel earlier, the answer mainly being that we don’t know he didn’t.

Marvel is known for its history of having leading male superheroes, which makes this movie even more special‒Captain Marvel is the studio’s first female-led superhero film. But even while Marvel is aiming for a feminist overtone, Vers isn’t a perfect pinnacle of woman empowerment. She is an independent woman who can defend herself and has fought against others who pushed her down because of her gender, which is great. But Marvel’s delivery is sub-par. The studio’s version of feminism is that women can do the same things as men, but not that they should be able to do anything that men can. In addition, they played the underlying feminist themes so often that it felt overdone and like they were trying to overcompensate for their lack of strong female characters in the past.

A prime example of this is some of Marvel’s music choices. Captain Marvel is full of ‘90s rock and hip hop, which naturally matches the setting and time period of the movie and adds some nice overall “throwback” moments. But not when they’re in the middle of action. During one the big fight scenes of the film, the song “Just a Girl” by Gwen Stefani plays over top the excitement of battle. While it’s supposed to be a touching moment of feminism, it almost seems degrading to Vers’ strength and ability. If Marvel wanted to empower women through playing Gwen Stefani, they would have done better using a normal soundtrack and letting Vers’ power speak for itself.

That being said, Vers’ defining quality is that she is one tough lady‒which is great, especially for a superhero movie. Unfortunately, though, she lacks something on the emotional side. Vers is supposed to struggle with her emotions and controlling her anger, but instead she seems like a blank slate and is stone-faced throughout the entire movie. Whether this is due to bad acting on the part of Brie Larson or just an unusual interpretation of emotional struggle by Marvel is unclear

Captain Marvel also had a few great Stan Lee moments. Marvel paid tribute to one of its main creators by redesigning their opening logo to include pictures of him rather than the normal image of MCU superheroes, as well as included a Stan Lee cameo that has since created a huge paradox in the MCU.

Between Captain Marvel and Infinity War, it’s clear that our new superhero is coming back in Avengers: Endgame, and has a big role in this next film. Make sure to watch out for her on April 26, 2019!