Flying Higher and Higher with the Dreams of Captain Marvel, but What’s Next?

15 Mar

Image result for captain marvel movie posterBy Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

* Spoiler Alert

Captain Marvel is the final film in stage four of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. When most viewers know that Thanos is a threat and not many superheroes can go toe to toe with him, we need a character who can. Carol Danvers (Brie Larson) is a type who wants none of this alpha male stuff if her standalone movie is any indication. Before her awakening, though, she’s was a grunt in a team known as the Starforce, and Yon-Rogg (Jude Law) wastes no time putting her (known as Vars) in her place.

Throughout this film, we slowly learn this protagonist suffered lots. Danvers had a rough life as a child. She was tomboyish. Later, she had to deal with misogyny in boot camp, Hints from the trailers show’s she will be a Top Gun, and these flashbacks certainly take a bit of inspiration from Tom Cruise’s film. The tracks chosen to complement this theme is good, but I found it unusual that Van Halen’s “Dreams” was not included. This tune would have been bang on.

Danvers is essentially Emelia Earhart. Writers Nicole Perlman, Meg LeFauve, Anna Boden, Ryan Fleck and Geneva Robertson-Dworet must have drawn upon this historical figure as inspiration. To make this origin story different, we see her in medias res. She’s a soldier getting flashbacks to a life she does not recognize. When the mission she is on takes a turn for the worst, the dog fight in space sends her in a tizzy. When she crash lands on Earth, memories are slowly being reawakened and she has to make a decision in which side to fight for. In war, plenty of subterfuge can happen and I was half expecting The Guardians of the Galaxy to pop up since they are just as involved in this interstellar conflict.

Instead, this film bounces between revealing how Danvers lost her memory and gained her powers. She has the ability to fly faster than light and shoot plasma bolts. She’s no different than Superman and it’s her empathy which sets her apart from other heroes.

Image result for captain marvel nick fury

This film nicely subverts the origin movie formula somewhat, so the tale is not as cut and dry. It’s certainly a film for young ladies to take inspiration from.

When this protagonist thinks she’s alone, she finds an ally with Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson). I quite enjoyed this character’s inclusion into much of the narrative, and while the explanation behind why he lost his left eye felt trite, I simply rolled with it. Both Jackson and Ben Mendelsohn (who was amazing despite having to wear a huge rubber mask) kept the film fresh. They are amazing presences and it’s hard for them to not outshine Larson.

The scene-stealing cat, I just do not know. As sudden and amusing as those bits were for those in the know (Goose is part of the Captain Marvel mythos), he is not Cathulhu! If Lovecraft’s work ever becomes part of this cinematic universe, it will become a misstep. Crossover is inevitable with Guardians of the Galaxy and Doctor Strange, and I look forward to seeing The Living Tribunal become part of the lore in the next phase of Marvel movies. With more films seeing the heroes in space, a new mythology is opened up for future films to explore.

It’s either that or seeing the Kree-Skrull take on a greater role and perhaps finding surviving Celestials. When half the entire universe has disappeared, I feel more space-faring civilisations will have to team up than to wage a continued war. That’s about the only way to defeat a mad titan when one person and superhero group cannot do it alone. He did manipulate the Chitauri invasion. Like the Skrull, they are shapeshifters, and this confusion can lead to the humans wondering how many aliens are eying Earth.

As for what Avengers: End Game will represent, Captain Marvel’s involvement is going to turn the tide of the conflict with Thanos. This film shows she can take on an empire if needed. When she goes fight the bringer of death, this film will no doubt make Clash of the Titans look tame.

4 Stars out of 5

 

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