By Carmen Saffioti
Published: March 20th, 2019
Captain Marvel is Marvel’s first feature film about a female superhero. The 2019 film follows the awakening of Carol Danver’s true powers. The plot is mostly formulaic, as it follows the basic structure of most Marvel movies. Carol Danvers was abducted by aliens who thought she would be useful to them due to her awesome powers. The aliens, the Kree, use Danvers to fight against another alien species– Skrulls. On a mission, she gets taken by the Skrulls and they take to Earth to find the Tezeract, a cube of powerful energy. From that point on Danvers rediscovers who she is, the true nature of her powers, and who her abductors really are. While on paper this plot sounds exciting, it is really nothing special.
Brie Larson, who plays Carol Danvers, delivers a mostly flat and boring performance, making it hard for the audience to connect with her. However, despite this, the movie is not bad, so to speak; it is simply mediocre. All of the hate this movie received before it even premiered is unjustified. If this movie had a male lead, critics would have written the film off as acceptable. Other Marvel films like Avengers: Age of Ultron and Iron Man 2 are much weaker, yet they did not receive the same treatment as Captain Marvel. As Marvel’s first film featuring a female superhero, I wish that the film could’ve been more exciting– like Black Panther – but hopefully this will not be Marvel’s only female superhero.
Supporting characters like Nick Fury, played by Samuel L. Jackson, added life to this movie. His comic relief was a nice contrast to Carol Danver’s constant seriousness. Danver’s Kree mentor, Yon-Rugg (Jude Law), is a complex character who adds an interesting dynamic to the plot. *Spoilers Ahead* Hala, the home of the Kree, is fighting against the Skrulls. The Kree told Danvers and Yon-Rugg that the Skrullz are “invaders” trying to seize control of Hala. However, about halfway through the film we discover the Skrullz are actually refugees fleeing from their home planet because the Kree keep destroying it. This plot development seems to be a clear allusion to American politics and the controversy surrounding the migration of undocumented immigrants to the United States. This parallel, while relevant, seems out of place in this movie, and to me seems to be a way to profit off of the suffering of impoverished refugees who are mistreated in the United States.
The main point that audience members can take away from Captain Marvel is that Marvel Studios has figured out a formula that generates profits and they aren’t going to shake it up anytime soon. Marvel fans should expect more movies with increasingly diverse characters and increasingly high stakes. Superheroes may become more and more powerful, but with less interesting backgrounds and less human emotion.