Thanos Better Watch Out — CAPTAIN MARVEL Review

Oscar Cross
March 7, 2019

Captain Marvel feels like an important benchmark in the evolution not just of superhero films but films that offer woefully overdue, intersectional representation of women and people of color on a massive, mainstream scale.

After ten years and twenty films, Marvel Studios finally-let me repeat, finally-has its first female superhero standalone film. To Carol, being Captain Marvel is simply good fun and it's clear Larson is having good fun being Carol, which is an infectious dynamic that seeps its way off the screen and into the audience.

One of Marvel's finest is being recruited by another high-profile organization.

Ms. Danvers has no such luck, and Larson - an Oscar-winner whose natural protectiveness is poorly served by such a self-satisfied character - has little to do beyond mug for the camera and spout third-rate one-liners to any of the men who get in her way.

It'll also be interesting to see if Captain Marvel is worthy enough to pick up Thor's hammer.

Then again, Carol Danvers is a very different character to Gal Gadot's charming and graceful Amazon Princess. For all their screaming and furious typing, the unfounded hatred will not stop excited Marvel fans from seeing the film.

Within hours of Vers' arrival, she attracts the attention of one Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), who at this point on the Marvel timeline still has both of his eyes and is a mid-level bureaucrat at S.H.I.E.L.D. who spends most of his time behind his desk, blissfully unaware of all the frighteningly powerful superheroes and archvillains in his future. Larson can quip and smirk and take a punch, Boden and Fleck can create a fully-realized and damaged character for her to play, with sharp dialogue and grounded storytelling. The storyline was highly controversial, with some critics arguing that it was sexist and went against the character's feminist origins.

Get push notifications with news, features and more. Her powers weren't up to speed, which forced her to quit the team before they fired her.

This role will mark one of few regular TV roles Larson has had throughout her career.

The real fun begins when Vers arrives on Earth.

Jude Law is her intense and no-nonsense Kree mentor, the kind of guy who has no qualms about teaching a woman how to take a punch in the face and come up swinging.

Captain Marvel has a playful vibe and yet nails the full-on female-empowerment/empowering action thriller aspect as well. This led to her returning to her Ms. Marvel mantle, which she kept until writer Kelly Sue DeConnick gave her the Captain Marvel gimmick in her 2012 comics run. She takes an Earth name, because Vers sounds silly. After Secret Invasion, however, she joined the New Avengers and eventually became their second-in-command.

In short, there's so much to love in Captain Marvel - including a mid-credits sting that nicely sets up the next Avengers movies, now just seven weeks away - that it's nigh impossible to hate the movie, despite its many flaws. But will we see him this spring in Avengers: Endgame? Martin is repped by WME and Tara Kole at Gang Tyre. Larsen gets valuable support from Jackson and Ben Mendelsohn, still reliably Ben Mendelsohn even under layers of alien makeup, and the '90s backdrop is at least a welcome changeup from the usual formula.

In the meantime, she and the other Avengers have that meddling Thanos and his pesky Infinity Gauntlet to worry about.

But the debut of Captain Marvel is also hard.

The biggest departure from canon involves an everything-she-knows-is-wrong switcheroo that turns a half-century of Marvel Comics history on its head. And they definitely know the hold they have on us. And if there's anything this new movie taught us, it's that if the Avengers need saving, Captain Marvel is the obvious person - woman or otherwise - for the job. Don't expect some watered down version of this mighty warrior.

It's a lot to have on one's plate for someone who isn't even sure who she is. Now that's a nice dream to have.

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