Film Review: ‘Captain Marvel’

The newest addition to the Marvel cinematic universe “Captain Marvel” follows Carol Danvers, an Air Force pilot turned intergalactic fighter.

Danvers maintains a staunch loyalty to the alien ‘Kree’ military, however she also has no recollection of her backstory or true identity. Through an abrupt journey to 1995 Los Angeles, we follow the hero on her on her journey to figure it out.

A common theme in Captain Marvel is emotional control. For women in particular, the idea of keeping your emotions in check to succeed should sound very familiar.

It’s a wink at audiences that reminds us that this film represents more than a superhero’s origin story. However, in many ways this story represents the hinderances and advantages that come with being human, rather than female.

The first female-led film from Marvel doesn’t disappoint. Oscar winner Brie Larson delivers a solid leading performance as Carol Danvers. The film is flashy and action-packed when it needs to be, but carries the signature self-aware humor and relief of a typical Marvel movie. 90s fans will enjoy the film’s nostalgia infused setting, and Samuel L. Jackson stands out in his performance as Nick Fury, portraying him as far more playful than we’ve seen before. Besides our protagonist’s unique origins, Captain Marvel’s story structure follows standard superhero procedure, but what really sets the film apart is its handling of the ‘female superhero.’

Audiences have seen movies like Black Panther and Wonder Woman make strong statements in regards to representation and identity. An easy thing to do when analyzing Captain Marvel is comparing it to the to the cultural phenomenons that were those films, but is this the fair thing to do? Both of those movies showcase groups underrepresented in the superhero sphere, but they were also among the first of their kind, and held somewhat of a greater responsibility. Captain Marvel successfully presents a female superhero as ‘the norm.’ Carol Danvers is a woman of many backgrounds: air pilot, alien and superhero. Being a woman is a major part of what defines her, but it’s not the driving force. The real driving force of Captain Marvel as a character is her innate humanity, and whether it helps or hinders her. 

Moving forward in a film industry that represents all kinds of heroes, hopefully we’ll see more Carol Danvers, heroes that may mean something more for specific groups, but people from all walks of life can relate to and admire.

The film hits theaters this Friday.

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