It was bound to happen. When Captain Marvel released, fans and trolls alike were going to compare the movie, the hero, and the actress, to it’s DC counterpart, Wonder Woman. Who could beat who in a fight? Who had the better film? The first two female-led superhero movies of both the MCU and the DCU were going to cause some comparing and contrasting. That’s nerdom. That’s what we do. It’s what we’ve done since the beginning of time. We pit heroes against each other in faux-battles with arbitrary conditions when we all know that if said heroes ever met, they’d fight for a minute, realize they were on the same side, and then team up. Just like they always do. There would be no “winner” unless it was the both ladies against whatever villain was handy. 95% of the time, it’s all in good fun. But the other 5%? When it becomes toxic, misogynistic, unconstructive, belittling, bad-mouthing bullying? What steps need to be taken to check ourselves and what can we as nerds, as human beings, do to make our fandoms happier places?
On the surface, Captain Marvel, the 21st entry in the ever-expanding Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), the first female-led superhero film, and the first MCU film to be directed or co-directed by a woman, seemed to have it all: A newly burnished Oscar winner, Brie Larson, in the title role, a literal tale of superpowered empowerment, a co-lead role for Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury, the onetime, future director of S.H.I.EL.D., well-respected co-writing, co-directing indie auteurs, Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck ((Mississippi Grind, Sugar, Half-Nelson), and a hyped connection – and a key, maybe universe-changing role –for the title character to the MCU redefining, Phase 3-ending Avengers: Endgame in just two short months.Showbox app But unfortunately what Captain Marvel doesn’t have is a central character worthy of the title “Marvel,” the obvious fault of a screenplay-by-committee and the heavy hand of uber-producer/Marvel Studios chief Kevin Feige.
Captain Marvel’s (Larson) journey – because every superhero origin story gets a personal, character-revealing one – begins with the title character, currently known as “Vers,” awakening on the Kree homeworld, Hala, after a confusing jumble of images, a sign or rather signs of things to come for Carol Danvers, a onetime Air Force pilot mysteriously turned Kree warrior, fighting the supposedly good fight, protecting the Kree homeworld and Kree’s militaristic, authoritarian civilization, from the presumably evil Skrulls, green-skinned, pointy-eared, and scrotal-chinned shapeshifters who’ve waged a millennia-long war against the Kree (and vice versa). Part of the ultra-elite Starforce led by Danvers’ mentor/paternal figure, Yon-Rogg (Jude Law), Vers and her team descend on a desolate, fog-shrouded planet to recover an undercover Kree agent. Almost immediately, the rescue mission goes sideways, leaving a captive Vers in the clutches of the Skrulls and their leader, Talos (Ben Mendelsohn).
Through a combination of logic-defying circumstances, Danvers’ frees herself from the Skrulls before promptly crash-landing on Earth in a Blockbuster Video store, the first sign of roughly 357 that Boden and Fleck will exploit Captain Marvel’s mid-‘90s setting for all of the cringe-inducing nostalgia they can cram into a two-hour prequel to Avengers: Endgame, including the grunge, pagers, and flannel, along with over-familiar ‘90s needle drops to underscore practically every action and non-action scene. Just as quickly, Danvers crosses paths with Fury (a de-aged Jackson, sporting a full head of hair and a complement of two, undamaged eyeballs) and all too briefly, Agent Coulson (Clark Gregg, also de-aged, though far too smooth-faced to hold up under regular scrutiny). After Coulson gets literally left behind, Danvers, still believing herself a Kree warrior, allies herself with Fury to stop the Talos and his Skrulls from doing whatever evil Skrulls will do (i.e., steal tech, conquer the world and/or galaxy).
Sharing screenplay credit with Geneva Robertson-Dworet, Boden and Fleck (several other writers also receive story credit) settled on Danvers’ amnesia as plot device and story engine. The Vers we meet early on isn’t Captain Marvel’s true, authentic self, but an artificial, manufactured persona (manufactured by whom and for what reason spills into spoiler territory), the likely product of six years of gaslighting. Finding her true, best self involves more than training or fighting; it involves recovering her memories and reconnecting with her past, especially Maria Rambeau (Lashana Lynch), her long-lost best friend and fellow Air Force pilot. The brief, table-setting scenes (literally in one instance) between Danvers and Rambeau give Captain Marvel much-needed emotional heft and depth, but they come in the second hour (i.e., far too late), as does a not unwelcome plot turn that connects the Skrulls and their fates – not to mention their depiction – in a different, more positive light, a light with contemporary political, social, and cultural relevance. The amnesia gimmick, a trite cliché by any definition, leaves Danvers – and by extension a game, but underserved Larson – with the equivalent of wheel spinning before yawn-inducing, ultra-predictable, third-act revelations eventually confirm what we’ve known for the better part of two hours.
While Boden and Fleck fail to dig beneath the surface of Danvers’ personality or psychology – she’s the sum total of what she did and does (pilot, warrior), a montage of men (always men) literally and figuratively knocking her down (a welcome feminist message it should be added), and her ability to emit energy blasts from her fists – they also fail in another, entirely predictable way: They make Captain Marvel far too powerful for the enemies she encounters in her self-titled film. By the time, she alters the colors of her suit from green, black, and silver, to red, blue, and gold, the revelation of a power-set meant to rouse moviegoers from their chairs instead feels perfunctory, an obligatory gesture needed to align Captain Marvel with her predecessors in the MCU. But it feels more like a set-up for Avengers: Endgame and a meeting between Captain Marvel and Thanos that will prove she’s his equal, if not his better. Until then, moviegoers will just have to reconcile themselves with a $150-million placeholder for Avengers: Endgame.
Marvel Studios released the first trailer for Captain Marvel. Fans are hopeful for the movie, in general. Marvel’s first female-led superhero movie will undoubtedly be compared to WB/DC’s Wonder Woman which was a hit with fans. Captain Marvel has a lot to live up to. If the trailer is any indication, Captain Marvel is set to exceed expectations. Aliens, super-suits, and Guardians of the Galaxy references all have fans hyped. But adults nerds are on the lookout for all those sweet, sweet 90s references. Between the promotional photos and the trailer, did you spot all the 90s references?
All aboard the hype train! Destination Marvel Studios! Captain Marvel has been much anticipated since its announcement. With the end of Infinity War teasing us further, fans have been chomping at the bit to see more from Carol Danvers, played by Brie Larson. Entertainment Weekly delivered with new first look images of the superheroine in full costume, as well as some sneak peek at what else we can expect from the film. Not sure who Captain Marvel is or why you should be hyped or what she means for the MCU? Settle in, True Believers! NerdBastards has the answers you seek. Infinity War spoilers ahead. You have been warned.
While not the first female superhero film in history, Wonder Woman changed the way we thought about female lead superhero films. When you give women the helm for major productions about women, you see the impact it has on the community. It came as a kind of a surprise to fans when WB/DC got the big female lead movie out first. Its left the appearance of Marvel trying to play catch up, pointing out the glaringly obvious ways that Marvel Studios has dropped the ball when it comes to women characters and creators. With Captain Marvel approaching it’s final two weeks of filming, it leaves some fans wondering if Captain Marvel is too late to capitalize on the hype soaked up by Wonder Woman. Will Marvel Studios pull off the same fan acclaimed feature that WB/DC captured, or will Captain Marvel come across as an attempt to copy without authenticity?
The announcement that Academy Award winning actress Brie Larson was going to take up the mantle of Captain Marvel at last summer’s Comic Con was more than the final big piece of Marvel Studios‘ Phase 3 casting. The significance of Captain Marvel is bigger for the studio and fans because it will be the first Marvel movie headlined by a woman. That’s no small responsibility for the actress hired, along with just the generally huge commitment of being part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but it was the responsibility that ultimately persuaded Larson to sign up in the end. (more…)
With so many superhero movies coming out nowadays it can be hard to keep track of them all (especially now with the DCEU, there’ll be twice as many). Critics of the subgenre say that all the films are the same and replay essentially the same plotline and story points over and over. While there is something to be said about originality in an area where there are a lot of similar stories, not all superhero films are created equal. Some are better known, some aren’t, and so far Marvel has been fairly successful at pulling stories from its drawer of lesser knowns and not only making money off of them, but making them relevant and necessary to their shared universe. One of those lesser known Marvel characters that has yet to make her debut is Captain Marvel herself. (more…)
Last month at San Diego Comic Con there was the long-awaited, but highly-anticipated revelation of who was going to play Captain Marvel in the upcoming film of the same name. As per much deduction by fans, the selection made by Marvel Studios was Brie Larson, the recently minted Best Actress Oscar-winner for the drama Room. For Larson there’s still more than a year left before she’ll have to suit up for Captain Marvel, which isn’t due in theaters until Spring 2019, so what is Larson going to do in the meantime? Well, there is such a thing as research, even for comic book movie roles, and Larson is establishing her nerd bona fides in advance. (more…)