In a fitting tribute to Women on International Women’s Day no less, the MCU brings out its first female-led superhero film and it delivers. The best answer is almost always the simplest one and that rings true in every scene of this film meant to be a precursor to all that we have come to know and love as the MCU’s pillars of support over the last decade. Without too much gore, unnerving special effects or unnecessary plot points that spiral all around the place, Captain Marvel is a simple, straightforward origin story that sees the hero step up against all odds, this time amplified a tad bit more because she is a woman in a man’s world wanting to do a man’s job and growing into the most powerful hero of the Marvel Cinematic Universe!
The film opens with Vers (Larson) just having woken up after having had what seems to be a dream in an unfamiliar planet, a trope that is very familiar to Marvel Moviegoers today! We are then introduced to her mentor and Commander, Yon Rogg played with excellent slickness by yellow-eyed Jude Law in a training sequence that sets the pace for what is to come. The pace is brisk from then on with a lot of information stuffed onto the viewer but for someone vaguely familiar with the ‘Marvel Stuff’ pretty easy to comprehend. The film really picks up after another psychedelic intergalactic space battle that the Starforce (Yon Rogg’s Contingent) and the shapeshifting alien planet hunters called the Skrulls.
The film, set in the 90s does justice to its period setting and many characters’ younger versions make their presence felt in the film without feeling shoehorned in. Sam Jackson as Nick Fury is almost unrecognizable without his signature eye patch and quirky one-liners as a digitally de-aged version of him during his early days as a SHIELD Agent takes his place. The screenwriters well aware of the larger Marvel Universe have written the characters quite well logically regressing their character development by a couple of decades to make sense of how they turn out in the future. Fury, Coulson, Ronan the Accuser, and Korath are very good examples of that.
The beautiful Brie Larson is amazing as the lead role and her role is supported well by the starkly different but still charismatic portrayal of Nick Fury by Sam Jackson. Jude Law fits seamlessly into the expansive Universe as the Kree Commander and it was nice seeing Clark Gregg’s Agent Coulson on the big screen again when he was finding his footing.
The film had a lot of talk surrounding it as a simple piece of the larger MCU puzzle seemed to be in the spotlight in the media for a myriad of reasons ranging from being politically correct, a desperate attempt for inclusion and for supposedly being MCU’s tribute to women empowerment. And those expecting the last, have been let down by a mile seeing nothing ‘new and fresh’ in this film. Comparisons have been drawn to Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman and the film has been considered a let down in those aspects. Although I have different things to say about Wonder Woman, let us keep that discussion for another day.
I for one, think Captain Marvel achieved all that it set out to do. Give a simple, engaging and gripping origin story to who has been admitted to be the strongest superhero in the MCU yet, and lay groundwork for the record-breaking masterpiece that is to be Avengers : End Game and tie up a few loose ends along the way by giving fun backstories to a few other characters along the way. Vers learning of her past as Carol Danvers and learning that she has been breaking stereotypes long before she was bestowed with powers is a truly nerve striking moment, one that we have not seen as much in Superhero films since probably Captain America: The First Avenger. And for the most part, the audience has showered this with a lot of love. Just as they did to the Mandarin in Iron Man 3, the fanbase is starkly divided on the reveal of how Fury got his eye patch, but I am going to let you be the judge of that. Watch the movie to find out!
The way I see it, this movie is a fitting tribute to women in a whole different sense. Captain Marvel, is the first Superhero Nick Fury comes across. Captain Marvel is the reason Fury builds Phase 3 and the Avengers Initiative. Captain Marvel as a film isn’t just an origin story to the Superhero, it is the origin story to the entire larger Marvel Cinematic Universe as we know it, and probably what is going to be carrying the franchise forward for the next decade or so!
That is a pretty huge honor to shoulder and a legacy to leave! Here’s to more movies to Marvel us in the future!