Captain Marvel (2019)
Reviews at Home
by Kevin Conner
IMDB Entry and source image credit: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt4154664/
images are copyright their respective owners, and are used under fair use.
The Marketing and Post Production
The marketing and post production of this show needs to be discussed, because it was an initial hard push for “feminist appeal”, and then it was dropped like a hot potato. A smattering of interviews and a really bad trailer pushed this movie as solely a movie for girls and girl power, as if they were trying to re-enact the marketing for Ghostbusters 2016. The backlash was intense but isolated to a few critics and social media nonsense, however, within 2 weeks the marketing was shifted heavily to: “Action Movie” appeal, featuring a woman lead.
This shift in focus by the marketing was for this movie’s benefit, because there is a vast difference between “Feminist Movie” and “Movie Featuring a Woman Lead”. That difference is whether or not issues are overtly covered and spoken at levels where it almost seems intrusive and in your face.
Still, some people can’t get past Brie Larson and her choice of words in the past few years, such as her specifically slamming “white male critics” who were critical of the abysmal “Wrinkle In Time”. Although, as a white male critic, I took her comments in the spirit I believe it was meant, that the movie was intended for a young girl audience (doesn’t change the fact it was a bad movie…. but I get where she was coming from).
Having said that, let’s get to the movie, then we’ll discuss the only three areas of the plot which may seem “feminist”, and have some “comic lovers” hating on Captain Marvel. Those three areas contain minor spoilers, but I won’t go into too much detail.
Captain Marvel follows the life of Vers (pronounced Veers, played by Brie Larson), a super powered character who fights for the Kree, an alien race in a prolonged battle for supremacy over the galaxy against an alien race called the Skrull (a shape shifting green lizard man race with pointy ears and wrinkled faces). She believes they are terrorists, as do almost all Kree, and she is doing the right thing to fight them. It is revealed she has some amazing powers, and her trainer, Yon Rogg (played by Jude Law) is there to make sure she learns how to focus them for the good of the Kree Empire. Oh and did I mention, it’s in the mid 1990s. So yes, this is a prequel, and it is a necessary prequel for the upcoming Avengers movie, when Captain Marvel must face down Thanos!!!!
This movie is so full of twists and turns, that I’m afraid to let on more without spoiling it for those who have not seen it, but I will say, that I am absolutely astounded that, in the press, the “feminist message” (which is no different than the “feminist message” of “Alien”) overshadowed the other more IMPORTANT and PRESSING message of racism, oppression, terrorism and immigration. The biggest message to me was the message about the Middle-East. In essence, this movie is very much a Superman meets Batman meets James Bond and Jason Bourne…. it is what Supergirl from the 80s SHOULD have been. I absolutely loved it.
The action in the first 10 minutes of the movie is absolutely terrible. It is impossible to see anything, it was dark, it was blurry, the cameras were out of position and out of focus, and you know that this scene cost several million to film. I cannot believe they did that, and it had me worrying for the rest of the movie.
Thankfully, whatever transpired which gave us the first 10 terrible minutes of sub par action, ended. The rest of the movie is clear, clean, crisp action where you can describe everything in detail.
The sound mixing was ACTUALLY PERFECT! I have very sensitive ears, so I can’t tell you how much I cringed at the thought of explosions hurting me, but NOPE! I could hear whispers, and explosions, and nothing gave me pain or caused me to exert effort to hear something… ok the whispers were a LITTLE low, but they weren’t so silent I couldn’t hear them. I know some couldn’t, and can’t, but at least it wasn’t as bad as movies like Captain America: Winter Soldier.
All other aspects of production are perfect, I mean, I could find nothing that screamed flaw or sub excellence to me.
There is however 1 issue with the script, the change in Marvel’s legacy… I can’t rightly penalize it though, because Marvel Comics is all about change and re-imagining things. The characters and their core concepts are true to themselves. The changes made to Captain Marvel aren’t nearly as extensive as the changes made to Deadpool and Ant-Man, and yet the characters all relatively stayed the same. Their core concepts, their drives, everything was true to their spirit. The problem is, a lot of fans don’t like change. Sorry guys and gals, I do still hope you enjoy it! Don’t worry, it’s no where near the level of changes made to Iron Man or Thor.
This movie is a solid Action Movie starring a woman, just like “Alien” is a solid Action Horror Movie starring a woman. Speaking of alien, please see the spoiler lite discussion below for more comments. For a Classic Style Action Movie, it’s four stars. Not many people like this kind of movie, so I am sure they will disagree. Keep that in mind.
For those of you who do see it, keep this in mind: There are 2 credit scenes, the last one is after the very very very very long credits.
Cats and their desire to eat lights, am I right?
Direction: 3 1/2
Overall (rounded up) 4 out of 4
Cast and Production Information
Samuel L. Jackson
Algenis Perez Soto
(And Many More)
Walt Disney Pictures
Spoiler Lite Discussion
Don’t read if you don’t want any spoilers
The first major change: This Captain Marvel is the Second Marvel from the comics. The “First Marvel” doesn’t exist, or rather, not in the way you expect. Captain Mar-Vell (who was a captain in the Kree Army) has been turned into a woman Kree scientist. Considering the joke news report I made about “Brie Larson wanting everyone to be transgender”… it made me kinda laugh. But, yes, this Captain Marvel is the “second one” from the comics. You can argue she’s also the second one in this… but that’s getting into a discussion about how things should be adapted. Quite frankly, it didn’t really bother me. Keep in mind, folks, Mar-Vell was dead for years. He died of Cancer. It was sad. Of course, Carol Danvers was also in a coma for years. Well… Mar-Vell in this movie gets a heroic death in battle, and if Mar-Vell in the comics knew how they re-imagined his character, I think he’d approve.
The so called Feminist Plot points
Carol Danvers idolizes her personal professional heroine who made it as a pilot in the Air Force. OMG WOMEN AS PILOTS IN THE AIR FORCE – HOW PROFOUND. Seriously, this point has been made several times over, it’s worth making again, but I think it’s gone well beyond the “radical feminist idea”. Women have been flying planes in combat since World War I, depending on the country. That’s over 100 years ago. Maybe we can move on beyond the idea this is a “radical concept”. It’s not even a “major point” that was being made about “MORE WOMEN NEED TO FLY!”, it was more of a point of “Follow your dreams, whether you are a woman who wants to be a pilot or not, follow your dreams!”
The fight with Yon-Rogg. He tries to goad her into fighting him hand to hand without her powers to prove to him she can beat him, and she shoots him in response. Yeah, a lot of “feminists” try to say “We don’t need approval from a man!” and a lot of “anti-feminists” say “THEY ARE HATING ON MEN!”.
So let’s have a little dose of reality here:
- The Kree have no distinction of Men / Women on the battlefield, so when Yon-Rogg was talking down to her, it was due to his jealousy over her power, not because she was a woman, but because she had power he didn’t have. From his standpoint, he was jealous of another soldier, not of a woman.
- She never once questioned her self worth. She went to her teacher for help because she believed he had her best interests at heart. She never had a romantic relationship with Yon-Rogg. I need to emphasize this apparently – it was a master teacher relationship, not a male-female relationship. That is why it doesn’t ring true to claim this is a feminist message. I mean, you really have to ignore the context of their dynamic in order to insert a feminist message.
- I honestly cannot count how many movies I have seen which have this exact same formulaic ending confrontation between a student and master situation, or situations similar to it. Raiders of the Lost Ark had a similar scene, where a sword master tries to goad Indy into a fight, and Indy shoots him. Training Day had a “similar” scene, but the student just left Denzel to die. There was a similar scene in Kill Bill vol. 2, which was closer to a “feminist message” than this movie. I think there was a Van Damme movie with a scene like this? I may be wrong. And, forgive me for being a bad reviewer, but I know I’ve seen a few spy thrillers with scenes like this. The point being, this scene of “Prove to me you’re my equal!” (followed by the younger character just shooting the ‘master’ down) is very common, especially with male characters facing each other down. It’s hard for me to picture this as a feminist message, because I’ve seen it so often so many other places.
- These so called “Feminists” and “Anti-Feminists” who point to this scene only seem to occupy a very small minority of voices on social media, and I saw so few references outside of social media outlets that I can’t even say it scratched the surface of the mainstream thought.
Having said that, if some girl or woman takes this as a point of strength to push through some hateful things said against them, then that’s great.
IF the production intended it to be a feminist point, well, the point was so watered down, that it doesn’t come across as one. Maybe it shouldn’t, because it’s been repeated so often, with so many movies, over the past 3 decades alone, it’s hard to say it’s unique. Maybe a little unique for a female character? But… wasn’t something like this already done with another heroine in another action movie, only more pointed and exact? See… that’s my problem with calling this a feminist message for 2019. In either case, this type of scene is always really cool scene, that I’ve seen dozens and dozens of times since the early 80s, and I am sure we will see it many more times since!
Finally, one really cool Easter Egg
The cat, Goose (a Top Gun Reference…. but that’s not the reference) is an Orange Cat in a movie featuring a Heroine who fights Aliens….. and he’s an alien. Does that remind you of any specific Alien movie you might know? I wish I could remember the name, it had one Alien in it, and starred a Woman as the Main Action Star. I swear this has to be a reference, it is too cool of a reference for it to just be a coincidence.
One thought on “Captain Marvel (2019)”
I thought I’d clarify what I meant by “feminist movie”.
There’s a difference between empowerment of girls/boys/transgender/gender neutral, saying “Listen, do your best, don’t let them knock you down!”
Saying that isn’t “feminist” even if you are saying “Girls, don’t let things get you down!”
“Feminist” is more about the concept of “Women need the right to vote!” “Women need to have equal pay for equal work!” “We need to stop discriminating against women in X event!”
Feminism is necessary to guarantee that equal topics are covered.
This movie does not do that.
This script is written in such a way where it is pretty damn close to gender neutral. Roles and casting can easily be altered and it would change almost NONE of the dialogue. That’s the indicator.
This doesn’t mean girls shouldn’t feel empowered by the movie. That comes from the internalization of what they see. Just as boys who internalize that movie would still see the similar message.
I think the only lines of dialogue which would be changed would be with minor scenes like that biker. In this movie the Biker may be hitting on her, or just striking up a conversation. She looks weird, is wearing a wetsuit. I guarantee you if she were a guy the biker would likely harass him for the suit too. Whether or not he’d try to pick up the guy is depending on his orientation, but he’d still make a snide comment about the suit, no different than when Arnold was harassed in both Terminator movies. I know I’ve heard some women who like to think men don’t get shit, well, it’s not the same kind of shit, but it’s still shit from relatively the same people.
Anyway, as I said before, only a few people are trying to claim this is a Feminist Movie, and those people I don’t think quite understand the difference between messages that can be applied to anyone and anywhere, and an actual feminist message of “We need to stop X from happening to Women, because it’s uniquely attacking women.” That’s a feminist message.
None of that in here.
That isn’t BAD, nor is it GOOD. I’m just trying to explain the difference.
Also keep in mind I’m not talking about extreme feminism, which I don’t respect at all (such as the disgusting “activist” who said all men should kill themselves). I’m talking about the core conceptualized feminism of “equality must exist” (which I whole heartily agree with).