For the last few days Captain Marvel has been dominating box office and its no wonder. The “First female lead MCU movie” – the tag is quite a catch. But is that all that made it a blockbuster? Why are the people and reviewers so polarized then? Could it have been more?
This is not a review but more of a study from a humble superhero fanatic.
Official synopsis: Captain Marvel is an extraterrestrial Kree warrior who finds herself caught in the middle of an intergalactic battle between her people and the Skrulls. Living on Earth in 1995, she keeps having recurring memories of another life as U.S. Air Force pilot Carol Danvers. With help from Nick Fury, Captain Marvel tries to uncover the secrets of her past while harnessing her special superpowers to end the war with the evil Skrulls.
For a comic book movie, there are three groups of audience- those who read comics, those who only watches the movies in Cinematic Universe and finally those who are casual movie goers.
For the first group, the whole idea of Captain Marvel is a bit confusing as her origin in comics has been revamped multiple times and is being rewritten now also. Though this is not uncommon for comic book characters (e.g. Iron Man), when bringing it to another medium, movie makers mostly stick to the basic or most well known origin of the character. This creates a familiarity and connection with the audience instantly. Hence, making a movie based on a very recent run distances itself with the comics readers as Captain Marvel was known as Ms. Marvel till then.
For those who follows the Marvel Cinematic Universe, this movie is a feast. Origin of Nick M’Fing Fury, old school SHIELD, how Nick fury got the interstellar pager, why no aliens attacked earth before and how will this lead to Endgame – it’s a celebration of MCU even before it was MCU. Now, read the last sentence one more time and you’ll realize that there is nothing written about the movie itself. Therefore, the movie gives us the origins we never asked for, the answers to questions we never had. This ultimately leads to the movie becoming a ‘filler episode’.
As the movie keeps nodding at already defined MCU, it simply distances itself further and further away from the people who ‘just wanted to watch a movie’. To quote a colleague of mine who don’t give a damn about cinematic universe but went to watch Ragnarok thrice, “I really liked it while I was in theater but don’t know when I got out. It had everything yet the whole thing felt a bit off.”
I won’t go much into the packed-n-labeled promotion of the movie either as the
only feminist icon (and slapping off anyone who didn’t like it as ‘anti-feminist’) or as the most powerful and important character of Avengers: Endgame. But I will mention the triumph of Wonder Woman even without screaming ‘feminist icon’ and the problem with Superman being too powerful to make a movie interesting.
To sum it off, I really think Captain Marvel is a good movie but what grinds my gear is that if could have been much more e.g, thriller regarding body snatching aliens or interstellar espionage, if it was more on-her-own.