Commentary: Captain Marvel is a good superhero movie that probably won't offend your political sensibilities. Spoilers ahead!
Rebecca FleenorFormer Project Manager
Rebecca Fleenor was an editorial project manager. She enjoys all things wacky, techie and entertaining, and she's usually off binge-watching films and television shows (and writing them in her spare time).
No. By the end of the film, Captain Marvel is still very underdeveloped. However, I don't think her underdevelopment is actually a problem. I get into my spoilery reasoning for this below, if you're curious.
But did Academy Award winner Brie Larson do a bad acting job as Captain Marvel? In my opinion, no. She didn't pull a Halle Berry in Catwoman. Larson did what she could do with the limitations of the script. She skillfully handles the physical aspects of playing an action hero. Those workouts we saw her do on Instagram totally paid off. Yes, her character is somewhat bland, but Captain America was basically Captain Beige before Black Widow became his foil. Once her character is more defined in future films, I see a lot of potential.
Part of the reason Captain Marvel is underdeveloped is because she doesn't actually have a backstory. Where would she even get a personality from? By the end of the film, she seems to have only regained scattered memories and glimpses of her life as Carol Danvers.
The only thing Captain Marvel really remembers is six years of brainwashing by the Kree. That's literally it. Six years of brainwashing and the few days worth of events on Earth that happen during the film. And to her credit, she does establish at least three meaningful connections in that short timeframe, with Nick Fury, Maria Rambeau and Maria's daughter Monica.
So let's look at the bigger picture here. Captain Marvel shoots off into space at the end of the film and will spend the next 25 years before Avengers: Endgame going on cool space adventures, helping the Skrulls and hopefully developing her own identity.
My expectation is that Captain Marvel is drastically different by Avengers: Endgame. Because she will have had 25 years worth of personality development.
The script speaks subtly to women in a way some women might notice and some men might not. There's a scene where a guy tells Captain Marvel to smile (and she rightfully ignores him). Captain Marvel is repeatedly being told to control her emotions. At one point, she loses her shoes and has to get them back. That's what we're working with here. Subtly pointing out female stereotypes and comments women receive on a daily basis.
It's not going to emasculate you, I promise.
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Will Captain Marvel be a Mary Sue who swoops in to save everyone in Avengers: Endgame?
First off, how would that even work? Thanos doesn't need a butt-kicking now; he needed it before he got his hands on the Infinity Stones. Captain Marvel might physically be the strongest Avenger yet, but what difference does that make? Shooting energy blasts at Thanos won't bring half the universe back. That's a problem that'll require the collective skill set of the entire Avengers team to solve. She'll probably be super helpful, but it's asinine to think she'll be the "savior."
I know some are frustrated she's being brought into the MCU seemingly deus ex machina style, but that's why there's a Captain Marvel movie before Endgame. Watch the movie first and then decide if she's just a plot device. But can I just point out that the MCU has a history of dropping in new superheroes that "swoop in" and help out? Iron Man 2 introduces War Machine and Black Widow. The Avengers "introduces" Hulk. Avengers: Age of Ultron debuts Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver and Vision. Captain America: Winter Soldier gets Falcon. Captain America: Civil War introduces Spider-Man and Black Panther. Thor: Ragnarok has Valkyrie.
Oh look. We just found 10 superheroes who were initially introduced in MCU films they weren't leading to help save the day. Frankly, given the precedent, they could've just dropped Captain Marvel in halfway through Avengers: Endgame and it would've been totally on brand for the MCU. If anything, giving her an origin film first was incredibly generous to the fans.
Does anything in the film justify the extreme controversy surrounding it?
Everybody needs to chill. The film is a solid 7. It's a shiny blockbuster put together by people who have a great track record at making shiny blockbusters. And honestly, you could just as easily have written a version of this story where Captain Marvel is a male.
But Marvel made a point by making Captain Marvel a female. And the point is that superpowers are fictional and gender is irrelevant.
What about the cat?
Goose the cat is amazing. Goose steals the movie. Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and Goose are the Korg and Miek of the film. (That's a Thor: Ragnarok reference, for people who don't watch MCU films but are somehow still reading this.)