Captain Marvel: why female superheroes are not just for International Women's Day

Captain Marvel: why female superheroes are not just for International Women's Day

The fights are confusingly shot, the shoot-outs and vehicle chases feel cheap, and the title hero, played by Brie Larson, is chill to the point of blasé. Maybe this just isn't your movie, in the same way Ant-Man wasn't mine.

Captain Marvel is a woman and not much given to the chest-beating braggadocio of most of the Marvel men.

She falls from the sky and through the roof of a Blockbuster video store (not the last 90s reference milked for nostalgia or comedy) barely able to get her bearings before she's exchanging fire with more Skrulls. She also pushed a Jeep up a hill for 60 seconds! In other words, she's everything you'd want and expect in a soldier, intergalactic or otherwise. So hearing him belt out an enthusiastic, Carpool Karaoke rendition of Ariana Grande's "7 Rings" alongside his Captain Marvel co-star Brie Larson may come as a shock to anyone who hasn't seen, say, Soul Men or The Hitman's Bodyguard. It's especially fun to have a young Nick Fury along for the ride, as "Captain Marvel" also becomes a bit of an origin story for the future Avengers leader. Unfortunately, they're mostly with characters not named Carol.

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That's what's best about "Captain Marvel". Larson is far too eager to play her own action figure, and that proud approach doesn't leave Carol anywhere to go once her memories inevitably return. The cutting back and forth between the past and current to present a stylistic approach gets a little murky but I preferred it to the straightforward origin we've seen too many times. I swore I was watching a repeat of an old "Streets of San Francisco" episode at one point.

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The directors, Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck, have made terrific small films, including Half Nelson, with Ryan Gosling, and Mississippi Grind, a gambling buddy-movie with Mendelsohn and Ryan Reynolds. They still haven't figured out how to navigate an ocean liner instead of their usual handcrafted yachts.

Larson explained that the real love in this movie is the love between Carol and her best friend Maria Rambeau, played by Lashana Lynch, who said she campaigned for the role. You can nearly feel all of them wanting to make such a movie during some passages of Captain Marvel. Fury is someone who learns from Danvers, not the other way around. The results live near the Uncanny Valley but not actually in it.

Before the release, critics have offered their reviews - and unsurprisingly, given Marvel Studios' excellent film track record (Marvel TV is another story), they're good.

Rotten Tomatoes was already inundated by negative reviews for Captain Marvel... written by people who haven't even watched the movie. During a skirmish with the Skrull, Kree warrior Vers (Brie Larson) is taken captive and escapes to end up on Earth, where she must find a source of power before the Skrull can get to it first. It is nearly as if the studios are embarrassed of the fact and are trying to retrofit their past so that by the time the series reach the present day, the cinematic universes will have plenty of female superheroes fighting alongside their male counterparts. Which, admittedly, may not be what the hordes are looking for in a superhero movie. Without making a fuss, it's a movie about regaining oneself and one's values in a universe where the boys are busy fighting. "I had no idea my body could do those things, so it was an empowering journey." .