GRAPHIC BY CAROL LI
By EMMA CHANG
Audiences can’t help but marvel at the newest prize that decorates the trophy case of pop culture and science fiction.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) has done it again with yet another amazing blockbuster that epitomizes the pinnacle of a good film and never fails to keep audience members on the edge of their seat. Offering a new take on the typical science-fiction alien-heroine, Captain Marvel is sure to give you a wild ride.
Premiering on March 8, Captain Marvel tells the story of Vers (later known as Carol Denvers), a Kree soldier, an extraterrestrial race of alien warriors, living in the midst of an intergalactic battle between the Krees and Skrulls. Haunted by memories of her past, Vers fights her way through the galaxy on a journey of mastering her powers, discovering herself, and of course, saving the world at the same time.
The film itself highlights what a stunning motion picture is and boasts not only a unique and galvanizing plot, but also an illustrious cast, female empowerment, and all around spectacular execution. Since its opening weekend, Captain Marvel has captivated audiences worldwide and earned over $455 million.
In contrast to typical MCU productions, the story of Captain Marvel begins upon the dystopian Kree planet Hala. Here, Vers is depicted as one of many soldiers working under the unidentifiable “Supreme Intelligence” the ultimate leader of the Kree, which appears to every individual as the one they wish to see the most.
This fact is tied into the idea of Vers’ obscure past and the various flashbacks she experiences upon visiting the Intelligence, who appears to her as someone she does not recognize outside of her broken memories.
Consequently, unlike most superhero films which develop the early beginnings of their heroines, Captain Marvel offers a new perspective and opens up many questions for audiences to later fill in the blanks. While this strategy may not always be seen as favorable, the film’s execution is done purposefully and excellently in a way that each bit and piece of the story is revealed only when the viewer least expects it at the apex of the scene.
Moreover, the film presents a new take on your typical male superhero stereotype and recognizes the possession of an emotional weakness, rather than featuring an invincible hero. Although such a weakness typically would appear as an asset that would plague the entire course of the film and prevent the protagonist from succeeding until the very end, Captain Marvel displays nothing of the sort and rather works to overcome this obstacle throughout each and every conflict.
Equally invigorating is the film’s avid use of 80’s and 90’s based culture and references. With a stellar soundtrack playing in the background and nostalgic appearances of secret agent and companion Nick Fury’s pager, retro cars, a jukebox, metal lunch boxes, and even several pinball machines, Captain Marvel is sure to offer something for comic book fans of all ages. Such references have slowly found their way into modern culture and, without a doubt, provide something extra special for every type of pop culture fan to look forward to.
Not to mention, the movie also acknowledges the importance of a prominent subplot and good chemistry between the cast itself. Fan favorite actors such as Samuel L. Jackson and Clark Gregg, portrayed as Nick Fury and Phil Coulson respectively, as well as smaller appearances made by Jude Law and Gemma Chan contribute to the film’s stunning execution, hilarious banter, and captivating plot that above all, teaches the lessons of friendship, comradery, teamwork, and family.
Furthermore, Captain Marvel arrives just in time for International Women’s Day and displays an astounding amount of female empowerment—a theme the MCU has not been unfamiliar to.
Likewise, the film defies common gender stereotypes and reflects how the entertainment industry has strived to avoid almost any type of female hero cliche many viewers have come to know. A milestone of pop culture itself, Captain Marvel is also not afraid to display everyday scenarios of sexism through Denver’s youth and adulthood, where she was constantly a victim to the idea that she was “not good enough” or “less than a man.”
Eventually, Denvers ultimately overcomes these obstacles alongside her own weaknesses with the faithful help of her mortal companions: Nick Fury, her best friend, and even an unlikely ally, a sure trademark of every comic fan’s favorite story.
What’s more, Captain Marvel also precedes many of MCU’s more well-known productions such as the Avengers series and therefore was the perfect opportunity to include various teasers and hints as to why certain already-established facts in the MCU and other films are the way that they are. Although this may not be as noticeable to viewers who are not familiar to the MCU or any prior films, for your typical movie or comic buff this is an especially sweet addition!
In true MCU fashion, Captain Marvel is also accompanied by an outstanding commemoration of MCU creator, Stan Lee, as well as his trademark cameo during the film, and a taunting post-credit scene.
Without revealing anything, the scene is definitely not worth missing (especially if you plan on watching Avengers: Endgame!) and only further emphasizes the film’s one of a kind nature. Some of its most notable features are the way it expertly reveals the reasoning behind certain Marvel facts and as a fan myself, I cannot help but especially praise its skillful execution.
In short, Captain Marvel ranks among some of the best Marvel films out there and will definitely not disappoint for a good viewing experience (and, if you’re lucky, you might even be able to catch what’s under Nick Fury’s eyepatch!).
Upon first impression, it is easy to assume that Captain Marvel is just another pop culture production entering the oversaturated industry of run of the mill heroine movies that lack distinctive plot. Many have gone to say that the movie fails to meet MCU standards and that Denver’s character only exhausts the idea of some “social justice warrior” given today’s societal climate.
However, clearly these viewers have failed to realize just how special Captain Marvel truly is and the depth of the film’s meaning. Despite the idea that many viewers had regarding Marvel’s success being up in the air, following Lee’s death, it is plain that the MCU has not missed a beat and continues to produce amazing films in his absence.
All in all, there is no room for doubt that this movie will leave you marveling in awe at just how amazing it is and anxiously waiting for its “sequel,” AVENGERS ENDGAME.