Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Captain Marvel

♣♣♣♣/♣♣♣♣♣

A soldier is finally given a mission alongside an elite Kree force she has always longed to be a part of. When she is ambushed by the enemy and her mind is probed for useful information, the bits and pieces of lost memories begin to come back, promising to shine light on her hazy and forgotten past. Crash landing on a distant planet named C-53, Carol Danvers (Brie Larson) realizes that she has lived a life there and is determined to put together all pieces of the puzzle. Almost arrested by SHIELD agent Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) for causing public commotions one after another, the unlikely duo team up and discover not just a big scandal buried deep within the cabinet files of the Air Force, but also an intergalactic war that has Earth caught in the crossfire.

Comparisons are unavoidable, even more so for films that are said to be used for political agenda, regardless if the accusation has sound basis or not. Captain Marvel has had its fair share of haters who are still hating on it for its obvious undertones. Luckily, the narrative itself does not end up as the feminist propaganda everyone claimed it was going to be. Instead, you get an okay origin story that is neither disappointing nor phenomenal and with a plot that encourages you to take part in the discovery.

The story begins in medias res, with an amnesiac heroine who has no idea who she is. Captain Marvel has never been a popular comic book character and despite all the buzz Marvel’s marketing machinery can create, she’s just no Wonder Woman. There is no clamor whatsoever for her story to be told on the big screen because a lot of people are not even aware of her existence. As such, the way the story unfolds is beneficial because the audience is taken along for a ride to get to know her better and why she matters.

That the narrative is intentionally tied to Infinity War and Endgame seems a bit like cheating, but not at all detrimental for the character. Her emblem appearing at the end of Infinity War and her inevitable appearance in Endgame will surely lead people to ask, sparking curiosity as to how she factors in the bigger MCU as a whole. References to the shared universe aside, the film is a decent origin story told in reverse that serves as a good introduction to the character itself.

In terms of overall feel, the abundance of space scenes gives off some sort of Guardians of the Galaxy kind of vibe. The CGI is polished and the fight scenes, at least those that involve hand-to-hand combat, are well-choreographed enough to permit fluidity of movement. Of course, that changes when the powerful start having a go at one another and all the action is transformed to an endless stream of flailing bodies swaying to the rhythm of ultra-charged superhero physics.

The plot drags a bit halfway because of the investigation subplot, while most of the big action scenes are concentrated in the first and last third of the movie. That’s bad news for moviegoers with short attention spans, but quite interesting for those who want to play Sherlock. There are several cameos from characters you already saw in other MCU films, but apart from Nick Fury their involvement seems pedestrian at best and does not really contribute anything crucial to the storyline.

And now the verdict, should you watch Captain Marvel? To be honest, you don’t really have to if you don’t want to, but with an era ending along with the contracts of the original Avengers cast, expect Larson to be the new face of the MCU’s next phase. Besides, the movie is a breath of fresh air for its genre. No love interest? Check. No obligatory flash of cleavage or legs from your heroine? Check. When you are busy kicking ass in outer space, it is more of a necessity to be covered from head to toe instead of showing some flesh just so nerds can have a slumber party. Perhaps that’s why a lot of guys are butthurt?

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