“Since when is a shortcut cheating?”

“Are you there God? It’s me. Mouse.”

“WHAT TROUBLES YOU MY SON?”

“Well, I’m supposed to review Captain Marvel…”

“AH, AND YOU’RE WORRIED BECAUSE YOU’RE KINDA OF MEH ON IT BUT YOU DON’T WANT TO INDULGE THE MOST TOXIC ELEMENTS OF FANDOM BY GIVING IT A BAD REVIEW?”

“Actually, I was more wondering whether I really have to give an exhaustive way-too-long explanation as to why there are so many DAMN characters named Captain Marvel?”

“YES, YOU DO.”

“Why?”

“BECAUSE THAT IS WHAT I PUT YOU ON THIS EARTH TO DO.”

“Fair enough.”

That’s right people, we’re doing this. If you want to just skip ahead to my thoughts on the movie you’re free to join us after the jump. Just know that you’re dead to me. Now, I would bet good money that there have been more characters named “Captain Marvel” than any other superhero mantle. There have been a few Batmen, a bushel of Flashes and a whole mess o’ Green Lanterns, but by my count there have been no fewer than TWELVE Captain Marvels and that’s not even counting Captain Marvel Juniors, alternate future versions and weird rip-offs like Marvelman, Marvel Boy and the Marvellous Ms Maisel. So what gives? Well, it comes down to a combination of legal shenanigans, bad luck and weird coincidences far too complicated to go into here. Nonetheless, I will go into it them here.

Okay. So. Our story begins in 1940, a mere two years after National Comics (later DC) birthed the modern superhero genre with the creation of Superman. Fawcett Comics introduced their new character, Captain Marvel, whose gimmick was that he was actually a little boy named Billy Batson who turned into a suspiciously Superman-like superhero when he shouted his magic word “SHAZAM!”.

It was, and remains, one of the most perfect concepts for a superhero ever. If you subscribe to the belief that superheroes are, at their core, innocent power fantasies for small children, that is about as perfect a distillation of the concept as you can get. Kids could imagine one day growing up to be Superman. But you could be Captain Marvel now. And it was easy. Just say a magic word and you could be bigger, tougher, faster and smarter than anyone else. Which, when you’re a kid growing up in a world where everything is tough and confusing and bigger than you…that’s the dream, right? The comic also introduced the obligatory kid sidekick, Captain Marvel Junior and the almost as obligatory distaff counterpart; Mary Marvel:

She’s Billy Batson’s long-lost sister Mary Batson with the same powers who also took the Captain Marvel mantle for a time so we’re counting her. She’s also one of the very earliest female superheroes and beat Supergirl to the punch by almost a full decade. Anyway, back to Captain Marvel.

So not surprisingly, with such a killer concept, Captain Marvel quickly became the most popular superhero in America, even outselling his inspiration, Superman. National Comics, obviously, weren’t going to let that slide and brought in a new top-tier creative team with fresh ideas to re-vamp Superman and nah just kidding they just went crying to Johnny Law. National took Fawcett to court over copyright infringement and the judge decided that two Caucasian superheroes with black hair was just too big a coincidence and ruled in National’s favour. By this point, the superhero boom was on the wane so Fawcett simply ceased publishing Captain Marvel. That was not the end of the story. In fact, that was barely the beginning of the beginning. So now, let’s talk about Marvel Comics, and how they came to acquire…

“But what about me Mouse?”

“Oh Christ, I’d forgotten about you, MF Enterprises Captain Marvel.”

Yeah, okay, weird little digression here. By 1966 the rights to the character name “Captain Marvel” were up for grabs and a comics company called MF Enterprises published three issues featuring…this.

So…this is Captain Marvel. Allegedly. He’s an android who can split into his constituent parts by yelling “SPLIT!” which is a word. He reforms by yelling “XAM!”, which is not. His alter ego was Roger Winkle. He is, by near unanimous decree of the world’s foremost Marvelogists, the worst Captain Marvel. And it pains me to say this as he was created by Carl Burgos, creator of the greatest superhero of all time; the Original Human Torch.

Man loved his androids. That he did.

Alright moving on.

So National’s old rival Timely Comics had, by the sixties, changed their name to Marvel. Realising that the formerly most popular superhero in America coincidentally had the same name as their company, they figured it was a no-brainer to buy the name for themselves and create their own Captain Marvel.

The first Marvel Marvel was Mar-Vell, an alien spy of the Kree Empire who comes to Earth to prepare the way for an invasion and ends up falling in love with this planet of psychotic apes and becomes a superhero. Mar-Vell never really caught on as he was strictly squares-ville, daddio. He was like Reed Richards without the Thing as a foil, or Captain America without the instant, irrevocable cool that comes from having punched Hitler in the face. To make Mar-Vell more Hip to the Trends, Marvel roped in Rick Jones, perennial sidekick and the Young Peoples’ favourite. Now the status quo was that Mar-Vell was trapped in the Negative Zone but could swap places with Rick Jones in the real world whenever he was needed, a premise that superficially resembled the Billy Batson/Captain Marvel set-up while simultaneously losing everything that made that concept appealing. Captain Marvel asks “what if you could turn into an all-powerful superhero” and Captain Mar-Vell asks “what if you could go to a lightless never-ending void while a strange grown man did things with your body?”

One of them is timeless wish-fulfillment, the other is the kind of thing that takes many years of costly therapy to process.

So it’s not surprising that, like Shakespeare’s Thane of Cawdor, nothing became Mar-Vell in this life like the leaving of it. The best remembered Mar-Vell story is Jim Starlin’s The Death of Captain Marvel, in which Captain Marvel applies for a mortgage just kidding he bites the big one. What made this story so unique at the time was that Mar-Vell doesn’t go down fighting some giant, world-ending threat. Instead, he succumbs to cancer and dies quietly in bed surrounded by his friends. The story was well received and is one of the reasons why Mar-Vell’s death is one of the few in comics to never have been permanently reversed (at the time of writing). And it’s at this point in our story that our Marvel-trickle becomes a full on Marvel-deluge.

So, this is the root of why there are so may DAMN Captain Marvels. Firstly, the name is versatile, gender-neutral and doesn’t nail you down. If your character is named “Batman”, for instance, you’re kind of limited in what kind of superhero he can be. Your options are basically; Weird Creature of the night, baseball-themed vigilante or British Officer’s Gentleman’s Personal Gentleman during the Great War. But for Captain Marvel, all you need is a character who is in some way marvellous and the superhero community’s famously lax attitude toward the chain of command. You can slap the name “Captain Marvel” on any random hero regardless of their power set and it makes about as much sense as any other. Secondly, it doesn’t really look good if the dude or dudette bearing the company’s name is a third string scrub (spoiler, a lot of these dudes and dudettes were third string scrubs), so when one Captain Marvel is a bust, editorial has plenty of incentive to reboot and try again. Case in point…

Monica Rambeau, an African American lady with energy powers, first debuted in 1982 before Mar-Vell’s sheets had even cooled. She didn’t have any connection to Mar-Vell and didn’t keep the name for too long, later being renamed Photon, Pulsar and Spectrum to the point where she’s one of those superheroes who’s better known by her civilian name. Monica is actually one of the most successful of the Marvel Marvels, rarely being off the shelves. As a diversity two-fer with a cool power set and pretty solid fanbase, she’s appeared in multiple team books such as the Ultimates, Nextwave and even lead the Avengers for a time.

Alright, how many is that? FIVE?!

Okay speed round. The Vells!

Okay, Genis-Vell. Mar-Vell’s son who took up the old man’s mantle before going crazy and then dying. Interesting titbit; Peter David and Bill Jemas had a bet to see who could get the most sales for their respective books. David at the time was writing the Genis-Vell version of Captain Marvel and Jemas was writing Marville which was…it was something. It was many things. Post modern deconstruction of superheroes. Satire of  the Aol-Time Warner Merger. Philosophical-religious treatise. Strong contender for worst comic of all time. Captain Marvel won that one, which I’m mentioning because God knows these characters need something in the win column.

I am very tired and I have not even begun the review. Phyla Vell!

Genis-Vell’s sister. Took up the mantle after his death before becoming the new Quasar (another cosmic superhero mantle that gets around). Played a pretty big role in the Annihilation sagaaka one of the greatest comic events of all time, so she’s okay by Mouse.

“Aw, thanks Mouse.”

“SHUT UP AND KEEP MOVING THERE’S NO TIME!!”

Who’s next? Oh didn’t think I’d remember you did you, Amalgam Captain Marvel!?

“Bless you, kind sir.”

So funny story, after killing the original Billy Batson Captain Marvel in court, DC comics actually bought the rights to Fawcett’s old characters. However, since Marvel had trademarked the name “Captain Marvel” this meant that DC could use Billy Batson’s Captain Marvel but couldn’t actually call any of the comics he was in “Captain Marvel”. And that’s why DC have desperately been trying to gaslight you into believing that the character is actually named “Shazam” for the last few decades. Incidentally, Eggman is actually named Robotnik and we have always been at war with Eurasia. Anyway, in the early nineties DC and Marvel did a crossover called DC versus Marvel where the two universes collided. This culminated in a glorious bit of silliness where the two companies created Amalgam Comics, an entire comics line of grotesque merged abominations like DarkClaw (Batman crossed with Wolverine) and Super Soldier (Superman smushed into Captain America). Billy Mar-Vell was the result of cross-breeding DC’s Captain Marvel with Marvel’s Captain Marvel and I’ve typed the word “Marvel” so often now the word has lost all meaning and has become a weird glyph.

“Mouse! We’ve got no room left for all these Captains Marvel!”

“STACK ‘EM SIDEWAYS LIKE FIREWOOD WE’RE NOT STOPPING!”

Next up is…oh not this asshole…

Kh’nhr. Oy. Okay, so during the Civil War event Reed Richards was building a Gitmo for superheroes in the Negative Zone and discovered that Captain Marvel (Mar-vell, obviously, why would that be confusing?) was still floating around in there because time in the Negative Zone is loopy doopy. Reed is all “hey, so you’re gonna die of cancer in the future but while you’re here, wanna help me trample on your friends’ civil liberties?” and Mar-Vell says “sure”. He then spends a few issues moping and doing absolutely feck all until it’s revealed that this Captain Marvel is actually a Skrull sleeper agent impersonating Captain Marvel named Kh’nhr. That’s right. The Skrulls sent this guy to Earth disguised as someone who was already dead. From this, we can deduce that they thought he sucked and deserved to die. They were correct.

Who’s next? Mahr-Vell from the Ultimate universe.

He’s like Mar-Vell. But in the Ultimate Universe. Got an extra “H” in his name. Like Mar-Vell, he turned on his Kree Masters to save the Earth. Unlike Mar-Vell, he came to regret it as everyone in the Ultimate Universe was a massive asshole.

Okay, coming up to the home stretch now.

Noh-Varr! Birthed from the Victorian opium den that is the mind of Grant Morrison, Noh-Varr is yet another Kree but this time from an alternate reality who washes up on Earth like a drunken sailor. A bad experience with SHIELD has him declare war on Earth and all humanity but he was eventually convinced to become a hero by Kh’nhr, which is is basically like being inspired to pursue a career in music after a chance encounter with Kid Rock. Usually going by Marvel Boy or Protector, he is on this list solely for that one time Norman Osborn recruited him to be on his Dark Avengers team as Captain Marvel. He peaced out as soon as he realised that they were actually the bad guys. Which, considering they were called the “Dark Avengers” he really should have twigged earlier. Thank God he’s pretty.

Which brings us to drumroll please…

Carol Danvers. Actually one of the older characters on this list, but the newest and current Captain Marvel. Back in the seventies, Marvel was in the habit of cranking out distaff versions of their male characters just so nobody else could do it first (which is how you got She-Hulk, Spider-Woman and Womanverine)*. One of these characters was Carol Danvers, aka Ms Marvel who gains Mar-Vell’s powers after being caught in an explosion with him and getting some of his DNA (that’s their story, anyway). She had her own series written by Chris Claremont which didn’t sell but was well regarded by those who read it. After it was cancelled, she bounced around the Marvel universe for a while until the creative team decided to celebrate their #200th issue with a story where Carol is abducted, brainwashed and raped by her own child. And it’s presented as a love story.

Man, I hope ToysRus got their money back.

Fortunately Chris Claremont was having none of it, and when he was handed the reigns to X-Men he had Carol deliver an epic “Fuck You” to the Avengers for basically abandoning her to her rapist and had her join the X-Men. Claremont ended up using a lot of the concepts that he had originally intended to use for Ms. Marvel, in case you were wondering why a series ostensibly about mutants fighting racism features so many aliens and giant flaming space birds. Anyway, her presence on the X-Men during Claremont’s run cemented Carol’s position as pretty much the most popular Captain Marvel-adjacent character at Marvel. So when the time came for Marvel to try for the UMPTEENTH GODDAMNED time to have a Captain Marvel that people actually gave a shit about she was pretty much the only choice. How’d that work out? Well…Marvel’s attempts at pushing her harder than Roman Frickin’ Reigns has definitely created some backlash, but there’s no denying that she’s the first Marvel Captain Marvel to have any real purchase in the popular consciousness. And of course, a big part of that is today’s movie.

Which I am finally starting to review after two and half thousand words what the hell was I thinking?

So our movie begins in 1995 on the planet Hala, which is in the Andromeda galaxy and sadly too far from Earth to benefit from one of the all time great years in music. Vers (Brie Larson) is a soldier and a member of the Kree’s Starforce with strange energy powers and absolutely no memory of how she got ’em. She’s being trained in her powers by Yon-Rogg (Jude Law), who takes her to commune with the Supreme Intelligence, who rules over the entire Kree Empire. Yon tells Vers that the Supreme Intelligence will appear as the person that matters most to her. When the time finally comes, however, the Supreme Intelligence appears to her as a gender swapped David Bowie.

Can’t unsee it now.

Vers has never met a gender-swapped David Bowie (amnesia bedamned, you remember that shit) and the Supreme Intelligence tells her that maybe that’s for the best but that he/she/they/it has a mission for her to prove that she’s worthy of the powers she’s been given. See, the Kree are at war with a group of green shape-shifters called the Skrulls and Vers is to rescue a Kree who’s infiltrated the army of a Skrull commander named Talos.

So here’s my first big criticism of this movie. Ass, it looks like.

When Vers, Rogg and the rest of Starforce (including Korath from Guardians) arrive on Planet Torfa to extract the spy, the whole scene is shrouded in thick dry ice and lit so badly that I literally had to increase the brightness on my TV just to make out what the heck was going on. Fortunately, things are more visible once the action shifts to Earth but then it’s just drab. Ugly generic urban areas, drab military installations and deserts all shot in a way that makes them look as bleached and colourless as possible. I’d say it’s the ugliest Phase 3 movie but, if I’m honest, it could have been released ten years ago and it would have been the ugliest Phase 1 movie.

So the Torfa mission goes wonky donkey and the spy they were sent to rescue turns out to be Talos in disguise. Vers gets captured and taken to the Skrull ship where they go through her memories looking for a Doctor Lawson (who looks like Femme!Bowie). Vers is surprised to see memories of herself living on Earth what with her being an alien and all, and bursts out of her restraints, fights her way through the ship and hijacks an escape pod and crashlands on the strange alien world below.

Ah the good old days. Wandering up and down the shelves for ninety minutes looking for something that wasn’t completely shit.

The Mall security guard sees her crash through the roof of the local Blockbuster and does what any under-paid rent-a-cop would do. He calls SHIELD, the super secret government spy agency that nobody on Earth is supposed to know about. Enter fresh faced SHIELD agents Nick Fury and Phil Coulson. And credit where credit’s due, the effects work used to make Samuel L Jackson and Clark Gregg look 24 years younger is pretty damn impressive. Fury asks Vers what’s the deal and she tells him that she’s an alien fighting other shape-shifting aliens, you got a problem with that? Fury, not surprisingly, thinks she’s nuts but then one of the Skrulls opens fire on them and Vers takes off in hot pursuit. She manages to track the Skrull down and recovers a crystal which has a record of her memories that the Skrulls were interested in. Fury and Coulson try to follow her in the car, only for Fury to get a call from Coulson back at the Blockbuster, tipping him off to the fact that the Coulson with him is actually a Skrull. He defeats the Skrull through the cunning method of crashing the car and almost dying. Back at SHIELD, Fury and his boss Keller discuss the fact that aliens are real, can look like anyone and have infiltrated Earth. But they don’t instantly succumb to crippling existential terror and psychotic paranoia because they are professionals damn it. Keller tells Fury to find Vers and work with her to find the Skrulls.

Fury tracks Vers down to a bar and after they prove to each other that they’re not Skrulls, Fury agrees to take Vers to Project PEGASUS, where Doctor Lawson (FemmeBowie) was working in Vers’ memories. At Pegasus, they discover that Lawson was working on developing a light-speed drive for NASA.

Oy vey. The light-speed drive. We’re never actually told what exactly the light-speed drive does, just the name. Now, I don’t know about you, but “light-speed drive” simply suggests to me an engine that allows you to go faster than the speed of light. Which, if so, so the fuck what? If literally every other space-faring species that we see in these movies doesn’t have that, then the entire setting falls apart. Anyone with even the barest knowledge of space and how not-small it is knows that in order for interstellar travel to be practical you’d need ships that are not simply capable of travelling faster than light, but thousands of times faster than the speed of light. A ship capable of travelling one C would still take over 50,000 years just to cross our galaxy and space-travel in the MCU is intergalactic. And this thing is presented like some kind of Holy Grail.  Having the Kree and Skrulls be so desperate to get a light speed drive is like watching the US and Chinese militaries descend on a tiny island in the Pacific because a local tribesman just discovered the wheel. You already have that guys. You have to have that. It doesn’t make sense for you to be here if you don’t. Sure, if you go looking in the expanded material you can find out that the light-speed drive actually allows travel separate from the jump network which would allow the Skrull to go beyond the reach of the Kree but then just call it something else. Or add a line of dialogue that explains that this type of light-speed travel is different from everyone else’s.

Anyway, they also discover that Vers was actually a human test pilot named Carol Danvers (callsign “Avenger”) and they get the name and address of one of her fellow pilots, Maria Rambeau. Suddenly SHIELD agents descend on the base looking for Carol and Fury realises that his boss has been replaced by Talos. Anyway, they fight their way off the base and steal a fighter plane which somehow doesn’t result in NORAD roasting their asses for breakfast and head off to find Maria Rambeau. Maria lives with her daughter Monica, who you know all about if you read my introduction and if you didn’t well… Now you look quite the fool. Maria fills Carol in on her life on Earth and she takes some time to reconnect with the Rambeaus. This is some of the best stuff in the movie and actually allows Brie Larson to find some layers to Carol, which she hasn’t really been able to do before now. That’s not a problem with the actor, more the script. It’s one of the reasons I really don’t like amnesia as a plot device, and not just because it’s hacky as hell. If you build a story around an amnesiac, it often leads to a main character who’s just kind of a blank slate with little real personality. We don’t know who they are because they don’t know who they are. Of course, one way around this is to have the character lose their memory a long time ago, giving them time to accumulate a bit of life story and personality like, say, Logan. But that would mean Carol would have to be older and not super young and hot and we obviously can’t have that so here we are. Anyway, Talos shows up at the Rambeau’s place and drops some truth bombs on Carol:

Lawson was building the light-speed drive for the Skrulls. Because, far from being a powerful empire threatening the Kree, the Skrulls are actually on the verge of being wiped out by them. Talos reveals that it was actually Yon-Rogg who killed Lawson (who was actually Kree warrior named Mar-Vell). Carol got her powers when she tried to destroy the power source of the light-speed drive to stop it getting into the hands of Rogg. And fair is fair, I will freely admit that this movie does a great job of taking all the NEBULOUS BULLSHIT that is Captain Marvel’s legacy at Marvel and streamlining it into a good, simple origin story that keeps the basic elements of Carol’s origin (Mar-Vell, Rogg, explosion) while making Carol an active participant rather than a cowering bystander. Kudos all round.

With her memories fully returned, Carol agrees to help Talos recover the  light-speed drive and the power source at Mar-Vell’s secret orbital lab.

They fly up there with the plane they stole from PEGASUS without anyone really minding (man, pre-9/11 America really was a different world) and they find the power source which turns out to be our old friend the Tesseract. They also a load of Skrull refugees that Lawson had hidden up here, including Talos’ family. But the reunion is cut short with the arrival of Starforce, who capture the Skrulls and plug Carol into the Supreme Intelligence. The Supreme Intelligence tries to defeat Carol by showing her a lifetime of memories of dudes telling her she couldn’t do stuff, but fails to realise that all those memories end with her doing the stuff that the dudes told her she couldn’t do so maybe the Kree should have renamed this thing. Carol then accesses her full powers and proceeds to wreck Starforce like a prizefighter taking on an army of armless midgets.

So Captain Marvel is one of those films that I like less each time I watch it and I think I’ve figured out why. The superhero genre has been around long enough for its rules and tropes to become pretty firmly established. The basic character arc for this kind of solo origin film is;

  1. Hero has one glaring flaw.
  2. Hero overcomes this flaw.
  3. Overcoming this flaw allows the hero to defeat the villain and become the truest best version of themselves.

It’s not universal, but it’s pretty standard. Tony Stark has to overcome his selfishness. Thor has to overcome his pride. Even Wonder Woman, who starts off as a much better and more heroic person than either of them, still has to overcome the naïve Manichean worldview of her upbringing to deal with the moral complexities of the modern world.  The point is, the movie is basically saying that all of these character have flaws that need to be overcome. They need to change to become better people. By contrast, Captain Marvel doesn’t think that Carol needs to change. Everything that she needs to overcome is external. She’s an unflappable badass who just needs to realise that she’s a virtually omnipotent badass by overcoming the tinkering the Kree did to her memory, and once that’s accomplished the conflict becomes trivially easy. And it’s not necessarily a problem that the movie presents its antagonist as someone who’s already more or less everything they need to be. That is, after all, pretty much Captain America. Steve Rogers at the start of that movie is already decent, selfless, heroic and kind. He needs to change physically, obviously, but the movie mines a lot of irony out of the fact that, despite his physical change he’s still exactly the same person. But just because a movie doesn’t have a particularly compelling character arc for its main character doesn’t make it a bad movie. Movies, after all, are all about the whole and not the parts. If Captain America was relying solely on Rogers’ character arc to make or break it, it’d be in big trouble, because there ain’t nuffin’ there. So instead, Captain America relies on other elements; the sumptous use of the period, the genuinely charming love story between two incredibly charismatic leads, Tommy Lee Jones at his most entertainingly dickish and an Alan Menken number I still can’t get out of my head almost a decade later. And honestly, this is what does Captain Marvel in for me. The rest of the movie is just a little too bland and uninspired to do the heavy lifting that the inert central character arc needs.

“Or maybe it’s just that this movie’s not made for you?”

“Well, I’m a Person Who Likes Good Movies, so yes. That is true.”

While Carol fights the Kree, Fury, Maria and the Skrulls escape with the help of Lawson’s cat, goose, who turns out to be a hideous, ferocious alien monster called a “Flerken”.

“Meh. Could have been worse. Could have been a cat.”

Goose eats a bunch of Kree, and then the Tesseract and then scratches Fury in the eye, which will cause him to lost his eye and never trust anyone ever again. Yon-Rogg tries to escape to Earth but Carol follows him into the desert and he tries to goad her into fighting him without her powers.

The lady declines.

Yeah. Yeah, okay. If ever a movie was saved by one scene.

Carol sends Yon-Rogg back to Hala with a warning for the Supreme Intelligence, and then says goodbye to Fury and the Rambeaus as she’s decided to leave with the Skrulls to help them find a new homeworld.

In Fury’s office Coulson arrives to show Nick the selection of glass eyes he’ll be choosing from to replace the one he lost when Goose scratched him. And look, I know this is a little thing but, as a great man once said…

So, Nick actually still has his left eye. It’s just been blinded. We saw that in Winter Soldier. He still has his eye so there’s no reason for him to be looking at glass eyes. Secondly, why the fuck is Coulson bringing him the glass eyes? Is Coulson his eye doctor now? Or is Coulson just really into glass making and wanted to show Fury his latest project?

Fine. Little things. Don’t measure up a to hill of beans. But what really bugs me is that after learning (at great personal cost) that Goose is a highly, highly dangerous alien life-form whose merest scratch can cost you a limb NICK FURY DECIDES TO KEEP IT IN HIS OFFICE.

Why would anyone want to keep such a vicious, hateful predator in close proximity to him regardless of the health and safety of everyone around…

“Have you ever MET a cat owner?”

“Fair.”

And the movie ends with Fury drafting a new initiative for a superhero team, and naming it after his friend’s codename.

“The Marvellous Marvelettes will help America meet the rising threats of a changing and uncertain world…”

***

Look, I know this movie is important to a lot of people and I don’t take any pleasure in crapping over it. If you enjoy Captain Marvel, good on you. I’m glad it exists. I’m glad Marvel finally got off the damn pot and made a movie with a lead female protagonist after twenty damn films. I just wish they’d made a movie that the character and their audience deserved.

“Enjoy sleeping on the couch.”

“Fair.”

Scoring

Adaptation: 14/25

Does a good job of taking the complicated and fascinatingly flawed Captain Marvel legacy and streamlining it into a decent, solid origin for Carol.

Our Heroic Heroes: 12/25

Downside; it takes the complicated and fascinatingly flawed character of Carol Danvers and streamlines her into a flatter and less interesting version of herself.

Our Nefarious Villain: 10/25

By the end, it’s just kinda sad. Jude Law does a good job, but the script isn’t really interested in giving Carol any kind of real threat to overcome.

Our Plucky Sidekicks: 18/25

Young Nick Fury! Young Coulson! Really young Monica Rambeau! Wacky Aussie Skrulls! Lot to like here.

The Stinger

After the Snap, the surviving Avengers are studying the pager Fury dropped at the end of Infinity WarSuddenly, Carol appears and says “Where’s Fury?”

And the audience went…

Man I am looking forward to seeing Endgame again.

The second stinger

In Fury’s office, Goose pukes up the Tesseract.

And the audience went…

Am I the only one sick of the “cutesy CGI animal does some asinine bullshit” genre of Marvel stingers?

Hey, was that Stan Lee?

That was Stan Lee, firstly in a re-worked tribute version of the Marvel Studios crawl featuring all his previous cameos, and then on the bus where he’s seen rehearsing his lines for Mall Rats. In which he’s been presumably cast. As himself. Because he’s Stan Lee. Famous for his work on Marvel Comics. Which must exist in this universe. Despite the fact that all the superheroes are real in this world.

Do they look…skrully to you?

Okay, okay, laugh it up ya bums. So my big prediction about Captain Marvel setting up Secret Invasion didn’t pan out. Meaning the next few movies probably will not involve suspicious searches for squirrelly Skrull subterfuge. So long category, we hardly knew ye.

FINAL SCORE: 54%

NEXT UPDATE:  05 March 2020

NEXT TIME: What is this shudder that passes over me?

*Just kidding. There’s no such thing as Spider-woman.

83 comments

  1. Coming next Summer- a crossover of Detective Comics Comics, Marvel Comics, and I am sure hordes of others is the anticipated superhero movie, “Into the Captain Marvel Verse.” Every single one in one 75 minute movie. They will all overcome the flaw of having no idea who should answer when someone calls for Captain Marvel to save them.

  2. I like this movie fine, but your criticisms are fair. It’s one I watch when I want something light and fun, not one I respect like I respect Black Panther or Infinity War.

    I get the distinct feeling that Carol’s gonna shine brighter in sequels, where hopefully they’ll stick her in the colorful Kirbyland madhouse that is MCU’s outer space. She could benefit from a good Ragnaroking (that sounds filthy and I apologize).

    Definitely agree about the improved origin. I went to see this one with my brother and tried to explain the character on the way, which meant that he proably knew less when we got there than he’d gleaned from the trailers. Great that they were able to streamline it into something coherent.

    1. Oh hey, since Vulture will be appearing in Morbius, officially attaching Sony’s Spidey Villain franchise Kuato-like to the MCU, does that mean you’ll be reviewing Venom and Morbius?

      1. Michael Keaton does appear in the Morbius trailer, but he’s not in a costume as he casually greets Morbius, and for all we know he’s not portraying Adrian Toomes in the movie. That’s just something everyone’s assuming, but I have my doubts.

        There’s also a brief shot of a Spider-Man graffitti with ‘MURDERER’ written on it, which people are taking as a result of Jameson’s campaign after Mysterio’s death, but again, just speculation so far.

      2. I guess it’s not confirmed that that’s him, but it certainly seems to be what they’re implying. Judge for yourself:

  3. Huh. I was expecting you’d love the movie and I would have to spend, like, five opening paragraphs tip-toeing my way through this defensive farce we’re all expected to play out every time the alt-right fuckwits get their panties in a bunch about the wimminfolk. Instead, you’re about as cool on it as I am. Saves some time for me, I guess. 

    I can divide this movie into how much I like it by the acts:

    1st act: Kind of a bad introduction to the character and her world. The MCU’s gone on long enough that we’re getting into more obscure characters I don’t know shit about, and these movies are my first deep exposure to them. Black Panther did a great job of getting me interested in the World of Wakanda. Captain Marvel’s intro to the Kree and their Homeworld feels flat and distant. I feel nothing for them. I kind of wonder if this distance is on purpose: if we spent any more time with the Kree, it would be harder to conceal the twist that they’re a bunch of gaslighting fascist twats.

    2nd act: All right, now we’re talking. Carol’s got a great supporting cast, and the Skrulls are great villains for her: she can’t just blast her way through them, she’s got to use her brain and figure out who is and is not a Skrull. This part’s a lot of fun.

    3rd act: Well, shit. The Skrulls get traded in for a bunch of boring blue grunts with guns, and it doesn’t even matter because Carol is now a human Death Star. She’s also got to leave behind her supporting cast to go screwing around in space. I’m really curious if her sequels are gonna do like Wonder Woman and explore the period between her first movie and the present, or if we’re gonna just jump back into the timeline and see what the Rambeaus got up to 30 years later. 

    It’s an okay movie, not great. The flaws are easily identifiable and fixable:

    -Give Carol a Frieza to fight
    -Give Carol an interesting internal conflict
    -Seriously, stop systematically separating her from her supporting cast and the Avengers so she can keep developing their chemistry (I think T’Challa and Carol would be a good follow up to the Steve/Tony duovirate)

    If CM2 can fix that, it’s gonna be great. If not, and it’s more of the same, I’m gonna really come hard at it. 

    Assorted thoughts:

    -The movie didn’t do a great job of convincing me Lawson/Mar-Vell was this huge deal to Carol. Every time I rewatch it and it states that the Supreme Intelligence assumes the form of the person you most value and respect, I think, “Then it should be Maria, not Mar-Vell.”

    -I miss Blockbuster for its game rentals. Do I want to buy Family Guy for Xbox? No. Do I want to rent it and burn through it in a day? Hell yes! I hate blind-buying games, but there’s no longer any alternative.

    -Is anyone else starting to notice that in the Marvel movies that juggle a huge cast, they’ve developed a tendency to put somebody in a jet fighter so they can have something to do, and somehow it always leaves zero impression and I keep forgetting it even happened? 

    -Nick Fury’s eye kind of feels like a symbol of Marvel’s tendency to undercut its drama with goofy, out-of-place jokes. I kind of hate it, and the only solace for me is that Fury’s in a situation where, if the truth ever came out, he’d look ridiculous to earthlings, but utterly awe-inspiring to aliens. “You took a flerken to the eye AND SURVIVED?!?” 

    Also: speaking of girl superhero movies with actual personality, any thoughts on “Harley Quinn and Also, Tangentially, the Birds of Prey, Too, I Guess”?

      1. Eh, it makes sense to me that the SI isn’t “the person you respect most” but “the authority figure you’ve respected most.”

    1. I must be the only one who likes the explanation. Granted, I rather would have preferred no explanation at all, but if there has to be one, I love the idea that Fury is lying about it. Because that’s what he does.

    2. I miss Blockbuster for the excitement. Before the internet it was my movie news, as I would practically memorize the trailers on the new releases that had “Scooby-Doo” in the title. I first heard of “The Batman-Superman” Movie from seeing its trailers on the other DCAU VHS tapes.”

      That is “Birds of Prey and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn” to be exact. We have to call it that every time now.

  4. I feel like the movie is less than the sum of it’s parts. There’s a lot in this movie I really like, but it never really hangs together. I think due to the plot issues you mention.

  5. One problem I had with “Captain Marvel”, which I place right in the middle of my Infinity Saga movie ranking, concerned how it literally took me months to feel invested in Talos’ and Soren’s plight: I predicted that “Endgame” would reveal that Thanos killed Talos, hence why Carol wants to kill him now. Then, when “Endgame” ended up neither confirming nor denying this, I thought, “It doesn’t look like Marvel cares about the Skrulls’ troubles anymore, so why should I?” Ultimately, “Spider-Man: Far From Home” finally convinced me to care by turning Talos and Soren into recurring characters.

    Incidentally, “Far From Home” became my favorite live-action Spider-Man movie, although its apparent inability to decide whether to make Spidey the next Iron Man, or someone more unique, helped prevent it from displacing “Into the Spider-Verse” as my overall favorite Spider-Film.

      1. I thought the superhero stuff seemed to improve on that of “Homecoming” when Spidey fought in suits that Tony didn’t design (save the deleted scene of Iron Spider fighting a street gang), and when the Spider-Sense became much more powerful than before. Although, I’d also admit that Mysterio seems like a downgrade from Vulture, in both performance and writing.
        Agreed on the teen romance, at least.

        Going back to “Captain Marvel”, sometimes I think that it and “Black Widow” should’ve switched places on the schedule, especially since the latter would’ve come out before both Natasha’s demise, and Scarlett Johansson’s loss of public goodwill; it also would’ve ensured a Stan Lee cameo. Except, it doesn’t seem like “Endgame” would’ve made a good introduction for Carol.

  6. I have actually red longer descriptions of different Captain Marvels and Carol’s origins.

    Personally I love amnesia trope. Like with the original Captain Marvel (Shazam if someone got confused) it’s a power fantasy trope with superheroes when you can imagine not knowing who you are or what is going on but have these powers (kind of like a video game in a way). And this is combined with mystery of finding who you are and I love mysteries even if they are slight. And there is some element of fear always of not knowing if what you are doing is right. And Carol does show some personality here with her attitude that she still can handle this all just fine.

    I don’t think every origin story is about hero overcoming some flaw, that’s tired to me if it’s treated as mandatory. In addition since MCU is a series at this point we can consider all others and not treat this in a vacuum and know we have had the other approach so many times now, and we also know Captain Marvel will return. I am sure she will have the overcoming a flaw type movie, it’s just delayed to second one. I don’t know how dark the movie could go but Carol does have some dark stuff that could be used to break her down. I actually hope by her third film it would be that Rogue would take her powers and Carol would have to deal with this and what can she do now and how she is without her powers. It’s better to start simple in my opinion if they do more serious, however since Captain Marvel was made for girls in many ways so I don’t know if they can do something like alcoholism.

    1. I especially like he bolt decision hat Carol never gains her memory back, though I fear that the movie didn’t make it clear enough that she doesn’t but instead somehow puzzles together who she is based on the snippets she has and what she learns from her friends and the recording of her crash.

      I am not sure regarding Rogue taking her powers, partly because that’s what the Anti-SJW manbabies are crying for, but also because I feel it would be an absolute mistake to follow up a movie which is all about her claiming her full strength being followed up with one in which this power is taken away from her. I might feel differently by the third movie though, depending how many appearances she has in the meantime. It is a possible end for her story, but far, far down the line.

      1. I actually think that sounds great. One movie they learn to be a superhero and in movie 2 the hero loses the powers. Then hero must either regain them, accept retirement, or become a hero with no powers.

      2. We already had the story of the heroine not using the full capacity of her power in the first movie. If you ask me, the second one should be about problems which just can’t be solved just by punching harder.

      3. Great point about her never gaining her memory, hopefully it could be mentioned again in the next film!

        Yes I don’t think she should loose powers in the next film for sure but have to deal with some alien conflict combined with some Earth perhaps so Monica can show up. Depends on timeline. But by the third the movies usually in MCU have gotten darker and it’s good to have the heroes deal with really big issues and loosing powers would be one since alcoholism is unlikely to be included. It would give the movie more event status too if that’s when X-Men would show up (I don’t anticipate them soon since Feige would have made plans for MCU before the Fox aquistation and I think letting the characters rest a while would be good, Fantastic Four could be sooner). And I think it would be inspirational even if Carol lost her powers she could still be a hero. Also there are plenty of ways to regain powers or get new ones form comics so would not have to loose them permanently nessecarily. It depends what Brie Larson feels of continuing in Marvel too at that point as well. Third film would be probably after several appearances in other MCU films.

        Didn’t know however incels have been wishing Rogue would get her powers. I mean I should have guessed but I didn’t think about it. But I would imagine after a while they would get another character to hate so the heat dies down (I have not seen Rey is Mary Sue stuff for a while even if other hate for the films). And if Carol struggles more in the second film it might help with people who didn’t like her but aren’t horrible people.

      4. I really want Marvel to go and demonstrate that yes, it is possible to make a good movie with what is basically a female superman.

        And no, I don’t think that the hate will die down anytime soon. With Star Wars, they don’t bother anymore because they feel that they have “won”. But the MCU continues to be clearly successful. They spend the last months being all triumphant that supposedly Captain Marvel 2 has ben cancelled and are now spitting nails because it has been officially announced. They have seen NOTHING of the movie yet, but they are already hating on it.

  7. I have the opposite reaction the the movie you have…I like it MORE every time I see it. I am actually glad that it doesn’t tell the same old “hero has to overcome character flaw and grab his mantle” story every other origin movie does, I have seen this so often, it is just a stale concept. Plus, it is not like Carol is flawless, she has her own quirks.

    Not that the movie is perfect, mind you, it’s biggest problem is imho the editing. But on a meta level, it is one of the most interesting MCU movies, showing the effect systemic suppression has on people, how it can affect one so much, that one becomes the instrument of ones of suppression. Seeing how Carol after being gas-lighted by Yon-Rogg for years, is constantly gas-lighting herself is just heart-breaking and one of the most clever (but also most dangerous) moves of the movie is to make the audience buy into it initially too. Sadly this lead to many people actually thinking that Yon-Rogg is right about the need of her being “less emotional”, but that is the risk you run when trying to explain such a complicated concept.

    It’s a movie any women who has ever worked in a male dominated workplace, who has tried to climb up the career ladder with one arm bound behind her back because she had to play by rules which were created by man for man, can relate to.

      1. Nah, it’s not really…they are actually spelling it out very clearly. But I guess one has to experience it in order to be able to spot the parallels.

      2. I chose not to notice any sarcasm when it comes to pointing out the often overlooked merits of a movie, which has spoken to me on a very personal level.

    1. Yes, thank you! I’m trying not to be too hard on Mouse ’cause he acknowledged it with the Mrs. Mouse aside, but this movie and Birds of Prey were to women what Black Panther was to folks of Afro descent. It’s for us, not for anyone else. You can still enjoy it, and have fun, but if you don’t like it, that’s fine.

      I’m trying to find a way to put this–art’s subjective. This sort of thing isn’t going to speak to the people who weren’t the intended audience without a lot of cultural osmosis and women-driven stories on their own are basically unicorns–stories about badass women with some kind of narrative context commenting on our lived experiences? Yeah, that’s gonna hit us more than it hits men.

      Like I said, it’s fine not to like it! Just…don’t tell us we’re wrong or try to frame your view as the objective truth(which isn’t what Mouse is doing but there’s at least one guy in the comments section saying that and it’s what a LOT of the worst reviews have claimed–I feel like people are dismissing the “people are being sexist assholes about this” as “actual far-right fash don’t like it so everyone who criticises it is a far-right fash!” but what I feel like is actually being said is to please stop shouting over us and telling us it’s “not that great”. You can have an opinion, and you can think a movie I like is good, but don’t tell me that I’m wrong and that it’s actually mediocre. Accept that it wasn’t written for your demographic, that we have different lived experiences, that you can’t relate to me on every level, and move on.

      Otherwise? Yeah, you kinda are the asshole here.

      1. …After years of me commenting on this blog, I like to think that unshavedmouse and me have kind of an understanding. He knows that I am always honest in my opinion, weather I agree or disagree, and that, when I disagree, it’s never personal.

        Otherwise I have no idea why you are reducing my comment to “you are wrong” and pulling the whole “this is just about sexism or speaking up about sexism” card. This is only about the movie, about what it is in it and what isn’t. And there is a whole subtext which deserves to be appreciated. I mean, that’s why we read reviews and discuss movies in the first place, right? To get a new perspective on movies, weather we like them or not. For example, I don’t like The Ghostbusters (yes, really, and yes, I am talking about the original one), but I was able to develop an understanding for the movie due to a review which pointed out a detail I overlooked, which was how unusual it was back then to tackle ghosts with science instead of religion. That doesn’t make me like the movie more, my experience is still the same, but I am glad that I developed this understanding. So when I point out the subtext in Captain Marvel, I don’t do it because I expect people to suddenly love the movie, I do it because I want to let them in on why this movie resonates with a lot of people, why it is more than just a standard origin movie.

        Otherwise you shouldn’t go and try to police other people’s blogs. It’s bad form.

      2. Ms Mouse argued for years that Ghostbusters 2 is the better movie and you know what? She’s right. Once you get over the fact that it’s a plot retread the characters are more appealing and the script is funnier.

      3. Honestly, my main problem with both movies is simply that the main characters are a-holes, especially Bill Murry. The first movie is already loosing me with the scene, when he wastes the money of the university by manipulating a test, and then he goes and shocks this one guy even though he is right for no reason whatsoever. It’s just sadistic. The University is completely right to throw him out, the guy who wants to reign in the Ghostbusters is totally right to insist on regulations, and yet the movie wants me to root against them and cheer for this through and through sexist a-hole.

        I say the one with the giant advertising figure is better, but I have no idea which one of the two it is. Just because I was amused by the idea that THIS one was supposed to be something non-threatening.

        Ironically I somewhat enjoyed the Animated show.

      4. Btw, I experience this with Black Panther…it doesn’t work for me on so many levels. But it means so much to so many people that I am very ready to sit down an listen what they have to say about it. There apparently is a whole subtext to the movie which escapes me, which I am as an European are just unable to get, but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t there. It just means, to quote Brie Larson, that the movie wasn’t made for me.

      5. Oh, wait…I think I misunderstood your original comment…I thought you were accusing me of being overly hard on unshavedmouse and you were calling me an a-hole…sorry, I should have read it more carefully…

        yeah, you are totally right, and we are in total agreement….sorry for that.

  8. I thought this movie was… Decent. It was perfectly acceptable. Definitely nowhere near the bottom of the MCU for me – offhand I would way rather sit through this again than I would Thor 2 or 3 (former’s just boring, latter I found the two completely unrelated main plots and the need to undercut every single drama beat with a stupid joke absolutely exhausting), Homecoming (everyone’s unlikable and Holland universally irritates me – really he’s probably the biggest reason I haven’t rewatched Civil War or Infinity War), Iron Man 2 (gigantic pile of meh), Winter Soldier (I just thought it was ungodly boring), Age of Ultron (I can barely tell you anything that actually happened in this movie), or Doctor Strange (Iron Man 1 but worse). Probably even the first Captain America, really the song is the only part of the movie I actually look back fondly on if I’m being honest. Not seen the Ant-Man movies or Far From Home but can’t imagine I’d love those either.

    To be honest I really only actually watched the movie due to all of the incels whining about it, had zero interest in it until that point. Ditto for why I watched the She-Ra reboot, but even though this movie and that show actually have very similar plots I would consider that vastly superior to this.

  9. I like Captain Marvel a whole lot, and I dislike when toxic people accuse it of being sexist female propaganda or whatever.

    But Birds of Prey… yeah, that one I can’t defend. It’s an all around stinker.

  10. Thanks for the review! And thanks to the comment section for unpacking it even further, both positively and negatively. It’s increasingly clear to me that I’m never going to watch the MCU movies, but I do like to see them discussed. 😉

  11. Dear Mouse, just wanted to skip ahead a little and prove my credentials as a pedant (we haven’t seen the nit-picking nit in a while and I wanted to submit my application as a potential replacement in the event this website needs a new avatar of tendentiousness) by suggesting that it really ought to be ‘Captains Marvel’ rather than ‘Captain Marvels’ (the latter seeming more possessive than plural).

    Now look Mouse, there’s no need to get that … look it was joke, a joke honest I –

    BOOM

    – Cough cough –

    “Parlay?”

  12. For the record I enjoyed CAPTAIN MARVEL while watching it, but thought it perfectly acceptable rather than particularly remarkable; having said that one imagines a sequel could build on this introduction to prove something absolutely excellent (The Rambeaus, the Skrulls and NICK FURY: UNDERCOVER CAT PERSON are all elements one would enjoy revisiting – it would also be good to see Carol get some more time to be Carol, rather than The Hero).

    I’d be especially interested in seeing a slightly greater degree of ambivalence brought to the Kree-Skrull conflict; each imperium/species has been capable of rather nasty villainy in the past and both have produced heroes, to leaving things at ‘Skrull Good, Kree Evil’ would be a waste of Intriguing potential (given Captain Danver’s raw power, putting her in situations where it is her powers of observation & her moral judgement put to the test would seem to offer the most interesting challenges).

    Having said all that, I must confess to being just a little pleased that DC has finally found something other than Live Action TV and Superhero theme music* on which it can claim a certain degree of ascendancy over the MCU – WONDER WOMAN remains queen of the box office superheroes in my estimation (and hopefully WONDER WOMAN 2 will be as good or even better!).

    What can I say, I’m a DC deadhead at heart! (-;

    *The MCU soundtrack has been excellent, but truly Iconic themes have been few & far between; the same might be said for DC, to some degree, but the Distinguished Competition can still claim Mr John Williams’ Superman, Mr Danny Elfman’s Batman AND the Hans Zimmer/Junkie XL Wonder Woman theme (most ably expanded upon by Mr Rupert Greyson-Williams) at the very least … oh, who am I kidding, let’s throw in the classic ‘na-na-na BATMAN!’ just ’cause! (Although when it comes to the latter you can and should produce “Spider-Man, Spider-Man, does whatever a Spider can!” as the perfect counter).

    The MCU has produced a great deal of excellent music, but I’m not sure there’s more than a single theme that quite matches the ones above in terms of being quite simply Iconic – the exception I’m thinking of is Mr Michael Giachinno’s Doctor Strange* – although the true test of that can only be time, one must admit; two of the exhibits produced in DCs favour above have decades of familiarity to strengthen their case.

    *Though I may be persuaded to make an exception for Mr Alan Silvestri’s Captain America and it would pain me to pretend that Mr Patrick Doyle’s THOR is something I don’t listen to at every possible opportunity; I actually love the latter theme quite a bit more than anyone else seems to, which partly justifies my opinion vis-a-vis DC/Marvel.

  13. Anyway, best wishes to the rest of Clan Mouse and to yourself UM; Keep Well and keep up the Good Work! (-:

    p.s. BIRDS OF PREY is rather enjoyable – I went to see it twice because my Dad decided that he wanted to see it too (“Weird but fun” was his verdict) – and it’s worth seeing; you might actually be well advised to save your money and see it for the first time on TV, since it’s not a Big Movie that demands a Big Screen.

    It is an all-round enjoyable B movie with A+ work from Ms. Margot Robbie and able support from the rest of the cast (Mr Ewan McGregor plays one of the first camp villains I’ve seen in a long time and reminds me why I missed them; Dangit, sometimes you want a fantastically ambivalent mastermind and sometimes you just to HISS some detestable villainy*).

    *No lie, I’m actually mildly surprised they didn’t have done with it and actually cast him as The Joker; seeing him wear The Purple might well have been DELIGHTFUL – I’ll have to throw that on the might have been pile with ‘Henry Cavill … but BATMAN’ I suppose.

  14. By the way, if you’re looking for a ‘No Prize’ explanation for why Stan ‘The Man’ Lee is still a Comic Book Rock Star in the MCU despite there apparently being no Marvel comics … well, he COULD have gone to work for the Distinguished Competition (or one of those other Comic Book Companies, like Charlton) back in the day.

      1. May I be allowed back in yet or have those nice fellows with the torches & pitchforks still a few angry counter-points and other ripostes to be sending in my direction? (Honestly, it was just a SUGGESTION not a Statement, there was absolutely NO need for all that tar … the feathers were rather fun though).

      2. I mean I hate to be here again Mouse but you clearly only hate it when they’re too kinky to torture when you’re busy with other things.

    1. “Captain America: The First Avenger” confirmed that Captain America comics exist in the MCU, so one could assume that Stan Lee worked for whoever published those. Who else they publish comics about, I wouldn’t know.

      1. Even in the Marvel Universe of comics, there’s a Marvel Comics who publish comics based on the ‘real’ superheroes. Steve Rogers actually drew the in-universe Captain America comic in-universe.

  15. I really enjoyed this movie. As a fan of good banter, I adored every second Captain Marvel and Nick Fury are together. The whole middle of this movie is basically a buddy cop movie with excellent banter delivered wonderfully. I haven’t rewatched so I don’t know if I would like it less each time but I certainly walked out of the theater happy.

  16. Great review Mouse, I find myself in the “meh” position when it comes to this movie. It doesn’t inspire great passions like “Winter Soldier” or “Guardians of the Galaxy” but I don’t truly dislike it like “Iron Man 3” or “Thor Ragnarok.”
    A couple disappointments, I wish the kept the giant, floating head for the design of the Supreme Intelligence and Carol really did need a proper villain that could challenge her physically, I was hoping for someone like Moonstone before the film came out but maybe we’ll see that in a sequel.

    Funny that you should bring up the toxic side of the fanbase; against my better judgment I looked up the criticism against the good captain and they all apparently want her to go back the way she used to be in the good ol’ days. To which I ask, when was that? When she was date-raped by Marcus Immortus while her friends laughed about it? Was it when Mystique shaped-shifted into her and murdered her boyfriend? Was it when Rogue took away her powers and sent her into a coma? And absolutely nothing was done by the Avengers or the X-Men to avenge what happened to her or her loved one?
    I guess they got so used to female characters like Carol being used as dramatic punching bags that the idea of one of them fighting back intimidates them.
    One last thing: Don’t count Secret Invasion out just yet, I heard some theories that Talos’ unnamed daughter might be Veranke…

  17. Thanks for the review Mouse. I have to agree on the ‘meh’-ness of this film; I find it perfectly watchable but not much more than that. I think I was expecting a bit more going in because of all the excitement when it came out the Brie Larson was going to play Captain Marvel. I think it’s a real shame that this film didn’t give her much to work with.

    I think the biggest take-away I have from this is, objectively, I’m happy that Marvel finally gave us a female-led superhero film. But I cannot express how much I wish it had been a Black Widow one instead, especially in light of what happens in Endgame.

    1. Since Black Widow doesn’t have power I am happy she is second rather than the first for women to get a film. And I think it fits a spy that we learn of her only after she has died, rather like Snape.

  18. Ah yes, Captain Marvel. Yet another example of a film where sexist alt-righters make up 0.01% of the critics (if that), so a subset of the film’s fans act as if being sexist is the only possible reason you could dislike the movie.

    It happened to The Force Awakens, it happened to Ghostbusters, and it happened here.

    1. One of my biggest peeves with the 2016 “Ghostbusters” concerns Sony’s decision to relegate some of the best and/or essential scenes to the unrated Blu-ray, depriving critics and theater goers of the best possible version.

  19. And here’s my unsolicited pitch for a CM2 plot: Carol is like “You know what? I’ve been busting my ass for two decades. I need a vacation.” She goes back to Earth, meets up with a now-adult Monica (My fancast would have been Nathalie Emmanuel, but I’m interested in seeing what Teyonah Parris does with her), but then the villain rears their ugly head and Carol begrudgingly has to pull up her sleeves. My two picks for villains are…

    1) Somehow rope in Mystique and Rogue, which…let’s be real, they are absolutely going to do that. Marvel’s going to test the water’s first, add in a few smatterings of mutants here and there before they get to the big first official film, and the incident with Rogue is one of the most famous and they’re already reaching a Superman Problem with Carol anyways.

    2) Bring in Genis-Vell. Make him a really smarmy, King Joffrey little shit, feeling Carol is culpable in his mother’s death. But instead of fighting her head-on, he manipulates her “shoot-first” mentality, getting her to rush into fights that slowly tarnish her reputation.

    1. It’s not like Rogue taking Carol’s powers means Carol has to be depowered permanently, either, if that’s what has Carol’s fans worried.

      I’m not crazy about that Genni-Vell idea since I think the character deserves better than to be made look bad just so Carol can look better. There are so many other ways to give her a conflict to solve.

  20. I’m not gonna be too hard on you for this one ’cause you seem to have politely acknowledged it with the Mrs. Mouse sidebar, but you really should have approached this one in the same way you approached Black Panther–you’re a man. This movie was more-or-less to female viewers what Black Panther was to Afro ones–it was a movie for us, about us, to empower us.

    I’m not saying you can’t like it or think it isn’t a great film. But…like Mrs. Mouse said, it’s not for you. Trying to phrase this in a way that doesn’t come off as pretentious but that’s the tl;dr. Movie wasn’t for you. Same goes for the Birds of Prey film. So…yeah. Felt I should get that off my chest.

    1. Nope. It’s a mediocre film. I have watched, enjoyed and been deeply moved by films that weren’t made “for me” because they were well written, well crafted and made with love which honestly Captain Marvel falls short of in all categories. And it would be patronising and condescending of me to give it a pass just because, oh well, it’s for the wimmin so it’s not like it’s a real film anyway.

      1. Nah, you would understand if you had seen a fraction of what those Anti-SJWs are screaming into their screens. A reviewer who uses “wimmin” is basically disqualifying himself at this point. You really don’t want to get confused with those guys. Some of them have apparently forgotten that “woman” is even a word.

    2. Okay, but I DID approach this like the Black Panther. And I loved Black Panther because I felt it was a gorgeous well written movie. I was going through this review with a fine tooth comb checking my own biases. And it didn’t make the script better or the cinematography less bland.

  21. Man, I didn’t realize Peter David who wrote my favorite Star Trek novels also wrote comics and I didn’t realize that until now because I was 12 in ’92 and we didn’t have internet and an obsessive hobby was extremely time-consuming and you had to pick and choose your in-depth knowledge bases carefully and it was just a very confusing time, OK.

    1. Oh yeah. He worked a lot of Marvel stuff into his Trek novels. Like there’s one scene where someone dies on the holodeck and they were clearly fighting Hulk and Thor.

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