Thursday, March 14, 2019

An Old Nerd Enjoyed Captain Marvel But It’s Been A Week And You Probably Enjoyed It Too

Look, people. Marvel makes Marvel movies the way they make Marvel movies. Captain Marvel is a Marvel movie. If you’re tired of Marvel movies, I can’t help you with that. I can’t help that we live in a time where a company is making three superhero movies a year with a level of craft and a respect for the genre that we literally never saw before Iron Man came out and you’re mad because you’re bored. Details (spoiler free) after the jump.

What I can help you with is that Captain Marvel probably sits in the top third of Marvel movies. It’s executed with the usual high level of competence, the villains are pretty solid, and there’s a cat in it.

The movie does exactly what I wanted it to do - tell me how Carol Danvers got to be in a position to kick every ass in the MCU, then have her kick a not insignificant number of those asses, frequently in space. Sometimes, that’s enough.

It’s not grounded. It’s not even that kind of Marvel movie where they pretend it’s a Marvel take on a particular genre even though the other genre is nearly entirely subsumed by the Marvelness of it all. It’s a comic book movie through and through.

The movie’s set in the 90’s, which leads to three things. First, there are a few solid It’s The 90’s jokes. Second, Marvel’s creepy de-aging CGI gets used more than ever before, and I think for the first time on non-flashback parts of a movie. Mostly on Sam Jackson. It’s less creepy than before, and you’ll only notice it a few times. 

And thirdly, there is a soundtrack. Of 90’s hits. Mostly by women. Which is fine and very on brand but it’s pretty heavy-handed, in some spots bending toward intrusive. Like 25% of Atomic Blonde intrusive. Yes, Captain Marvel, I see what you did there.

But really that’s the movie’s only serious flaw, unless you consider Being A Marvel Superhero Movie a flaw. I know a lot of people do these days, but it’s essentially it’s own genre now. Cope.

Oh, one more thing - this movie appears to be revolutionary in exactly zero ways until someone points out to you that the lead has no love interest and no love subplot in the entire movie. Let’s say the start of the Modern Superhero Movie is the Tim Burton Batman. I think that’s fair. How many movies can you think of without a love interest or love subplot for the hero? Maybe a handful, and most of them have Blade in them. It’s certainly unique in the MCU - the only movies without romance in them continue relationships established in the romantic subplots of previous movies. It’s absence from Captain Marvel is notable (and sets it apart from Wonder Woman in a significant way).


  1. After just re-watching Wonder Woman I was firmly on board with it being superior in every way... But that last paragraph was pretty devastating, and I was already thinking "oh shit" before your last sentence. Well done.

  2. Not having a romantic subplot is a good argument for me to watch this movie as opposed to all the other ones I haven't watched for years. (For the record, the last one was Iron Man 2, so make of what you will whether that movie was bad enough to kill interest in an entire genre or not?)