“Captain Marvel” faced a boycott, an onslaught of criticisms and even faked negative reviews before its release on Thursday, March 7. Online, countless voices attacked the casting of Brie Larson in the lead role of Captain Marvel along with Marvel’s trend towards producing more diverse movies. Even among fans that are excited for greater diversity in blockbuster films, many worried that the film studio might botch its first ever female-led superhero movie. But I am excited to announce that “Captain Marvel” absolutely killed it. Already, the movie has been taking off in the box office and is expected to bring in up to $150 million this opening weekend.
“Captain Marvel” is one of the best superhero movies I’ve seen in a long time. The plot centers around Vers — the identity-confused character played by Brie Larson — and the beginnings of Captain Marvel, but this film plays expertly with the conventions of your typical Marvel origin story. The film actually contains two tightly interwoven plots. The first portrays the imminent threat of alien shapeshifters seeking technology on Earth, which Vers and her crew must seek out and eliminate. That premise alone generates far more complexity and depth to the story than other generic “hero versus villain” stories have done in the past. At the same time, Vers wrestles with her own forgotten past and must discover who she used to be. These stories, each engaging in their own rights, blend together beautifully and play out in exciting and often unexpected ways.
Larson also excels in the role of Vers, bringing a unique sense of humor and all-around bada**ery together to create a gripping and dynamic new hero. Of course, you can’t discuss the first female lead superhero in a Marvel film without touching on the issues of diversity and gender. Critics are, as usual, divided. “Captain Marvel” has been lauded by many for featuring several strong and capable women in the roles of pilots, scientists and soldiers. On the other end of the debate, some felt the film suffered as a superhero movie because of its emphasis on female power. To be entirely honest, I have no idea what film the latter batch of critics watched. Feminist themes aside, “Captain Marvel” is an incredible superhero movie with an awesome premise, fantastic characters, engaging dialogue and all of your classic action-packed fights. If anything, a few scenes went a little heavy on the classic superhero cheese, but that’s to be expected from any Marvel film.
In addition to being a great superhero movie, “Captain Marvel” really does nail its emphasis on female power. This movie shows off strong female role models, but it also gets so much more than that right. There are none of the contrived romantic intrigues that plague many other similar films. The female characters are diverse and fill the roles of heroes, villains and side characters alike. Larson’s character does not depend on male characters for her successes. She is not overly sexualized. Her mental and emotional strengths are equally important in her character as her physical prowess. Her mentors are not all men. And to top it all off, the film’s writing flows naturally, so these themes hardly ever feel forced.
Get out to theaters and see “Captain Marvel” if you enjoy Marvel movies, if you want to see what all the controversy was about, if you want to see strong female characters done well in Hollywood or if you just want to disagree with me and argue why I’m wrong to love this movie.