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Review: Captain Marvel is a welcome fresh face to the MCU

Captain Marvel finally gives women a starring role in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios

Marvel’s first female-led film takes spectacular flight

Higher, further, faster. The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) expands further into the cosmos with its first female-led superhero film, Captain Marvel. Soaring towards an opening weekend debut of $155 million, Captain Marvel is a mesmerizing, action-packed adventure that explores the frailties of trust during war, and no matter how many times one falls, they must continue to get up on their feet and fight for what’s right.

Taking place in the 1990s, before the writing that formed The Avengers Initiative, the film tells the origin of Captain Marvel, played by Brie Larson, a warrior of the technologically advanced alien race Kree, fighting amid a war against the treacherous Skrulls, a race of intergalactic shapeshifters.

When Captain Marvel is blasted down to Earth, the planet from her flashbacks of a previous life when she was known as Carol Danvers, she, along with a young Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), search for answers regarding her past while learning to harness the cosmic energy that flows through her veins to stop the Skrulls’ invasion.

Like Captain America: The First Avenger, Captain Marvel is only the second film within the cinematic universe that takes place before the original Iron Man, released in 2008. Many references to the 90s are put into play: the setting for a short period of time being in a Blockbuster; occasional scenes with 90’s background music, such as “Waterfalls” by TLC and “Man on the Moon” by REM; and 90’s relics such as Troll Doll and Space Invaders pinball machines being present. Marvel hit the hammer on the nail with a nostalgic 90’s vibe.

Trust is a substantial theme within the 125-minute runtime and plays a major role during the climax. Since the Skrulls are shapeshifting extraterrestrial beings, no one can be trusted, especially by Captain Marvel as she tries to discover the truth about herself. Captain Marvel is, without a doubt, aware of this throughout the film, constantly eyeing her surroundings, because one minute a Skrull can be in plain sight—lizard-like with pointed ears, and in the blink of an eye, the Skrull is no longer green but an elderly woman.

Like DC’s 2017 Wonder Woman origin film, Captain Marvel is another step toward female empowerment and shows how women can shine on the big screen as the leading protagonist.

However, Captain Marvel separates itself from Wonder Woman because the heroine’s possible life as a human before turning into a cosmic superhero makes her more relatable than a Greek goddess.

Unlike Steve Rogers and Peggy Carter, Tony Stark and Pepper Pots, Peter Quill and Gamora, Captain Marvel seeks no love interest. Usually with the protagonist, whether it be male or female, filmmakers tend to introduce a love interest for the character. It’s refreshing and pleasing to see no romantic interest being incorporated into the film and the strength of friendship being emphasized instead.

Although it’s a standalone film, Captain Marvel prominently connects to other MCU films. There is much connection to S.H.I.E.L.D. and the Tesseract, and fans will finally understand what Nick Fury meant in Captain America: The Winter Soldier when he said, “Last time I trusted someone, I lost an eye.”

As the 21st movie released in the span of 11 years, Marvel breaks down its doors by having Brie Larson hit full screen as their first female led superhero. Granted, many have wished for Captain Marvel to hit cinemas earlier than this; however, the path is paved for Larson and her career to hit full potential in the coming years as the new face of Marvel and The Avengers.

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