Ok guys, Its really two words. Mar Vell. Complete coincidence it sounds like the comic book publisher. Right?
One part of the movie was super cool. Remember that scene where Fury took Marvel to the Pegasus project? That road was the closed-off section of old US 99 that goes under Pyramid lake. It is a very popular movie set. All the roads he drove down are right there and I’ve hiked them many times. He parked right at the base of the dam. I think the tunnel he drove down was an access tunnel to the LA aqueduct. It is long and straight and big enough to get a semi down.
Beware of spoilers!
It was a fun movie. It wasn’t Wonder Woman but it was still fun. Carol Danvers was the girl who wouldn’t give up. She did things only boys did, got knocked down, and then got back up again. We get bits of her backstory thru short flashes as she recovers her memory. Eventually, she got to be an Air Force pilot in an age when women weren’t allowed to fly combat.
More backstory and a more gradual growth of her character would have been better. Much better
Things happen. She absorbs the energy from a warp core breach. (Well, that’s what they’d call it in Star Trek.) She can get all sparky and red and shoot energy bolts. The Kree grabbed her, suppressed her memories and put a limiter on her. It took the entire movie for her to figure out the limiter wasn’t there to help her but to control her. Once she gets that limiter off, she is Superman, for all intents and purposes.
No, she is stronger than Superman. Or Wonder Woman. Invulnerable to attack, able to shoot massive energy bolt zappies from her hands, eyes glowing and body coruscating with energy. Strong enough to fly end-to-end thru a Kree battlecruiser to destroy it, able to live in a vacuum, and fly thru intergalactic space at warp drive speeds. Neat Mohawk when she is in full battle dress. No kryptonite. Even official statements by Marvel/Disney that Marvel is the most powerful in the MCU.
We get a digitally youthfulized Nick Fury and Agent Coulson. We get an orange tabby Flerken that is bigger on the inside than on the outside. (Dr. Who would be overjoyed to have such a pet!) Plus a female bestie (Maria Rambeau) who can fly an aircraft she’s never been in before like she was born in it. An “aircraft” that can handle orbital flight in a vacuum (where she has never been). Pretty neat trick.
Then they throw you the good old “good guys are really the bad guys” switch.
OK. When you watch a superhero movie, there is a certain amount of suspension of disbelief. I have no problem with this. None of the other superhero movies are any different. Most of them, including this one, I have enjoyed.
Not quite the feminist manifesto Bree Larson was pushing. And therein lay the problem. All the rhetoric alienated a few people who might otherwise have seen the movie but did not entice anyone who wouldn’t have gone to see it anyhow. I suspect in the end the controversy will have no effect at all on audiences because it is much ado about nothing.
Movie audiences are not generally concerned with a feminist message any more than they are about any other political message. The people who only watch a movie or TV series (or not) because of its political content aren’t in play. There are feminists who’d watch Cap Marvel even if it had horrendous flaws and still praise it for the message and there are anti-feminists who would hate it regardless of the many virtues it has. If anything, the vast bulk of movie audiences are post-racial, post-feminist, even post-political in what they want to see. They accept a movie on the quality of the product and not the ideology that inspired it.
There is no gender competition between Captain America and Captain Marvel nor is there racial competition between Iron Man and Black Panther. Within the movie “Civil War”, there was a very strong political competition between Captain America and Iron Man and neither one could be considered the victor. The one thing all these movies had in common was a hero (or heroes) who stood up for what they believed to be right with everything they had, regardless of consequences.
America loved that style of movie – and story – for our entire history. Most of the world, for that matter. I suspect it is fundamental to human nature in some way.
Strong female characters have existed in comic books for a long time. In the superhero movie category, others came first and some have made significant amounts of money. Think of Ghost in the Shell, Lucy, and the Resident Evil franchise. And female action adventure heroes like Ripley, Sarah Conner, Tomb Raider, Kill Bill. How long has Supergirl been showing on television? Buffy the Vampire Slayer for chrissakes! The original Wonder Woman TV series. Do I need to take it back to Diana Rigg as Emma Peal?
Never mind an entire generation growing up with strong female characters as standard fare in games, visual novels, lite novels, manga, and anime.
You see, the strong female hero was never something we couldn’t accept. It just had to be done well and have solid financial backing. It surely helps a lot to be done in an age when we are capable of such awesome effects. It helps a lot to be a part of a fantastic franchise (the MCU) that has already made billions.
But I have to say I’m sorry for the MCU (and happy for DC) that DC came out with Wonder Woman first. It was a better show all around. I got a more continuous sense of her development from a child to a goddess. I felt a lot more empathy for her and her not so super comrades. It did not stray so far from the comic book canon. It didn’t have (as many) derivative scenes in it. (Seriously. Thru the Marvel movie wife and I were both saying, “I remember that scene from…”)
And the truth is, most of the people I have talked to wanted an origin story for Black Widow. That’s a journey I’d love to see. But is was still a fun movie and they will make money.