Even after the success of Wonder Woman in 2017, Marvel Studios’ Captain Marvel has something to prove. Unlike DC’s flagship heroine, Captain Marvel is relatively unknown among casual fans, despite a broad hint at her debut in the closing moments of Avengers: Infinity War. While the film could easily be lost in the build up to Avengers: Endgame, Captain Marvel is still poised to be one of the year’s breakout superhero movies. Considering that there are nine superhero films coming in 2019, that’s not an easy feat!
So far, Captain Marvel appears to be a significant departure from the previous MCU films, both in terms of tone and its overall aesthetic. But those differences may give Captain Marvel just what she needs to take establish herself as a big screen heroine. Everything appears to be in place to make Captain Marvel one of 2019’s most exciting superhero movies.
Marvel’s First Female-Led Movie
While the MCU has certainly seen its fair share of great female characters, Carol Danvers is perhaps the most important. Carol is a massive presence in the cosmic side of the Marvel comic book universe, but she’s also one of the most powerful heroines. In many ways, she’s the perfect character to headline Marvel Studios’ first ever female-led movie.
It would be disingenuous to say that the movie will be good just because it has a female lead. But her presence alone allows Captain Marvel to offer a new perspective that’s previously been missing. She is the main character and this is her story, which is a nice change from Marvel. Until now, Marvel’s heroines were either supporting players like Black Widow, or at best, co-headliners, like the Wasp. Captain Marvel has already helped pave the way for a Black Widow solo movie, and it may even allow other Marvel heroines to get their shot at cinema stardom. That alone is an exciting prospect for the future.
A Few Familiar Faces
While Captain America: The First Avenger was a period piece, Captain Marvel is the first true MCU prequel.The First Avenger begin and ended in the present, which made it more of a flashback adventure. Captain Marvel takes place in the ’90s, which gives it the chance to re-introduce and re-contextualize characters who have already been established in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Dead characters like Ronan the Accuser, Korath the Pursuer, and Agent Phil Coulson get to make their return, while Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury gets to receive an origin story.
This may even be the origin story of the MCU as we’ve come to know it. As a result, Captain Marvel has the potential to add new and unexpected layers to the history of the MCU.
The Kree-Skrull War
Speaking of which, Captain Marvel will finally introduce the Skrulls. While the Kree debuted in Guardians of the Galaxy, the Skrulls have previously been absent from the MCU. By bringing the extraterrestrial race of shape-shifters into the narrative, Captain Marvel will expand the cosmic universe in an important way. The film also appears to be inspired by the classic comic book stories that depicted the prolonged intergalactic war between the Kree and the Skrulls.
Marvel Studios has previously changed elements from the comics to better fit their film adaptations. For example, Talos the Untamed serves as the primary antagonist of Captain Marvel. But the important elements of the Kree-Skrull war appear to be largely intact. The Kree-Skrull War was a seminal Avengers story that kicked off of the Bronze Age of comics with a bang. It set the stage for decades of stories that followed, and now Captain Marvel has the chance to do the same thing on a much grander scale.
The Talent Behind the Scenes
Throughout their career, Captain Marvel directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck have steadily primed themselves as filmmakers who put an emphasis on character and emotional drama. The duo began their professional career with Half Nelson, a film that led Ryan Gosling to his first Oscar nomination. Although Boden and Fleck have only made three films since their debut project, the duo is known for their ability to pull complex, nuanced performances out of their actors.
Captain Marvel has one of the most stacked casts of any standalone MCU movie, and over half of the top billed performers have earned either Oscar nominations or Oscar wins. If Boden and Fleck can get their cast to live up to their previous performances, then Captain Marvel will be an even richer cinematic experience.
A Space Opera For a New Generation
The Guardians of the Galaxy movies and Thor: Ragnarok dabbled in the many tropes that are inherent with space opera. However, there’s one crucial element missing from both of those films – melodrama. That’s a quality that appears to be fully inherent within Captain Marvel, which may make it Marvel’s first full-fledged space opera.
Captain Marvel has drawn comparison’s to DC’s ill-fated Green Lantern movie, and to be sure, there are similarities between the two. While the Green Lanterns were presented as a peacekeeping force, Captain Marvel’s inclusion of Starforce suggests the exact opposite. Unknowingly or not, Carol Danvers has spent time working for an alien race that doesn’t have humanity’s best interests at heart. Basically, she’s the “noble warrior hero” who has to confront her own past and her teammates.
It’s unclear if Captain Marvel will subvert the heroic journeys as seen in space operas like Star Wars, but Boden and Fleck’s ability to create deep and flawed characters may provide a compelling context for the story, even if it is simplistic at its core. All of the elements are in place for Captain Marvel to be a new kind of space opera, and that’s a very exciting prospect.
Do you agree or disagree with our assessment of Captain Marvel? Let us know in the comment section below!