I watched Captain Marvel first thing on women’s day from a theatre that was one of the oldest in Ernakulam city, Kerala, India. The theatre was upgraded overtime and the sound system and 4K projection stood at par with the multiplex. The experience wasn’t the same but it gave me a sense of nostalgia as well.
Captain Marvel is the first women-centric film released by Marvel, after a long hiatus since 2008 film ‘Iron man’, trying to overcome the casual sexism that doubted a woman or minority’s ability to draw revenue at the box office. Superhero films, as a genre, targetted young male population but then, the success of films like ‘Wonder woman’ and introduction of badass female characters drew more women in. Despite being a box office star, it took a decade after her introduction in ‘Iron man 2’ for Scarlett Johannson her own movie. Finally, we see ‘her’ in ‘hero’
That being said, Captain Marvel, herself faced a lot of obstacles. The biggest obstacle was in the form of male chauvinists and internalized misogynists. Meh… (trust me, I hoped that it never happened).
Brie Larson’s casting in the role was questioned as the critics didn’t believe that she had the charisma to carry the film. Larson identifies herself as a strong feminist who spoke on several issues like sexual harassment. We know how she cringed while giving away the best actor Oscar to an actor who was accused of sexual harassment. Larson said that she didn’t want the film to be watched by just white men (who were the majority of the audience for previous Marvel films), pissing several Caucasian men off as they took her words out of the context.
Being a woman, Larson faced the heat unlike her male counterparts Mark Ruffalo and Chris Evans who are politically active. Several users rated the film ‘rotten’ before its release on rotten tomatoes. Many believed that Captain Marvel did not have the appealing personality like her DC counterpart Wonder Woman.
When it comes to sexism, plenty of dudes went all ‘hurt’ on social media. One begged the questioned, “there is already a wonder woman, why do we need a Captain Marvel?“. Mind you, 14 solo films on a male superhero were released prior to this. Some couldn’t take the fact that it is a woman who will eventually defeat the supervillain Thanos. They wanted Thor or someone else to get the job done and resorted to derogatory name calling when it came to their views on Captain Marvel.
Other resorted to sexist statements like Carol doesn’t smile enough in the trailers and posters, a scenario that is seen in the film. That being said, one cannot forget all the men, young men who campaigned for a solo woman-centric superhero film since the first ‘Avengers’ came out. Men and women who called for diversity and unity. I watched the film from the theater where most of the audience members were young men and they cheered for Carol whenever she had the upper hand.
Captain Marvel broke the glass ceiling by becoming the first female solo film to cross 1 billion at the box office. They underestimated women and minority when it comes to revenue generation because out of all solo films, it was a woman and a minority who gained 1 billion with their solo debut films; ‘Captain Marvel’ and ‘Black Panther’.
Before watching, I heard of criticisms. Some called this the worst Marvel movie, others called it just tolerable. In my humble opinion, the film is amazing though flawed.
Keeping aside my affinity to lean onto the fact that this is a woman-centric that we got finally, this film has all the flavours for an entertainer. There is a twist, there is pace and the characters are lively. The biggest disadvantage the film has is that it didn’t give space for Carol Denver’s story. The film focusses on her mission, loss of memory and on her joining the wrong team. Then she finds the right path and fights for justice.
Like she did in real life, Carol faces all kinds of sexism in the film. From being eve-teased to constantly taunted with ‘you are too emotional argument’, ironically in those scenes, she was barely emotional. I guess one of the reasons why people didn’t like this film is that they constantly compared it with Wonder Woman. That’s something that should be avoided because both these films are different in terms of style and tone. ‘Wonder Woman’ is more like a war film or a historical piece with action. ‘Captain Marvel’ is more like an entertainer with scenes solely intended for garnering applause. Besides Gal Gadot herself showed solidarity with Larson by sharing an adorable cartoon of Wonder woman and Captian Marvel.
Brie Larson portrayed the role with grace, agility, and liveliness. Samuel L Jackson stole the show with his dry sense of humour and tremendous presence. It is a pleasure to watch Jude Law and Annette Benning. Lashana Lynch gave an adorable presence. It is also bittersweet to see a Stan Lee cameo. The one character who stole is undoubtedly the ‘Flerken’, the most dangerous creature we all love to have as a pet.
One of my favorite moments is the montage which Carol getting back up after facing setbacks, as a child, teenager, during her military training and fight with aliens. This was a powerful moment from the movie because it echoes the important message, no matter how many you fall, where you fall, what matters is that you get back up.
So, Captain Marvel as a film focusses more on setting the stage for the next ‘Avengers’ film. And we find out where Nick Fury got the name ‘Avengers’ from. The shot showed Fury just typing on his keyboard but the audience understood what he was typing and cheered for him.