Action-packed, suspenseful and empowering – Captain Marvel is the most recent Marvel superhero blockbuster to hit the movie theaters and it has done so with a bang.
Released earlier this month, the movie follows Carol Danvers as she is caught in the center of a galactic conflict between two alien races all while trying to figure out her identity and her place in this universe. Set in 1995, Danvers is joined by a young Nick Fury as she flees hostile forces, all while learning about her past life as a U.S. Air Force pilot. She ultimately assumes the form of an unstoppable superhero, Captain Marvel, who is on a quest to do good.
Written and directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck, this film is the twenty-first in the collection of Marvel superhero movies known as the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), but the first with a female-led superhero. Captain Marvel was originally announced in October 2014 and is based on the 1971 comics by Roy Thomas.
This release also comes at the climax of the MCU, as the pager pushed by Nick Fury at the end of Avengers: Infinity War is now recognizable as a call to Danvers for help in Earth’s most desperate hour. Hence, this backstory to Captain Marvel provides the perfect segue into the much-anticipated and final MCU movie, Avengers: Endgame, in which Captain Marvel will supposedly come and save the day.
Time and time again, Marvel’s superhero movies have proven to be successful and attention-grabbing, and Captain Marvel is no exception. After merely two and a half weeks, the film has grossed nearly $910 million and counting, making it the highest grossing film of 2019 so far and a likely candidate for the top 50 highest grossing movies of all time. Additionally, it had a worldwide opening of $456.7 million, the sixth most lucrative of all time.
With both praise and criticism for the movie as a whole, one common thread is repeated acclaim for Brie Larson’s portrayal of Carol Danvers. As Owen Glieberman from Variety writes, “Brie Larson radiates an ability that too many comic-book heroes never get the chance to show: the superpower of expression,” as she “lights up a Marvel superheroine film from within.” It is in part due to Larson’s performance that this movie can be seen as undoubtedly feminist.
According to Chris Cody, a sophomore entrepreneurial studies and marketing double major, “It fits with Marvel’s approach to movies, bringing you back to your childhood with such recognizable characters. It is also a testament to how large the Marvel Cinematic Universe has become, as this film obviously has connections to the other Marvel movies.” He continues to list qualities such as “its presence of a female lead character,” or “comical undertones” that make this movie stand out from others.
Not only does it feature a strong heroine discovering who she is, it establishes her as one of the strongest heroes in the MCU. Moreover, this film comes at the height of a feminist movement in society and Larson has delivered an emotional interpretation able to encapsulate all of this. As Peter Travers from Rolling Stone Magazine states, “But everything in its DNA, from representation (in front of and behind the screen) to its notions of empowerment, radiates our moment right now.”
On a larger scale, the movie is generally exciting for avid Marvel followers because of its place in the long list of Marvel-generated films. Since the end of Avengers: Infinity War, the importance and expectation for Captain Marvel cannot be understated. It is particularly exciting to see so much of Captain Marvel on her own before she joins arms with the other dozen superheroes that have been immortalized in the past 10 years of Marvel movies. The strength she has displayed in this solo movie means there is an exhilarating amount of potential as to what can happen in Avengers: Endgame, scheduled for release on April 26.
In one word, Captain Marvel is powerful. With $910 million grossed in such a short time, it tells a captivating story through what is both directly on-screen and the greater implications off-screen. It is certainly one movie that both Marvel and non-Marvel fans should add to their watch list.
By: Alex Budzynski | Staff Writer