Captain Marvel [movie reaction]

I had written about last year's Avengers: Infinity War in this blog and other Marvel films as well such as Thor: Ragnarok and Black Panther. I have also reviewed other superhero movies: Venom and Aquaman. In the end-credit scene of Infinity War, Nick Fury is disappearing into dust, but in a modified pager he left behind we see the logo of Captain Marvel. She will be in Avengers: End Game after the story of Infinity War.

Captain Marvel is the first Marvel film with a female superhero as a protagonist. I was excited as I was for Wonder Woman, I loved that film too. I love Marvel and their past films have been great and I had great expectations for Captain Marvel.

Story (without giving away too many spoilers)
Vers is a member of the Starforce, a group of fighters from Kree, an alien race. She has been in the planet Hala for six years, and she has no memory of her life before that. She only knew that she had always been there but somehow lost her memory. She has extraordinary strength, but her mentor and leader Yon-Rogg always tells her to control her emotions as they are her weakness. They have a mission to attack the Skrull, a race of shape-shifters and enemies of the Kree. Vers is captured and in the attempt to extract information from her, the Skrull's technology only showed her flashbacks of a past life in a place that looks like Earth.

In the action, she crashes towards Planet C-53, a.k.a. Earth. The damage her arrival has caused attracts the attention of Nick Fury, a SHIELD agent (he's not yet in a higher position). Vers' claim to be from outer space sounded unbelievable and crazy at first, but with her laser blasts Nick gives her the benefit of the doubt. The Skrulls follow Vers to Earth, and eventually infiltrate SHIELD. She and Nick Fury team up to stop the Skrulls, and Vers also tries to find out if she did have a life on Earth.

She finds out that she was Carol Danvers, an Air Force test pilot. The woman she frequently sees in her flashbacks is Dr. Wendy Lawson, her mentor. She tries to find Carol's best friend Maria Rambeau, who knew Carol Danvers. Maria confirms that Vers is Carol, but she was thought dead years ago. Meanwhile, Carol learns the truth about the Skrulls, and now she's not sure if the Kree are still the good guys. She also learns that Wendy is not human after all and was a Kree known as "Mar-Vell." Her memories eventually come back to her, and she remembers how she got her powers and how she ended up in Kree. She eventually learns how to take full control of her powers.

Thoughts on the Movie
I think that Brie Larson is perfect as Captain Marvel. I find her so astig (our Filipino term for 'cool' and 'badass'). I find her sardonic humor funny, her interactions with a younger Nick Fury was cute. Though I didn't find her as convincing in 'girl with no memory of her past' role. There are many scenes throughout Carol's life where she falls down but she comes back up, again and again.

I'm amazed at the improving technology in movies, though. For this movie they had to digitally change Samuel L. Jackson's features to make him look younger. In the story, we also learn why Nick Fury's eye got damaged, and after many years of Marvel films, the reason is really simple and quite amusing.

They did a pretty good job of that
The thing I love most is the 90's references in the movie, since it's set in 1995 after all. I didn't really get Guardians of the Galaxy for it's focus on the 80's since I'm not from that era. Millenials like me born in the 90's will have fun with all the things 90's in the movie. There's the slow dial-up connections, the grunge fashion, the music with 90's hits that I can still memorize. I think I sang happily along when Garbage's 'I'm only happy when it rains' and TLC's 'Waterfalls' played.

Another character to look forward to is Goose, Lawson's pet cat. He's a character on his own and I think it's the first animal with a significant role in a Marvel film.

As for the movie, it was good, but it's not my favorite Marvel movie. It's probably third place next to Captain America: Winter Soldier and Black Panther.

Women and Representation
Since the movie's protagonist is a woman and the film itself was released on International Women's Day, it's natural that the story is also focused on the women and their relationships. I already mentioned in my past reviews of movies and TV shows that one thing I dislike in movies is when the girls and women are treated as nothing more than sexual objects, that their role in the story is to further a man's story. I didn't like Solo: a Star Wars story (read my review) because the only conversation between women is that "He likes you, girl," dialogue.

It's good that films nowadays also strive to create great female characters, like Rey in the new Star Wars trilogy and Jyn Erso from Rogue One. Some of these characters, including Captain Marvel, has received a lot of hate from trolls on the internet. But as a girl who grew up with stories about men, I think it's the right time to have stories that are great portrayals of women and can also be role models for young girls.

In the Captain Marvel film, there's a lack of romance but there's still love - love between best friends, comrades, and mentors. I love how they showed that Carol greatly admired her superior Dr. Lawson and her relationship with her best friend Maria Rambeau was great as well. Maria is a single mom and Carol helped her raise her daughter. Maria's daughter, Monica, played a good role in supporting Carol as well.

My favorite scene of the whole film, which also has a personal meaning for me and maybe for a lot of women too, was when Carol finally confronted Yon-Rogg. Yon-Rogg was about to say that she has to prove to him that she can control her powers and keep her emotions down. Carol blasted him off with her powers before he could even finish speaking! And she said my all-time most favorite line in a movie:

"I have nothing to prove to you."

I silently cheered in my seat because I said the same thing to some people a few times in my life. Like Carol, I was also told to control my emotions, keep it down, be a nice girl even if there are situations in life that we also have to protect ourselves at the expense of expected nice-ness. I have been told to 'prove myself' a few times so people can accept me, so I can conform to their idea of me. And these people who said it didn't really know me or have a stake in my life for me to care about their opinions.

I have said "I have nothing to prove to you," in my actual life, and to hear it in a movie was a great feeling. Like Carol, many women have probably experienced having others tell us what to do or feel even if it's not what's in our hearts. Carol only needed validation from herself, not from Yon-Rogg or anybody else.

In her journey, Carol learns that her emotions are not the enemy - she learns that for her to make full use of her powers, she has to channel them. Sometimes others tell us that emotions are bad - that cold intellect and emotionless logic will save the day. But for me, emotions when put to good use serve our good. Even anger is a signal that there are some things in our lives that we have to change. Even jealousy makes us realize what we feel we lack in our lives and makes us do what we can to change that. Without emotions like love or compassion,  the world will be a cold place.

She's powerful and almost indestructible - but that she gets up again even if she falls down. She recognizes her own worth, her inner strength that she doesn't need to prove to others. And that's where Captain Marvel's real strength lies.

I'm looking forward to see her again when Avengers: End Game hits the theaters this April.

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