On the Scene 3/15: The ceiling becomes the floor for ‘Captain Marvel’


“Captain Marvel,” Marvel’s 21st installment and penultimate chapter of its Phase Three in its Cinematic Universe was released in theaters last week and box offices around the world have been flourished by the overwhelming number of moviegoers, which is something we have all become used to by now.

But, for the first time in Marvel’s 11-year franchise, we saw something that we are not used to – a female-led solo movie.

Taking place in 1995, “Captain Marvel” serves as a prequel to the Marvel franchise and sets up how the initiative for the Avengers came to be. The movie follows a fighter pilot turned superhero stuck in the middle of a war between two alien races, the Kree and Skrull.

The film opens with Vers a.k.a. Carol Danvers, who is portrayed by Academy-award winning actress Brie Larson, who is currently dreaming about her past. When she wakes, we learn that she does not know where she has come from.

Throughout the entirety of the movie, we follow Larson’s character as she tries to piece together who she was and how she came to be where she is now. But in the end, we are left with so many gaping plot holes that leave more questions than answers.

Vers, who has been told that she is a soldier in the Kree army, trains alongside Yon-Rogg (Jude Law), and begins to question her own past to him. He subsequently blows her off and she just accepts it.

Following a battle, we eventually find ourselves on Earth with Vers, who seems to remember the place but nothing about her past.

This is where problems with the story start coming in. Larson’s character has no idea that she was a human from Earth, which we begin to realize through flashbacks, but as soon as she comes back, it’s like she never left.

Other than the fact that she can figure out technical Earth items, like knowing how to use a computer or drive a motorcycle, we also see her character know how to interact socially.

At one-point, Vers sits at the bar with a young Nick Fury, played by Samuel L. Jackson (who was de-aged for the movie), at the beginning of his career.

The two question each other and although the interaction may seem normal, it just adds a certain familiarity to the story. Not that they knew each other, but that Vers isn’t uncomfortable with where she is, as if she’s fine being on an unknown planet, speaking to another species, breaking bread as if nothing is wrong. But the script just uses subtle jokes to try to mask that and the story moves along as such.

Personally, I enjoyed the movie. It is another chapter in the Marvel franchise that as a fan, I will go back and re-watch multiple times. It’s humorous, action-packed and includes characters that we have developed relationships with over the last decade. Though, if the Academy decides the put it up as a Best Picture nominee next year, I think I will blow my top, but hopefully it doesn’t come to that.

I think Marvel did a great job introducing a new, female superhero in its long list of heroes, but there are many issues with the plot that ultimately makes this installment a bit of a letdown.

Writing team Anne Boden and Ryan Fleck, of course wanted to introduce the first female-led Marvel movie protagonist, who is already way above the glass ceiling herself, but go about it the wrong way.

Unlike Patty Jenkins’ “Wonder Woman,” we are given a character whose greatest flaw is that they can’t remember their past. The character already has her powers, her personality, her wits and training – why would we want to watch an origin story of someone who already has an origin?

Ken Downey Jr. is the Features Editor for Time OFF and Packet Publications. This is a part of his series of weekly columns focusing on arts and entertainment. He can be contacted at [email protected].