“Captain Marvel” is the first female-led movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe! The first female-led movie in the ten-year-old, twenty-one movie Marvel Cinematic Universe. Captain Marvel breaks the glass ceiling in one of the most misogynistic genres, yet it’s audience barely seemed impressed. With a steaming pot of sexism, laziness, and denial, here’s why I think “Captain Marvel” wasn’t a smash hit, and why I think it deserved one.
What Marvel has started to make aren’t movies as much as they’re episodes in a storyline, each playing its part for a larger plot. I personally love the Marvel Cinematic Universe, their wit, action, a theatrical suspension of disbelief makes their movies enjoyable to the general public. Their linked plotlines and epic arcs are exciting, and I can’t blame them for trying to get butts in seats, but I’ve got to shout a stereotypical “Wake up, people!” This is not how most movies are made, and cannot be the standard for what makes a superhero movie “good.” Comic book adaptations are a rich genre, and if we only give them a seat at the table when they fit the perfect idea of what they should be in our heads… in a few years, the public is going to be pretty freakin’ tired of superheroes.
Captain Marvel wasn’t an award-worthy movie. It wasn’t genre-defying, or emotional, or deep, or what other adjectives critics like to apply. But it was a good, I could even venture to say great, movie. It was certainly better than Avengers: Infinity War, the fourth highest grossing movie of all time. (Captain Marvel is fifty-second on the list.) To be completely candid, when the post-credits scene packed with old characters flashed on-screen, I groaned, shocked by the bland aesthetic and dramatic plot being shoved in my face after enjoying such a strong and vibrant rock n’ roll light show. Captain Marvel felt like a “real” movie, outside of the MCU. It was enjoyable on its own, a true origin story, with completely evil big baddies to fight and friends new and old popping up along the way.
Enough with shaming a movie production company I’m actually a big fan of and on to the positive stuff. I really loved Captain Marvel mainly because I was aware of Captain Marvel the character before the movie was announced – I got into actually reading her comics afterward, but I was aware of her before! Seeing her slowly inch into the public consciousness was a bit of an “I liked it first” moment, but also really exciting. Mostly really exciting. As I watched the movie for the first time, I teared up multiple times, not just because I had been anticipating this movie for so long, but because of the realization that if a superhero I actually cared about was becoming mainstream, the future was limitless.
Another reason I enjoyed Captain Marvel is that I didn’t go into the theater wanting to hate the movie, which I feel many people did. Maybe for sexist reasons (There can’t be a female hero!), maybe for feminist reasons (I bet they can’t do a female hero right!), maybe because they “just want Endgame to come out already.” Opposed to all that, I went in with hope, excited to see the first Marvel origin story in a long time. (Spider-Man: Homecoming doesn’t count. He’s had his chance.)
Overall, Captain Marvel is an enjoyable ride. I’d call it Men in Black meets Wonder Woman with a splash of Marvel flair. This movie was smart, bright, and action-packed, proving itself to be more than worthy of the title “Marvel movie.” Captain Marvel is, technically, the most powerful addition to the Avengers and the MCU, so I’m excited (and appropriately nervous), to see what she does next.