Captain Marvel, the first of Marvel Studios’ to be lead by a woman, shattered the box office. Making $153 million dollars domestically and a collected $455 million worldwide, making it the second highest Marvel opening weekend behind Avengers: Infinity War, and as well as the highest grossing female-led movie in history, the sixth highest opening weekend, and the fifth best international opening weekend of a movie ever. So the film is a financial success, this can not be denied, but is it good? Simply put, yes. It is amazing, as a piece of superhero media, as a film, and as a feminist cultural icon. I wholeheartedly believe that this movie should be seen by everyone who can get out to see it.
Brie Larson, who in my opinion has yet to give a disappointing performance, is amazing in the titular role. Her ability to never seem as though any of the hardships she is put through in the film, paired with her physicality that makes you believe that she can do the amazing stunts, makes her exactly perfect for the role of Carol Danvers. Despite the movie being set in the era of grunge, it and Larson’s performance is not grungy or gritty, it lacks the dark realism that plagues comic book movies of late, instead, she is always confident and, sometimes literally, glowing throughout.
Samuel L. Jackson, continuing to look amazing and working harder than most actors in the United States even at age 70, is also amazing in this. It isn’t a Nick Fury backstory, per se, just the amount of time we get of him on screen allows us to learn more about him in this single movie than we had in the more than a dozen we have seen before it. Fury becomes more than just a man in a black leather jacket and an eyepatch.
Set in the 1990s, the film has a perfect representation of the era. Danvers crash lands through a Blockbuster Video when she lands on Earth, and gets electronics at a Radioshack. Danvers steals a Nine Inch Nails tee shirt and wraps a flannel shirt around her waist when she takes on the guise of a human from Earth. With songs from Salt-N-Pepa, R.E.M., TLC, Nirvana, and No Doubt, this movie very successfully epitomizes the nineties, slow dial-up internet and all.
Captain Marvel delivers a story we need right now, regardless of your gender. As we get Danvers’ history, it’s told focused in on every time she fails. She crashes her bike after trying a jump and a go-kart she drove too fast. She falls after swinging too far after a wild baseball pitch, and misses a jump during her Air Force boot camp and falls to land hard in the dirt. But, as is always more important, after every fall, she gets back up again and doesn’t give up. She isn’t just good at everything she does, she worked at and earned all the skills and positions she has. Opposition comes at her from every side, the rule that women in the Air Force aren’t allowed to fly combat missions, all her male cohorts in boot camp, the kree on her squad and the Supreme Intellect that rules their government.
An amazing follow up in representation in comic book movies to last year’s Black Panther and Wonder Woman the year before that, Captain Marvel is yet another example of the amazing storytelling that can be shown if these studios would have faith in both underrepresented characters, actors, and filmmakers. I do hope that we can get more than one of these movies a year, now that we know that they can do gangbusters at the box office, but as always, there is a backlash to the film from the toxic parts of the nerd culture. But I would advise everyone to just leave those people to their echo chambers, Captain Marvel is an amazing movie, and as Danvers says near the end of the film, “I don’t have to prove anything to you.”
Captain Marvel is now showing in theatres worldwide.
David Castro is a Puerto Rican writer from New York City. He has worked on the upcoming Undead supplement for Chill Third Edition and is working on launching a Patreon. You can find him on Twitter (@theinkedknight), on Tumblr (thedevilsyouknew), on Facebook (facebook.com/inkstainedstudios), and at davidrcastro.com.