Movie Review: Captain Marvel


The first main female hero came into theaters to celebrate International Women's Day, and Captain Marvel did not disappoint.

By Anna Henning, Fossil Ridge High School

Since 2008, Marvel Studios has been creating superhero films that have captivated the world. Over twenty films have been made in the same cinematic universe, and, for the first time, the main hero is a woman. She is not the supporting character, she is not the love interest; she is Captain Marvel, and she tells the story so many have been waiting for.

It challenges genres, bringing fresh plot and a set of empowered characters to take the world by storm.”

Captain Marvel hit theaters March 8, on International Women’s Day, and it is one of the most unique Marvel films to be seen on screens yet. This film is the origin story to the origin story, taking place before and showing a new aspect of backstory before The Avengers. It challenges genres, bringing fresh plot and a set of empowered characters to take the world by storm.

Captain Marvel, a soldier for the Kree, is a sort of supernatural being. The film begins with her going on a mission to continue the battle between her people and the Skrulls, an alien species that can completely change appearance to disguise themselves. Captain Marvel finds herself stranded on planet C-53, or as we know it, Earth. She keeps have recurring memories of her human past self, Air Force pilot Carol Danvers. Captain Marvel is a film of Carol uncovering her past while trying to keep the Skrulls from gaining access to lightspeed technology.

The plot starts off pretty confusing. It shows a lot of little pieces to a story that are difficult to understand. I like this choice, as I could feel the struggle right alongside Carol for the answers. However, this made the beginning of the film pretty muddy and not very enjoyable. As the movie progressed, I was able to relax and enjoy the experience more, instead of constantly searching for understanding.

Plot reveals in Captain Marvel tied in more than I expected to my previous knowledge of the Marvel universe, and offered more explanation to some unanswered questions. The reveals felt slightly rushed, and could have used a bit more explanation. Although the reveals were well thought out, they deserved a little more time to shine. However, at the same time, I like the mystery, because that is one of my favorite aspects of Marvel movies. I love that the universe is so extensive, so mysterious, and so unknown. With that in mind, I still would have liked just a bit more exploration into the new information given.

Carol was an intensely complex, strongly furious character. Her determination demands to be seen, and she is not the typical, one dimensional female character. She is a bit impulsive, as she follows her instincts, struggles with who people try to make her to be, and learns to only answer to herself.

When Carol ends up separated from her group and commander on Earth, she finally gets the opportunity she has been waiting for—to figure things out on her own. She does not listen when she is told to stay put and wait to be rescued, diving right into things and not waiting for permission. On Earth, she is like a fish out of water. She communicates differently and dresses differently, getting a lot of confused stares. The way she interacts with others and speaks reminds me of Buzz from Toy Story, an unexpected, yet fun connection.

As Carol learns more of her story, she learns how to use her strengths. Captain Marvel is, at its core, a story of self discovery and empowerment. By finding her individual strength, Carol learns how to set herself free and unlock her full potential. She learns to give herself permission instead of getting permission, not waiting for the validation of others. There have been rumors that Captain Marvel is the strongest character in the Marvel universe, and from the trailers I was excited yet skeptical. However, after seeing the film, I have no doubts. I look forward to her role in Avengers: Endgame, and I feel like the missing piece to this upcoming story has been found. I still have no idea how the film will play out after Avengers: Infinity War, but I know she is what the Marvel universe needs.

On Carol’s journey on Earth, she connects with SHIELD agent Nick Fury, and together they go a little rogue. Even though they do not fully understand each other’s worlds, they find mutual understanding through purpose. They both embark on their own journey, straying a little from their respective sides. I loved seeing more aspects to Fury’s character, such as his humor and love for cats. Captain Marvel also answers one of my biggest questions, showing why Fury lost his eye.

Captain Marvel is a victory. Not just for women desperate for representation, but for our society as a whole.”

Captain Marvel is a victory. Not just for women desperate for representation, but for our society as a whole. It reflects the progress the United States has made on women’s rights, and reflects all of the things women have been fighting for. It also tackles issues women still face today. Carol is catcalled, seen as weak, and told to suppress her emotions in order to be successful. A glimpse into her past shows she was teased during military training for her gender, and told she would never be strong enough. Despite all the people who doubt her, Carol continues to prove her emotions are not weaknesses; they are strengths. She proves she is worth so much more than how others perceive her, and does not let her failures control her. Carol’s emotions and past struggles form her into herself, fuel her determination, and never bring her down.

Besides just female empowerment, Captain Marvel offers so many take-aways, from friendship to gaining understanding of one’s self. Maria Rambeau, Carol’s best friend from her past, not only embodies a strong mother, but a true friend. She helps Carol piece things together, and is unconditionally there for her. When Carol loses herself, Maria shows what true friendship is—by reminding Carol who she is when she cannot see it in herself. She picks Carol up, encourages her, and shows one of the most genuine friendships I have ever seen on film. Additionally, Carol shows that uncertainty does not have to be a bad thing. Although finding the truth of her past was the key to the puzzle, she still does not know everything about herself. She says, “You don’t even know who I am. I don’t even know who I am,” showing that she does not want to be labeled, nor does she have all the answers herself. This is a very different, refreshing character choice, departing from the hero who is one-hundred and ten percent certain of themselves all the time.

When Maria’s daughter looked at Carol at the end of the film, all the meaning behind the film was so clear. Maria’s daughter looked at Carol as a hero, and I realized in that moment how much this movie will mean to little girls growing up. This film will bring representation to so many that have not seen themselves in film before. However, it is not just for young girls. It is for everyone. This film has lessons about humanity, friendship, and taking initiative that I have not seen in any other movie, male or female protagonist.

Mostly stark settings with pops of color to contrast brought a unique feel to Captain Marvel. It was full of close up, intimate shots of faces to bring the audience right into the film. I loved the balance between the bright, advanced, extraterrestrial technology and our technology from 1995. All action scenes were visually beautiful, with incredible color contrasts, fresh fight scenes, and stunningly realistic CGI. The flashback where Carol gets her powers is especially notable; it includes all this and more.

This film is considered to be in the science fiction/fantasy  genre; however, it defies traditional categorization. It is a drama film, a heist film, an action film, and a suspenseful sci-fi all in one. It has elements of space chase in it, similar to scenes from Star Wars, an element which personally made me appreciate the film even more. It is the most sci-fi out of all of the Marvel movies thus far, and showed even more unique places that have been unseen. It gave me a similar feel to Guardians of the Galaxy, just with less crude humor and a little more seriousness.

Captain Marvel will not disappoint. Marvel continues to bring fresh, innovative, and unique ideas to theaters, and this film is no exception. Besides the slightly muddy plot, I have no problems with the film. I believe everyone should see this film, and will find something within it to be inspired by. Movies are, if nothing else, escapes. People find characters they relate to and look to them for strength. I know that Carol will do this for people around the world, and I am so proud Marvel finally has a film like this. I give Captain Marvel a 4.5 out of 5 stars. It is a must see, and not just once. It is something that will be enjoyed for years to come.

I look forward to seeing Captain Marvel in Avengers: Endgame. I know she is a crucial part to the story, and I cannot wait to see what she does next.

This story was originally published on Etched in Stone on March 10, 2019.