By Ella Alalade, Third Year, Ancient History
The important message of the first Marvel film to celebrate a female protagonist overrides any predictability to prove a must-see ahead of a new generation of Avengers films.
The story starts in 1995, with Carol Danvers (Brie Larson) as a member of an elite alien force, the Kree, fighting against the Skrulls, their supposed enemies. The film centres on her forgotten past that she tries to connect through her mysterious dreams and random cases of déjà vu.
Youtube / Marvel Entertainment
Throughout the film, Carol is often told to be in control of her emotions when her memories spring to her. The narrative illustrates that emotions shape everyone’s identity, and society unfortunately tells women to suppress them. As she goes on her journey of self-discovery into her humanity, the secrets about her past and the truth are revealed, allowing her to discover and unleash her power as a cosmic superheroine.
Marvel uses Captain Marvel as a message to women that their journey, however difficult it might be, has the potential to achieve more than what society dictates to them. Even though the film is set in 1995, the message remains clear that a woman can be strong and emotional at the same. This is crucial at a time when women must go through trauma and trouble in order to be considered 'strong'. It is essential to illustrate this message for all women; struggles do not define who a woman is.
Captain Marvel does not force the issue but serves as a reminder to society and Hollywood that women define their own journey. Furthermore, the character of Carol, aka Captain Marvel, a rare female pilot in the air force, describes the historical reality that women face within the workplace and the film’s arc teaches the basic value of respect for women.
IMDb / Captain Marvel / Marvel Studios
The relationship with recurring Marvel character, Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), who is 20 years younger thanks to CGI, serving the role of supporting sidekick who helps her to find the missing piece to her journey. Jackson is much less cynical and ruthless here playing the younger version of his character, and more curious as he meets an ‘alien’ for the first time.
Further support is also present as she encounters her forgotten friend and pilot Maria Rambeau (Lashana Lynch) and Rambeau’s daughter Monica (Akira Akbar), the roster of female characters presenting a show of sisterhood. These relationships are arguably stronger than her eventual friendship with Fury. To Monica, Carol serves as a role model figure, where Monica’s assumed dream is to be in the Air Force. This links into the prominent feminist narrative, which despite the harsh reality of male dominance, encourages women to pursue their passion and this can be achieved with support.
Asides from the feminist message, the action scenes take time to develop, especially as the audience waits to see her full powers develop. The plot twist is predictable with a few inconsistencies from other Marvel films, but overall the flaws do not affect the narrative or the message of Captain Marvel.
It helps that Larson brings charisma to her take on Captain Marvel, embodying the new identity of a hopeful, multidimensional character. She said in an interview with ABC News that they are ‘subverting the genre in a lot of ways and breaking new ground, and we’re doing it in a way that feels natural’. This is Marvel starting a new phase of films that will try to remain culturally relevant, which previous release Black Panther (2018) has done with its strong message of Black empowerment. Captain Marvel discusses the importance of human experiences, especially given the unsure climate of contemporary society.
IMDb / Captain Marvel / Marvel Studios
As the first Marvel movie to feature a female protagonist, this film brings a feminist message with an overload of great ‘90s pop references. Captain Marvel is a must-see, as Marvel begins a new phase with a new Avenger.
Featured Image Credit: IMDb / Captain Marvel / Marvel Studios
Which female Marvel superheroes would you like to see join Captain Marvel on the big screen?