Films

Captain Marvel

This is supposed to be a review over Captain Marvel (because, you know, I do dabble in writing film reviews that don’t talk about any cinematography or get super critical in the review, but instead, like with my book reviews, just talk about the experience of watching the film and how it made me feel).

It’s more like a love letter.

Confession time: before I saw the movie, I wasn’t super stoked for it.

Don’t get me wrong: I was stoked for another female superhero movie. Yes, yes, a million times yes. But at the end of Avengers: Infinity War, where we learn that Fury is calling upon Captain Marvel to come and help, I was bummed, because I didn’t want them to just introduce another superhero into the mix who comes and fixes it all in Endgame while I’ve been with some of these other characters for multiple films and instead, I wanted to see how they were going to deal with this impossible threat.**

But I was still curious about the film and of course I was going to go see it. We went and saw it opening night, in fact. And…it was incredible.

After watching it, the first thing I turned and said to my boyfriend was, “Wow. I wish I had something like that to watch when I was kid.”

See, here is the thing. I could talk for paragraphs about how much I enjoyed this film. How I loved Fury’s and Carol’s friendship and the humor they shared together. The way the film incorporated flashbacks and showed the fragmented memories of Carol’s past that simultaneously left you guessing, but also made you believe you got the full picture. The chills I got at the foreshadowing of Infinity War (and the definite chills I got during the post credit scene).

The way I’ll never trust my cats again.

Image result for captain marvel cat

But no, what really stood out to me was the way I just…I just yearned for that kind of role model growing up. Real and genuine. Non-perfect, but always trying to do better than before. The way she didn’t hide her emotions or frustrations, admitted to her mistakes and always kept going forward. The way that she continued to get up time after time because she was never going to let anyone–especially men–tell her what she could and could not do, who she could or could not be.

Yeah, younger Nicole wishes she could have seen that growing up.

Before we went to the film, I asked my boyfriend what the whole controversy over this film was. I’d heard inklings and whispers about it on social media, but never looked into it enough to truly “understand” why there were some negative responses before the film even came out, because I could kinda hazard a guess at where it was coming up. My boyfriend confirmed my guess after the film, when he said, “I don’t agree with them, but I know why the men who aren’t feminists didn’t like this movie.” I asked him what he meant and he pinpointed a scene, a montage of Carol after she was pushed down, verbally or physically, time after time as she grew up. It was a scene that didn’t stick out to me at all as a feminist agenda or something that would make small-minded men upset.

For me, that was just reality.

Though I’ve never been in the military or lived on a different planet, the memories of being picked on or bullied thanks to being a woman flashed through my mind on the ride home in fragments like they did for Captain Marvel as she tried to remember her life. How my coach spit sunflower seeds on my shoes to help me “run faster,” since I insisted I got to run with the boys after decided to not do a field event when running track. For getting made fun at school because I was–and acted like–a tomboy. How I got picked last during gym class because no one thought I could actually play dodgeball. How any time I show emotion, I’m immediately asked if it’s “that time of the month” and jokes are made to stay away from me, yet if I say the word period or talk about my heavy blood flow, I immediately am reported to HR as unprofessional. How I get hit on when I don’t ask for it and when I ask them to stop, suddenly I’m a bitch.

It’s goes on and on and on.

Image result for captain marvel

So that scene, watching Danvers get pushed around and mocked and talked down upon time after time again? That didn’t strike me as feminist (though you could argue her response was), but reminded me of the wrongs our culture and that general mindset still cultivates. But seeing her push through and continue forward, no matter what, inspired me. I haven’t always responded in that way, often times shrinking down when I should be sticking up for myself. Because growing up, I don’t think I ever understood that I could stick up for myself. That a woman could actually do that. Sure, I might have been told that by my parents or encouraged by my friends, but to see it on screen? Have not just an idea, but an image, a person, to latch onto and think of, whenever I need to?

That’s entirely different.

I haven’t felt this way since watching Wonder Woman, which was a groundbreaking film for me, emotionally. It was the first time I’d ever felt this way.

I can’t wait to feel this again–because I have faith we as a society and the film industry a a whole are not done yet, showing strong, complex and inspiring women on screen. I’m excited for my future daughters to have the chance to always grow up with being able to see themselves in media like this, portrayed more than a sex symbol or an accessory, but instead, a powerhouse of their own making.

Cheers.

** I should make it clear that I don’t read comics (unless it’s called Saga and it’s in the business of ripping my heart out; only on Volume 3, though, no spoilers), so to me, all these super heroes and their stories are new and completely tied to the cinematic universe, as far as my knowledge goes.

15 thoughts on “Captain Marvel”

  1. I figured going in and coming out that my experience would be far different than the women in the theater and especially my daughter. I picked out the so called “feminist SJW” moments and laughed to myself knowing they’d tick some people off. And I wondered what elements of the film would resonate with women in ways they wouldn’t with me. I haven’t asked my daughter yet how she felt other than whether she liked the film. (She did). I enjoyed it. It was fun. I LOVED the 90’s nostalgia and music. I love the Capt Marvel character. My sons really liked it too. They didn’t seem to have any inkling of the crap adults have been flinging around about the movie. They just enjoyed getting to see another Marvel movie and talked the whole way home about how it fit in with the rest of the MCU. For them it just was the next movie in the series, no fake controversy, and everything seemed normal. So maybe that’s my hope is that kids watching see the what the movie offered and say this female super hero thing…what’s odd or wrong about about that?

    I’m also super glad it meant something more for you. Back to my original comment about knowing my experience would be different than yours…I’m glad it resonated so deeply for you. I think more of that is a good thing.

    1. I’m really glad you all enjoyed it so much. And honestly, it is so heartening to hear that your kids weren’t like, “Wow, I can totally see where this controversy is coming from,” but instead, just enjoyed it as another superhero movie and to them, it just felt…normal. That gives me a lot of hope for the next generation!

      My boyfriend really liked the 90’s nostalgia, too, as he’s in his 30s, so that was his high school days, I think? He definitely caught a lot more references than I did.

  2. I have not seen this film but I was talking about it with the ma and she was saying how wonderful and empowering the film felt for her and how much she wished there were more movies out there like this. She also commented that she thought it was odd that there were only couples and women at the show in the evening and wondered where the men were. For her that’s a huge statement because she doesn’t usually pay attention. Me nephew just went with the flow and loved the movie because it was about superheros. Thanks for the review. I loved getting yer take on it and sharing yer memories. Arrrr!
    x The Captain

    1. I’m so glad your Mom had such a positive experience with it, too. I don’t remember who was in our theatre, I didn’t pay too much attention to that (I prolly should have). I hope you enjoy it if you do go see it and thanks for reading the review!

      *salutes*

  3. I think Captain Marvel may be my favorite of the MCU films so far. I absolutely loved it for the sheer unadulterated FUN of it, and I wasn’t expecting that it would be fun. In fact, I thought it would be one of the more serious films, along the lines of Winter Soldier (which, until now, was my favorite). For instance, my favorite part of the movie may be where she is single-handedly taking on the Cree planet-busting barrage, and she whoops in the middle of the fight. I adored how she’s having a good time.

    We saw the movie with another family with whom we see all the MCU blockbusters. The two dads both really enjoyed CM, but the two daughters and the other mom and I really loved it, for many of the same reasons you did.

    1. Yes, exactly! I definitely thought it would have a more serious tone, too, but I liked that there was still some humor in it (but not overbearingly so, like Ragnarok did ((though I seriously loved that film, too)). I definitely laughed more than I expected to.

      I’m really glad you all enjoyed it, as well. ❤

  4. I haven’t watched it yet. I’m not really caught up with the MCU. I haven’t even watched Infinity War yet *gasp*. Glad to hear that you liked it. I hope I get to it one day. Eventually.

    There was certainly a bit of controversial pre-release, I think it had something to do with Brie Larson saying she wanted to be interviewed by more non-white men, which ended up being misrepresented as her hating white men for some reason… spin doctors gonna spin I guess. That led to review bombing pre-release which led to rotten tomatoes introducing some new policy to stop that, which led to more controversial… what a time we live in…

    1. There are still a few MCU films I haven’t seen yet (though I am impressed you haven’t seen Infinity War yet; I hope it hasn’t been spoiled too much for you!).

      Oh wow, I hadn’t heard all of that backstory. But goodness me, you got the “what a time we live in” part right. Honesty…*shakes my head*

  5. Ok I wanted to wait to read your post until I saw it too, and I just got back from seeing it. I really liked it, I loved how funny it was, but to be honest I was kind of expecting…more? Like how you mentioned Wonder Woman, I felt the same, like I could take on a thousand dudes after seeing it, and I really felt for Diana after what she went through. And I also wished I had that film growing up, so maybe I was going into Captain Marvel with the same expectations, and it left me a little…disappointed? It was still really good, but some of the things they were trying to get across (that you can have emotions and still be strong!) weren’t really emphasized or used as much as they could have been?

    Like we never really saw her get angry, or react much to what was happening to her. The scene of her blasting her way through the Kree ships looked awesome, and yeah she is a badass, but she’d only just discovered she can use her powers to their full extent and fly through space, and she…never reacts once? I thought maybe once she landed back on earth we’d get some kind of reaction, like her catching her breath. Or even when she was flying up there she could have mentally compared it to flying a fighter jet, or they could have done similar inside-her-helmet views like for Iron Man, so we could actually see her perspective, but there was none of that? I don’t know, I think I wanted to connect on a more emotional level with her, and I didn’t, so that was a bit of a let down.

    So that’s my rant, but I still liked it, and I’m so glad kids today (especially girls) have her as a superhero to look up to! I def loved how goofy Fury was, and Goose was amazing. Goose will defeat Thanos 😛

    1. Oh, I can TOTALLY see where you are coming from, here. I didn’t have really high standards going in to see it (still can’t pinpoint why, either), so I think that’s one of the reasons I just loved it so much. But I also wouldn’t have minded at all if they amped ALL of that, especially actually seeing a wider range of emotions, like you described. It wouldn’t have hurt the film at all.

      Goose WILL defeat Thanos and it will be incredible. 😛

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