Captain Marvel Reintroduces the Superheroine

Renny Acheson, Staff Reporter

On March 8, filmmaking duo Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck formally introduced Carol Danvers, A.K.A. Captain Marvel, to the big screen. Following the July 2018 release of “Ant Man and The Wasp,” “Captain Marvel” joins the Marvel Cinematic Universe as a filmic interpretation of the comic that debuted in March 1968, created by Stan Lee and Gene Colan.

The film begins in the 1990s, with protagonist Vers, played by Brie Larson, suffering from memory loss and recurring flashbacks while working for the Kree Empire on the planet Hala. After being captured by the shapeshifting Skrulls — against whom the Krees fight in an ongoing war — Vers finds herself in Los Angeles where she is intercepted by S.H.I.E.LD. agents Nick Fury and Phil Coulson, played by Samuel L. Jackson and  Clark Gregg respectively. After finding out that her real name is actually Carol Danvers, she embarks on a mission to uncloak her memories, unleash her powers, and redefine good and evil.

While “Captain Marvel” includes many traditional elements of superhero films, it also highlights distinct experiences of Danvers’ womanhood. During multiple moments in the film, she is told that she must control her emotions, or told that she will not be successful due to her gender. She vehemently resists these setbacks while continuing to work towards her objectives and embodying the intrepid spirit of the Marvel superhero.

Grace Mitchell ‘22 said on Larson’s performance: “I think what she did to the character was bring a strength to it, but a feminine strength. I think you grow with her.”

In contrast to other action-adventure films with female leads, Danvers does not pursue any romantic love interests. The film beautifully portrays moments of vulnerability in her friendship with colleague Maria Rambeau, played by Lashana Lynch, and her daughter, Monica. While Danvers does exhibit an impressive array of superpowers, her love for her daughter and desire to be a role model for her is equally admirable.

Additionally, Danvers possesses a witty sense of humor. The narrative arc mirrors Danvers’ sarcastic and sometimes mischievous nature, taking capricious turns in events. Lindsay Farr ‘22 said:

“I liked that there were a couple of plot twists, and it wasn’t exactly what I was expecting based on the trailer.”

In the two weeks after its release, “Captain Marvel” has grossed over $900 million worldwide. The film responds to the inevitable sexist critiques by acknowledging the challenges that women face in their professional and personal lives, and chronicling Danvers’ triumphs nonetheless. This is one of many films that is a part of the ongoing effort to diversify the world of comics and film in general.

“Even though there is a lot of ire that’s being received from various groups on the Internet, it doesn’t seem to be slowing down,” said Visiting Assistant Professor in German and Film and Media Studies Biz Nijdam. “Comics are taking the temperature of our political moment.”

As both a film and a historical object, “Captain Marvel” redraws the boundaries of strength, heroism and humanity. Its importance as a work of art will not be neglected.