Review: 'Captain Marvel' captures 90s, breaks viewer's expectations

Category:  The Arts
Wednesday, March 20th, 2019 at 5:59 PM

Marvel has repeatedly broken expectations with their cinematic universe, and the newest addition of “Captain Marvel” is no exception.
A ‘90s thrill ride from start to finish, Brie Larson stars as the titular hero on a quest for self-discovery. Aided by Nick Fury, played again by Samuel L. Jackson, the two race across the country to stop a galactic tragedy before it’s too late.

Similar to 2018’s “Black Panther,” one of the most diverse films in superhero history, “Captain Marvel” chooses to focus on the characters and plot, rather than the significance of its own existence. In fact, there are only a handful of moments where our hero being a woman is brought up, mostly in flashbacks as she grows up. These moments are more a reflection of the time period than anything, serving to fuel our character’s backstory.

There is no bold, in-your-face statement, no questioning of the character’s abilities because of her gender; there is only acceptance of who she is. That’s the boldest statement a movie like this can make — that there is more to do than defend itself and its premise.

Our story takes place between the events of “Captain America: The First Avenger,” and the first “Iron Man.” There are no heroes right now, fan-favorite Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg) has just recently joined SHIELD and Nick Fury does not have his eye patch or signature mysteriousness about him just yet. The world is as normal and ignorant of the universe as it can be.  

After a mission goes wrong, our amnesiac heroine, known then as Vers, crashes on Earth. What follows is a journey of self-discovery as she attempts to complete her mission while simultaneously unraveling the mystery that is her past. The two truths clash head-to-head and Carol Danvers has a choice to make, one of unfathomable consequence to the universe.

We’re taken on this personal journey with the character through a dive into her past, along with her struggle to be who she was and who she is now, never realizing that each compliments the other. What she remembers as weakness is in fact her greatest strength, allowing her to be a true hero and one she needs to be in the face of adversity. She’s had this strength all her life, even before she obtained her abilities, always rising to the challenge in front of her.

“Captain Marvel” is a fantastic watch and it turns what we think we know about the Marvel Cinematic Universe on its head. So many revelations are unveiled, there’s massive foreshadowing, and of course the humor that makes even the deadliest battles seem lighthearted is present.

The ‘90s aesthetic in the film is perfectly captured, bringing us back to a decade of rapid innovation with pay phones, Windows 95, paper files and Blockbusters abound. It will be a long time before cellphones, laptops and Netflix come into the mainstream. The lack of current technology is another thing the film does right. The time period is not shoved into our face, but rather shown in a manner that makes sense. It’s the ‘90s, nothing more.

Previously, Marvel has said that the films themselves take place parallel to our own time. That is, they usually take place when they are released in theaters, or very close to it. There may be some clever foreshadowing here. For those unfamiliar with the comics, Captain Marvel takes over as leader of the Avengers after Captain America. Is the dynamic of the MCU going to change? Is a fan-favorite hero going to die? We’ll have to wait and see.

“Captain Marvel” also features a beautiful Stan Lee tribute, as well as two post-credit scenes. If you’ve been following along, you’ll thoroughly enjoy the foreshadowing for the next movie.

“Captain Marvel” is currently playing at Erie’s Tinseltown theater.

Jason Hurst | edinboro.spectator@gmail.com

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