Movie Review: Captain Marvel

Captain Marvel soars in opening weekend box office, showing the importance of representation.


Captain Marvel from one of the many comic illustrations of her beside Brie Larson’s Captain Marvel from the film.

It has been a long time coming but, Marvel’s first film focused solely on a female character is finally here, and it is out of this world. Captain Marvel takes place during the intergalactic battle between the Kree and Skrulls and details the unlikely origin story of Carol Danvers as she tries to piece together her memories of another life as a US air force pilot and her current life as a Kree warrior. The film led by Brie Larson, has received mixed reviews from critics, but soared at the box office opening weekend, bringing in $153 million at US theaters alone. Regardless of the often intense critical lens that superhero movies are plagued with, Captain Marvel is without a doubt an energetic, nostalgic film that is much needed and much appreciated in today’s world.

*Mild Spoilers Ahead*

Marvel is no stranger to period movies with Captain America: The First Avenger set in the 1940s and portions of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 grounded in the 1980s, but Captain Marvel takes this to a new level with the 1990s. From the first moment Carol Danvers arrives on C-53 (Earth) and crashes into a Blockbuster store, landing in the middle of various VHS tapes, the audience is engulfed in the beauty that is the 1990s. Long before juice cleanses and soul cycling, the city of Los Angeles was filled with internet cafes and Blockbuster video stores. Characters use search engines like AltaVista, make secret battle plans using pagers, and call back home using pay phones. Citizens roam streets in their flannel, band tees, and ripped jeans, and their lives are constantly accented with a soundtrack featuring bands like Nirvana and No Doubt. Viewers are immersed in nostalgia of the great decade as they watch Carol Danvers ride a motorcycle through the Californian desert wearing a Nine Inch Nails shirt or take on her enemies in a perfectly timed fight sequence to the song “Just A Girl” by No Doubt. The setting and 90s aesthetic throughout the whole film are one of the biggest successes of Captain Marvel.

Goose steals the show in Captain Marvel.

Although this film features many powerhouse actors and actresses such as Jude Law, Gemma Chan, Annette Bening, Brie Larson, and Samuel L. Jackson, the true break out performance in this movie was from Goose. Modeled after the cat Carol Danvers has in the comics, Goose is an orange cat, but received a name change for the movie. In the comics she is named Chewie (after everyone’s favorite wookie in Star Wars), but in the film she is named Goose, an ode to the successful 1980s film, Top Gun. Goose steals the show every minute she is on screen, melting hearts and provoking laughs, but the scenes with Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury are the most memorable. Audiences get to see a light hearted side of Fury as he interacts with the playful feline, snuggling up to it in the hallways and on a spaceship. Could the fresh face, two eyed Fury’s new, trusting side be his weakness though? Watch the film to find out.

Maria and Carol in Captain Marvel.

Another big success of Captain Marvel comes from the story itself though as it strays from typical cliché female led films that focus on romantic relationships and instead focuses on developing a strong self and long lasting female friendships. Although there are many external conflicts weighing down on Carol, the biggest weight of all comes from her internal conflict. She can no longer remember her past and often doubts herself at the beginning of the movie, becoming a follower rather than the leader she was destined to be. It was enjoyable to watch Carol grow as a character throughout the film as she addressed both her internal and external conflicts. There is also no romantic love interest in this movie but rather the platonic love between long time Air Force best friends Carol and Maria. Their strong friendship carried portions of the film and was interesting to see play out on the screen as it is different than most other Marvel films. I am interested to see if their friendship is mentioned in future Marvel films.

It is impossible to not comment on the box office success of this film also as it illustrates the importance of representation as well as the monopoly big film companies like Marvel have on the entertainment industry. Big companies like Marvel or DC will always draw in large crowds for films because of the fast rate they produce films and the cult followings they have amassed, but the success of Captain Marvel extends beyond that. This film proves that big production companies can create films with a strong female lead and still find success. Many viewers flocked to see Captain Marvel because for the first time they finally feel represented in the world of superheroes by her character and what she stands for. Hopefully Captain Marvel will lead the way in the future of the entertainment industry for other female lead stories to be told on the big screen.

My favorite part of the movie was Goose!”

— Rachael Stokes (12)

Overall, Captain Marvel might not be a perfect film, but it is an important film. It is important for the future of the MCU and leading up to Avengers: Endgame which gets released on April 26. It is important for other filmmakers and critics to see its success at the box office. And it is important for all the girls and women out there to have strong female role models presented on the big screen. To any Marvel fans or movie fans in general, do not miss seeing Captain Marvel soar “higher, further, faster” on the big screen. And let’s all hope Carol can save the MCU when she returns in Avengers: Endgame.