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Reel Review: “Captain Marvel”

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Brie Larson plays the charming and driven Captain Marvel in the latest Marvel Cinematic Universe film. PHOTO BY MARVEL

By Anna Husted EBS FILM CRITIC

“Captain Marvel” proves that moviegoers want to see a female-led superhero movie from Marvel, and that Marvel can make a compelling, clever and gratifying female-led movie. During opening weekend, “Captain Marvel” made $153 million, making it the seventh most lucrative opening-weekend film for the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), according to Box Office Mojo. Clearly, we need more female-led superhero movies.

An inter-galactic war reaches Earth when Vers (Brie Larson) crash lands after escaping The Skrulls, aka the bad guys. She has never been to Earth before and finds the year 1995 on Earth to be primitive and exhausting. Her mission is to find a Dr. Lawson in order to figure out why the Skrulls want this doctor so badly. It is imperative that she gets to Dr. Lawson first.

While uncovering the mystery behind Dr. Lawson’s research, Vers discovers her true identity is that of a human, not an alien species. She is Carol Danvers, U.S. Air Force fighter pilot and all-around hero even before she got her superpowers. One of the most unique parts to “Captain Marvel” is that we discover Vers’ origin story while she also is finding out about her past, making “Captain Marvel” a mystery film as well as superhero story. Containing multiple twists; a female-dominated soundtrack, featuring Gwen Stefani in a climactic fight scene; and my favorite of the furry friends, a cat named Goose; “Captain Marvel” surprises and delights at every turn. 

“Captain Marvel” also cleverly gives us two MCU origin stories, that of Danvers who becomes Captain Marvel, and Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), who we know as the creator of the Avengers. The wonderful thing about origin stories is you don’t need the MCU background to follow along.

The complex story of Vers is laid out clearly and efficiently whether you’ve seen a Marvel movie before or not. As a human, Danvers is constantly told by the men around her that she will never make it as a pilot because she is physically weaker and too emotional. After she accidentally absorbs superpowers and lives on an alien planet, she is told she cannot let her emotions get in the way of using her powers. Being too emotional is something every woman has heard from a man at some point in their life, and I love that “Captain Marvel” addresses emotions as the thing that makes us who we are. Everyone has emotions and shutting them off makes us weaker.

Prior to “Captain Marvel” and “Black Panther,” Disney Studios did not have a great track record of diversity in the MCU. Not one other Marvel movie has a lead that is a female or person of color. After the success of these two films, hopefully Disney won’t just see “Captain Marvel” as a response to DC Comics’ successful “Wonder Woman,” but will invest in a diverse future.

Even if you’re not watching the MCU films or if you suffer from superhero fatigue, “Captain Marvel” is worth watching. And if you’re up to date with every MCU film except “Captain Marvel” then you can’t miss it before “Avengers: Endgame” comes out on April 26. “Captain Marvel” fills in some gaps that “Avengers: Infinity War” left in its wake.

I don’t want to ruin the surprise by uncovering the entirety of the movie’s fantastic supporting cast or dive deeper into Fury’s origin story, which involves that kitty named Goose. You’ll just have to discover the rest for yourselves.

“Captain Marvel” is now playing in theaters.  

Anna Husted has a master’s in film studies from New York University. In Big Sky she can be found up on the hill or at the movies at Lone Peak Cinema. When not gazing at the silver screen or watching her new favorite TV show, she’s skiing, fishing or roughhousing with her cat, Indiana Jones.

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