[Movie Review] Gender clichés, battled to a draw
The newest member of the Marvel film world goes on a nostalgia trip
One thing we learn in “Captain Mar-vel” is that it’s pronounced MarVELL, like the English poet — or at least it used to be, on distant planets and right here on Earth, a windy rock also known as C-53. That was back in 1995,when most of this movie takes place and when the world as we know it had not yet been colonized by the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Yes, of course, Marvel Comics had been around for decades, but when the heroine crashes through the roof of the Blockbuster Video store, landing in between the “Family” and “Drama” sections, there are no Avengers or Iron-Man titles on the shelves.
Instead, she picks up a VHS box of “The Right Stuff,” which earns a mild chuckle, since while we know that she’s a space alien named Vers (rhymes with “cheers”), we also have reason to suspect that this young woman is connected with the United States Air Force, and maybe the space program, too, like the guys in that film. Also known as Carol Danvers, and played by Brie Larson, she has some of their bravado, and also — since she’s on the way to intergalactic superhero-ism — a righteous sense of mission and a burgeoning identity crisis.
The last and least surprising thing we learn about her is that “Captain Marvel will return in ‘Avengers: End game,’” a scrappy little picture that will be released in seven weeks, if you can stand to wait that long. Directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck from a script they wrote with Geneva Robertson Dworet, “Captain Marvel” is an origin story, which is to say a résumé check for the newest member of popular culture’s biggest, most heavily capitalized corporate team.