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Higher, Further, Faster: Captain Marvel is Finally Here!

Robert J. Sodaro is an American born writer, editor, and digital graphic artist, who loves writing about comics, movies, and literature.

The Captain is here!

Captain Marvel

Captain Marvel

Credits

Captain Marvel: RatedPG-13(2 hours, 3 minutes)

Starring: Brie Larson, Samuel L. Jackson, Ben Mendelsohn, Jude Law, Annette Bening

Directed by: Anna Boden, Ryan Fleck

The coming of Captain Marvel

Last April we all saw half of all life in the galaxy (including numerous Avengers and their allies) disappear in a snap as the mad god Thanos fulfill his promise to eradicate half of all life once he acquired all six of the Infinity stones. Since then the scuttlebutt has been that the hero who could potentially save the day (and hopefully bring everyone back) was the individual Col. Nick Fury of S.H.I.E.L.D. summoned in the second post-credit trailer at the film’s end. With the release of Captain Marvel, we finally get to see just who that individual is.

Captain Marvel Trailer #2

The story: First Look

When we first meet Vers (as she is known among the Kree) she is an elite soldier in the army of the Kree — an extra-terrain race of people from a planet called Hala on the far side of the galaxy from Earth. During a routine extraction of an undercover operative The Skrulls (a race hostile to the Kree) ambush the team and abduct Vers (Larson). While attempting to extract information from her they trigger some deeply hidden memories of her prior to her joining the Kree.

Intro, the Kree

Vers, Yon-Rogg & Att-Lass, Kree warriors

Vers, Yon-Rogg & Att-Lass, Kree warriors

Welcome to 1995

Vers manages to escape, and winds up on Earth where she is followed by the surviving Skrulls. On Earth (where we all learn it is the mid-‘90s) she is discovered by Col. Fury and new S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg). After dispatching one of the Skrulls, Vers winds up teaming up with Fury and discovers that she is really the Earth-born Air Force pilot Captain Carol Danvers, and that she apparently died after an incident that has removed her memory. Now on the run from both S.H.I.E.L.D. and the Skrulls Danvers and Fury begin to unravel the truth about her past.

She's Bad, She's Bad!

Hunting for Skrulls

Hunting for Skrulls

Who are the Kree?

Meanwhile Yon-Rogg (Law) and his crew (including Korath (Djimon Hounsou) who we first saw in Guardians of the Galaxy) are also attempting to track down their comrade-in-arms. However, all is not truly as it seems (even for those of us who spent our formative years reading the comicbook exploits of the named characters). Still, even though the Marvel Cinematic Universe is significantly different from the comicbook version, this film was not only thoroughly action-packed, but it turned out to be virtually everything we expected it to be, replete with all the slam-bang action of the Marvel films that preceded it.

Yon-Rogg

Jude Law is Yon-Rogg

Jude Law is Yon-Rogg

Ignore the Fanboy Critics

While there are those comic fanboy self-styled critics who will go out of their way to find fault with either Larson herself or her performance (due mostly to her gender), or try to bash the film because it isn’t “true” to the 50+ year history of Marvel’s Captain Marvel comics that have preceded it, but seriously, ignore them all, for if they were honest, none of the Marvel films have been “true” to the cannon of the comicbooks upon which they were based. Such slavish dedication to the comics is nigh impossible (even in the comics themselves).

Minn-Erva in Action

Gemma Chan is the Kree warrior, Minn-Erva

Gemma Chan is the Kree warrior, Minn-Erva

The many Faces of Captain Marvel

The name “Captain Marvel” harkens back to the 1940s when Fawcett Publications jumped onto the burgeoning superhero funnybook bandwagon. Soon, Fawcett’s Captain Marvel comics were outselling National Periodical Publishing’s (as DC comics was then known) Superman comics. National sued Fawcett over the alleged copyright infringement, eventually winning the case in the ‘50s, effectively shuttering Fawcett’s comic line and burying The Big Red Cheese (as the Captain was affectionally known).

The Captains Marvel

There has been more than one...

There has been more than one...

A (Very) Brief History of Captain Marvel

Then, in the ‘60s M. F. Enterprises (briefly) published a different Captain Marvel, but that Captain only appeared in a few comics before legal challenges shut down the publisher, thus ending his superheroing. Finally, in ’67 Marvel’s publisher, Marty Goodman, determined that he needed a hero named for his publishing company, and thus was born Mar-Vell, the Kree warrior. Fifty-two years (seven separate incarnations (four male, three female) and two derivative versions (both female) of the character later we have wound up with Carol Danvers — the first Earth-woman and one-time romantic interest of Mar-Vell — wearing the mantle of Captain Marvel. As stated at the onset, it is this version of the good Captain whose adventures we now see both on film and in the comics (Carol took over the moniker in the comics back in 2012).

The many faces of Carol Danvers

Carol Danvers thru the years.

Carol Danvers thru the years.

Parting Thoughts

All things considered, this is a fine film and a wonderful addition to the MCU, as — since it takes place back in the ‘90s — it fills in, quite nicely, some gaps in the MCU (including some of Fury, Coulson, and Korath’s respective pasts, the motivation for the Avenger Initiative, as well as some other critical objects (That would be telling, go see the film!). Needless to say, we did have a couple of “cringe” moments while watching, but mostly with the selection of ‘90s music chosen for the soundtrack (Yes, yes, we get that one of the easiest ways to let us know this is essentially a “period” superhero film is with the sound track, but honestly some of the music was a tad to “in your face girl power” for us, but we do get that the soundtrack was a major part of both Guardians films, so, yeah, the producers were clearly attempting to replicate some of that vibe here. It just didn’t work as well in our humble opinion.)

Stan (The Cameo Man) Lee

Stan Lee in Kevin Smith's Mallrats

Stan Lee in Kevin Smith's Mallrats

One Last thing

Oh, and just in case we need to say it, there is not only a new Marvel Logo opening (lovingly showing off a montage of Stan Lee clips instead of the standard Marvel comics pages) as well as a truly meta Stan cameo (where he is memorizing his lines for his role in Kevin Smith’s Mallrats — firmly placing the film in 1995). Plus, there are two (2) post-credit trailers, and it is the second one that is a direct lead-in to…well, once again, you need to see it to get it.

At Long Last, Goose!

Yes kids, Goose the cat, was named after Anthony Edward's character from the film "Top Gun"

Yes kids, Goose the cat, was named after Anthony Edward's character from the film "Top Gun"

© 2019 Robert J Sodaro

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