Captain Marvel
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Captain Marvel

The unstoppable Marvel Cinematic Universal continues to steamroll over their perennial rivals, DC. After twenty-one films breaking box-office records for over a decade, the capstone of the Thanos primary story arc is at hand. Before that seminal achievement is at hand. Before lone anticipated film there is one final piece of the puzzle, member of the roster must be introduced. Most agree that the MCU is overdue in presenting a female super heroine as the eponymous movie character. With the successful DC release of ‘Wonder Woman’, the pressure from the fans has increased exponentially the female character to assume that historic position would be the Avengers original, ‘Black Widow’. But with the planned change in focus to expand the action beyond our fragile planet, the cosmic MCU demanded a young woman of exceptional power, charisma and fan recognition, Captain Marvel. As with many character names in Marvel, the mantel of Captain Marvel has been assumed by several characters. The most familiar, and arguable best regarded is that of Air Force test pilot, Captain Carol Danvers (Brie Larson). Her inaugural movie was released mere months before ‘Endgame’, in a dramatic eleventh-hour addition Captain Marvel was incorporated into the grand climatic battle to save sentient life in the was uncharacteristic of Marvel to introduce such socially significant ne characters as ‘Black Panther’ and Captain Marvel’ so close to the grand conclusion of a decade lone epic tale but each of these late comers to the MCU are crucial, but only to the final resolution, but critical to the of the upcoming Phase Four and beyond. The film under consideration here provides the necessary foundation for the character and several long-established aspects of the franchise. This is deftly accomplished with one of the most considered use of a film length flashback. As the future of the universe hangs in suspense awaiting ‘Avengers: Endgame’, the audience is brought back to the nineties.

Screenwriter/director Anna Boden waste no time whatsoever in dropping the audience in the think of the story. There are two opposing galactic races are engaging in an ongoing battle for domination. The Kree, a mostly blue skin aliens, are initially the focus of the story with a strike training, assembling for combat. The Kree have already been introduced to the MCU through their associated television series, ‘Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ as well as several characters previously included through the ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’. A character that will shortly be seen here, Ronan the Accuser (Lee Pace), the primary villain in the first ’Guardians’ film and Korath (Djimon Hounsou), the individual who questioned the identity of ‘Star Lord’ in the same film. This helps perpetuate the unrivaled continuity maintained by this decade long franchise. The connections to the other movies, past, present and future, is especially crucial since the story is set decades before the established primary timeline.

During her tenue with the Kree our protagonist is referred to as Vers, ostensible human albeit with the blue Kree blood. She also manifests the ability to project blasts of ‘photonic energy’ from both hands. The leader of her squad and primary trainer, Yon-Rogg (Jude Law), constantly insist Vers control her emotions to maintain better control of her powers. He also demands that she be able to best him with her powers as proof her control. Vers is conflicted, unable to remember any aspect of her life beyond a few years before, when she joined the Kree, this is a major topic of concern whenever she reports to the A, I. governing the Kree, ‘The Great Intelligence. When a person interfaces with the AI in cyber space it manifests as the individual’s most trusted person. For Vers it is a friendly, older woman portrayed by Annette Bening, this person also has a dominant position in her visions/ drams that taunt her with enigmatic glimpses of an unknown past. The time-honored plot contrivance of amnesia is utilized with considerable effectiveness. within the narrative context it serves a dual purpose. First, it offers a convenient, organic means of delivering the exposition and backstory required to introduce a new character. Secondly, it becomes the primary motivation for the character, the burning question of identity, self-origin and fundamental truth that is necessary to break established, trusted relationships prior to self-realization.

The sworn enemy of the Kree are another extraterrestrial race, The Krull. With the innate ability of shapeshifting, the Krull are ideally suited for infiltration and deep cover assignments. The leader of the race is Talos (Ben Mendelsohn). When the fight is taken to the Earth, in 1995, he blends in by assuming the identity of the current head of S.H.I.E.L.D., Director Keller. During her escape, Vers lands on Earth crashing into a Blockbuster outlet. Introducing the pointy eared shapeshifting Krull is a major step for the eventual and now inevitable inclusion of the Fox/Sony properties. The Krull were the second enemy to challenge the then fledging team of superheroes, the Fantastic Four. Marvel’s first family encountered then long before their most iconic foeman, Doctor Doom. The Fantastic Four battled them in issue #2 of their comic book. their ability to assume the form and emulate the personae of almost anyone is undoubtedly a standard plot contrivance. Saving its use from the mundane is the efficient way it is deployed. The use of duplicates directly influences the course of the narrative frequently ensuring the story progresses in the most optimal way. Coulson’s future as the Director of S.H.I.E.L.D., is foreshadowed by his willingness to circumvent the letter of the rules to ensure a just outcome. Another expedites laying the groundwork for a potentially significant deviation from the comic’s canon.

Of course, the established paradigm for the modern Superhero blockbuster, includes the non-negotiable, CGI driven battle. The requisite showcasing aspects of the undercard fights ramping them up to an extreme level with battlegrounds both terrestrial and beyond to the depths of outer space, arguably similar sequences in Wonder Woman were literally more grounded but the nature of Captain Marvel demanded an expansive setting. In order to display the extreme power level wielded by the protagonist, combat beyond the confines of our planet was required, when Carol flying through space devoid of the need for an artificial conveyance, she is able to smash a Kree Accuser battle cruiser using only her personal abilities. Over recent years the expectations for comic book-based films has risen to the current heights of excellence, casting has become increasingly critical, on par with and film striving to dominate awards season, these movies are now helmed by the very best directors with proven screenwriters proving multilevel scripts and highest production standards Ms. Larson is a winner of an Academy Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role. The caliber of her talent is well showcased as she is able to realistically strike a balance between the epitome of the female warrior and a young woman, haunted by an unknown past and emotionally vulnerable.

Posted 06/14/2019

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