‘Captain Marvel’ smashes box office, hearts


Photo Courtesy of Tribune News Service

Brie Larson stars in “Captain Marvel.” (Chuck Zlotnick/Marvel Studios/TNS)

By Sandhya Sivakumar, Columnist

There’s been quite a few lackluster reviews of “Captain Marvel.” It’s a movie marketed simultaneously on female empowerment and military funding. Most of the reviews of the movie so far, however, seem to say the movie doesn’t go far enough in one way or another.

Despite the various criticisms of the extent of empowerment in the film, there aren’t many critics attacking the blatant military propaganda in the film (par for the course for Marvel), firmly placing the U.S. Air Force on the side of refugees instead of with the colonizers who refuse to let a species that won’t submit to their rule live in peace.

Instead, they criticize Larson’s serious demeanor, the complicated plotline and the action scenes. It seems like “Captain Marvel” can satisfy no critic. As a character marketed as a role model for young girls, the bar should be set high, but criticizing a superhero movie for things like not showing enough interpersonal communication skills feels like a reach.

I remember how incredible it felt to watch Captain Marvel slice through a spaceship like it was butter. I remember how giddy I felt when, instead of falling for her old mentor’s jibe to fight him without her powers — to really prove herself without the flashy stuff — Carol knocks him out in one punch and drags him across the ground in shame.

Once Carol took control of her power, there were no obstacles left in her way. There was no long, unnecessary fight where she’s beaten down to the last dredges of her ability and expends a final, last-ditch burst of energy to magically take down the enemy. She just obliterates everyone and everything in her path.

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    Once she’s won, she’s won. There’s nothing bittersweet about her victory, no tragic loss that colors her success with sadness. Carol and her friends save the day with absolute ease, and everyone comes home safe and sound. It’s the ultimate female power fantasy. After a million Marvel movies of male heroes who agonize over their dumb choices and cause millions of dollars of property damage because they can’t have a conversation like adults, it’s so refreshing to see a movie where the main character consistently makes correct, practical decisions and executes them flawlessly.  

    The criticism of the film is legitimate. It could have gone further, flown higher and faster, especially in terms of Maria and Carol’s relationship, and Carol’s personality is pretty much determination, unbridled power and the occasional quip.

    Despite all its various flaws, “Captain Marvel” was an incredibly satisfying film. It’s fine with me that Carol’s just a really strong lesbian. If the movie had cut out the military propaganda and had Gemma Chan be on Carol’s side, it would literally be my perfect film. It’s fun. It’s really fun watching an unquantifiably powerful woman just dunking on men left and right.

    Despite mediocre reviews and an actual campaign of 1-stars on Rotten Tomatoes, Captain Marvel had the second-highest global opening weekend of any Marvel movie, only behind Infinity War, and the sixth-highest global opening of all movies ever made. Who needs a super suit or a vibranium shield when you can harness the power of a reverse black hole?

    Sandhya is a sophomore in LAS.

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