Higher, Further, Faster, Baby: A 'Captain Marvel' Review

This article contains spoilers for Captain Marvel.

As someone who was a bit late to the Marvel game (I first watched Iron Man in 2014) but now considers herself a huge fan, I’ve been super excited about Captain Marvel. It was released last week, on International Women’s Day (iconic), and earned $455 million worldwide on its release weekend. Obviously, it’s Marvel’s first solo female superhero film, but it’s also the last movie before Avengers: Endgame, and the special few who got to see it said it was amazing. It’s also been in the news because of high numbers of internet trolls critiquing both the film and Brie Larson for feminist views. I’ve never read the comics, so my only information about Captain Marvel came from what I frantically Googled after the Infinity War post-credits scene, everything that’s been used to promote the movie, and the tweets of people who saw it before it was released. So, basically nothing.

First reactions: it was fantastic. It was a great combination of action, character development and music. It pulled from the Guardians trend of putting location names onscreen and integrating music into the movie in a way that both sets the scene and adds a layer of comedy. A lot of scenes felt very reminiscent of Star Wars pod racing, especially the chase through the rock formations when Maria (Lashana Lynch) and Minn-Erva (Gemma Chan) are trying to shoot each other down. And the nostalgia! Blockbuster, Radio Shack, the disguise Carol grabs off the mannequin. Also, can we talk about whatever editing Marvel uses to de-age their actors? I know it’s been used before (hey, Civil War), but it’s so cool every time I see it.

Honestly, I liked the plot, but the strongest part of the movie was the characters. Each person had their own background and goals, and they all got their own character-building scene. We’ll be seeing a lot of these characters again, especially in a franchise as large as Marvel, and the movie did a great job of introducing new characters as well as giving us background on the old ones. (Fury and Goose, guys. The duo we deserved.)

Carol Danvers is introduced to us as a strong woman who is passionate about her cause and likes to joke around. She’s self-assured from day one, only pausing to wonder about her past. There is a little character growth—she goes from trying to control her emotions to embracing being human, but for the most part, she’s presented to us as a finished character, no gaping flaws or cracks in her personality for a sidekick or romantic interest to fix. She immediately switches sides when she realizes she was on the wrong one and sticks to her values like a champ. Her lines are great (“I don’t need to prove myself to you”), and that montage of all of her past selves getting back up off the ground and fighting for her rightful place??? Chills.

Maria Rambeau is also a badass character in her own right. She’s Carol’s BFF from Earth and pretty much takes it in stride when aliens end up in her house. Maria gets her own story and is an important part of taking down the Kree squad that’s trying to kill them all, and she does it while being a fantastic mother. She’s capable, she’s confident, and she knows a lot of physics.

Nick Fury’s a character we’ve only seen one side of up to this point. He’s been the dude with the eye patch, always wearing a black leather trench coat and recovering from deathly injuries like it’s no big deal. He’s younger here! And completely different, probably due to the fact that he’s never met any non-humans before, and it’s still exciting and new. He and Danvers have a fun and unique dynamic, and I really hope they get to meet back up in Endgame. Even young Coulson gets a cameo, which gives us the beginning of their relationship and shows how loyal Coulson was even then. My personal favorite scene? When Fury decides to rename his superhero program after Carol “Avenger” Danvers, and the Avengers theme music plays.GOOSE! Everything I expected and dreamed. I love her, and I would die for her. Everything that Fury said and did was my exact reaction to seeing every cat ever. Really happy about the pro-cat representation. Yes, in the end, Goose wasn’t a cat, but I think it counts. How long does a Flerken live? Will we get to see her interact with other Marvel superheroes? (Thor, please.)

My favorite part of the movie was that it showed female characters realizing what they were capable of, taking pride in that, and having fun while doing it. When Captain Marvel destroys giant warships at the end, she’s laughing and having the time of her life doing it. When Maria’s flying and trying to shoot down the Kree ship, she knows she can do it, and she owns it with a fierce happiness that’s rare in any of the Marvel women. Black Widow is known for being snarky, emotionless and methodical in her actions. Maria Hill is clearly capable enough to be Fury’s right-hand woman, but she never seems particularly proud of her position. Even Peggy Carter was a “strong” woman—she was nonchalant about her capabilities as an agent, even in situations where it would have been expected for her to brag.

Carol Danvers and Maria Rambeau are so unapologetically expressive in just how much they love what they do, and it’s honestly inspiring to see. They know they’re good at what they do, and they’re ready to shove it in the face of anyone who dares to tell them differently.