Captain Marvel tackles too much

Andrew Stez

Moving parts in marvel film complicates origin story

Vers crashes on a planet foreign to her, but there is something familiar about it. She realizes that this planet, Earth, might be the source of her inner turmoil.

“Captain Marvel” meets the criteria that has come to be expected of superhero movies: action-packed, with beautiful CGI and gratifying fight scenes. However, the film attempts to be an origin story while also juggling political commentary that — while a noble effort — can be confusing at times.

The film jumps back and forth between flashback scenes and her current conflict with the Skrulls, and alien race, in an attempt to provide a much-needed backstory for Captain Marvel. While these moving parts were interesting, they do not come together until the end of the film, leaving the audience to guess their significance until the end of the movie.

Left: Talos (Ben Mendelsohn) Photo: Chuck Zlotnick Courtesy of Marvel Studios 2019

For much of the first part of the film, Vers follows the guidance of Yon-Rogg, played by Jude Law, who trained Vers for her role on a specialized squad fighting for the Kree side of the war.

Whilst training and on her first mission, Vers experiences disturbing flashbacks of a plane crashing on a mysterious planet — which the audience knows to be Earth. In this memory, a woman Vers feels that she admires, despite not being able to recognize her, is murdered in front of her. This flashback prompts her on a mission of self-discovery alongside navigating the intergalactic politics of the Kree-Skrull war.

Much of her process of learning the significance of her memories is slow, jumping back and forth between her flashbacks and training. All of which makes the first act seem boring, even if intriguing, when compared to the pacing of the other acts.

Vers soon realizes Earth is the planet in her memories
and that the mystery woman is somehow connected to her past on Earth as an Air Force pilot.

Vers meets Nick Fury, a recurring character in the Marvel cinematic universe played by Samuel L. Jackson, who, as an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D., is tasked with dealing with alien threats, such as Vers and the Skrull.

L to R: Leader of Starforce (Jude Law), Ronan (Lee Pace), Korath (Djimon Hounsou), Att-Lass (Algenis Perez Soto), Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel (Brie Larson), Bron-Char (Rune Temte) and Minn-Erva (Gemma Chan) Photo: Chuck Zlotnick Courtesy of Marvel Studios 2019

While the dynamic between Fury and Vers adds humor and dimension to the film, it still feels like there is too much happening in the film, and this relationship doesn’t provide enough comedic relief to make up for it. Fury serves as a connection to the other beloved films, while also providing some backstory of his beginnings in S.H.I.E.L.D., it helped keep the story engaging, even when it is confusing.

Additionally, the conflict between the Skrull and Vers is another source o confusion. Though the Skrull are villains in most of the film, their position in the conflict eventually becomes more complex as the political subtext of the film develops.

The Kree-Skrull war becomes more complicated than just who is good and who is bad.

It is this backdrop that sets the stage for the most critical moments of Vers’s develop