When villains can’t be villains, we all lose. Since Disney bought the rights to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, superhero films have been nothing short of predictable. Their latest, Captain Marvel starring Oscar-winner Brie Larson, is no different. While I did not expect much from this movie, it still managed to let me down. Few things bother me more than a supreme craftsman punching under his weight. Despite the countless classic stories Disney has told over the years, they refuse to let heroes be heroes. For what is a hero without a cunning villain? Antagonists are the most compelling aspect of the hero’s journey due to the questions their logic pose. We all know why the hero must do what they do. They’re the hero — they must stop evil at all costs. Therefore, the only “why” that presents itself is that of the villain.
That, ladies and gentlemen, is the reason your butts are in those seats, believe it or not. During my two-hour sentence of watching this film, one thing became clear. Disney could not care less about how these Marvel movies turn out. The profits they’re making off this cyclical mediocrity is absurd. Although Disney seems to care a great deal about their original stories, Marvel movies appear to function more like residual luxuries than essential assets. This is common rich-kid behavior. The MCU is not their baby. It’s their toy. To be fair, though, Marvel would have gone under if not for Disney stepping in to save them. In that regard, I am thankful because I do enjoy Marvel movies. However, the drop-off in quality since their acquisition of the franchise is inexcusable. These films have so much potential. And yet they receive insufficient attention in spite of their lofty budgets.
Here, Larson and Samuel L. Jackson attempt to salvage any charm from this laughable script. When I say laughable, I don’t mean funny. The dialogue in Captain Marvel detours the plot rather than progressing it quite often. They force pun-centric exchanges down the ears of the viewer, praying for a chuckle. And without villainous conflict this story shrivels out of existence before the midpoint. Every fight looks staged. Every character is either melodramatic or robotic. Except for Jackson, of course. He is who he is. But even his contributions were forgettable. There is no attention to detail! Disney has no incentive to try harder because we are going to see these movies regardless. Right? That seems to be the case. As you can tell, it makes me sick to my stomach. As fans, we deserve more than the scrap meat off the bone. We deserve relatable characters with relatable flaws.
Across two dull hours, this trio of screenwriters failed to acknowledge the humanity of Captain Marvel. Her mere flaw was that she forgot who she was. Are y’all serious? The message behind this film is ludicrous to me. Carol Danvers is the Earthbound identity of Captain Marvel. That is, before the plane she and her superior were testing crash landed at the hands of an alien race. The Kree people shot them down and snatched Danvers following an energy core explosion. The core’s power went into Carol when she destroyed it. So, the Kree decided it was best that she never knew who she was prior to the blast. They raised her as one of their own, keeping her true identity from her. This goes on and on, she finds out they’ve been lying this whole time, then she teams up with shape-shifters who she thought were the bad guys.
So, the entire film is essentially about a flawless person. Kree kidnapped, deceived, and told her she would never master her powers. Basically, nothing is ever her fault. There is no necessary or tangible change the character must make in order to grow as a human being. This is what makes Captain Marvel such a bore. Thor is a show-off. Iron Man is insensitive. Black Panther is proud. These are the blemishes that encourage emotional connection to a character. Once that hero overcomes their faults, then they can achieve their goal. Marvel’s lone female star has a dangerous goal set in place. Here Disney portrays women as powerful and perfect. I can agree with that first part. However, the latter simply is not true. If I had the honor of having a daughter, I would not want her to be anything like Captain Marvel.
No disrespect to Ms. Larson, though. This is a character beef, not a personal one. Disney ruined their chance to make their female hero as compelling as her male counterparts. Despite her incredible strength, she is still written with a victim’s mentality. They have disguised a blatant disrespect for feminine fortitude with yet another cliche, against-all-odds narrative. Disney, and the writers they hired, spent little time building their villains into people of malicious intent. There is no resounding threat of danger in this whole movie. Instead the antagonist role plays a game of hot potato until it finally splats on the floor. And all Disney will do is shrug their shoulders and say, “Whoops! Sorry for another bland superhero movie. We’ll try harder next time!” But they won’t. What a sad day for storytellers. Disney has told heartwarming stories for decades. There is no excuse for this pile of meh.
By all means, there are worse superhero movies than Captain Marvel. Nevertheless, a story is only as good as its villain. A villain’s objective fuels the hero’s journey. This is Storytelling 101, folks. The character of Captain Marvel is not a role model whatsoever. She is an idea devoid of attainment. Disney won’t let their villains exhibit truly evil intentions because of the adolescent market they’re targeting. However, the message they are sending to that market is that nothing is ever their fault. This character is always nice, always sweet, always brave, always doing the right thing. Everything happens to her, but never because of her — outside of the climax. Tell me: Who can live up to that? Literally no one, that’s who. Even Marvel’s gods have flaws, so why is she any different? They want you to think that because she’s a woman that she’s different.
Yet that is but half the truth. Women are humans too. So, it is only right to make them equal — as they fucking should be. Just as flawed; just as powerful, but in their own unique way. I mean, shit, they wouldn’t even let a woman direct the film without male supervision! But hey, I’m a part of the problem. I paid 13 dollars for this ticket. Please listen when I say: Don’t pay full price for this movie. They didn’t do the courtesy of adhering to fundamental storytelling elements. Hence they do not deserve your hard-earned money. You can skip this film without worry and still enjoy Endgame just the same. I will continue to berate Walt Disney Studios until something changes. They have toyed with the notion of billion-dollar profits for far too long. Hire competent writers with artistic vision. It’s the least y’all can do.