Brie Larson
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MOVIE REVIEW: Why “Captain Marvel” Feels Like a Pat on the Head ( & *Parent Review)

The first thing I noticed about Brie Larson’s Captain Marvel was the sound of her footsteps. They are heavy and solid, and signify that something serious is approaching. It’s quite a shift from earlier female superheroes, who are essentially deadly ballerinas. Implied weight is rarely a good thing for a female movie character (think back to ANY time you remember a woman with heavy footfalls in film) but it signifies a shift in how a woman is perceived onscreen. Carol Danvers isn’t light, but skinny can’t be expected to save the world.
Carol Danvers’ heavy steps are one of many progressive female notions you’ll catch in Captain Marvel, and how you feel about that will affect how you feel about the film in general. Will you soak it all in OR (like the woman sitting behind me at the screening) will you say, “Stop force-feeding me GIRL POWER!”
I happen to fall somewhere in the middle.
I love Brie Larson’s Captain Marvel and how her character-arc sets up an Avengers future. I wish there was more clarification about her powers though (like why they don’t kill her) and feel that some of the more important relationships seem hollow (especially between Danvers and her best friend Maria Rambeau, played by Lashana Lynch). There’s one scene in particular that galls me though, and has me wondering when Carol Danvers can just be a superhero instead of a female superhero.
Danvers is in a heated battle with all of her strength on display, while No Doubt’s “Just a Girl” plays in the background. The song is clearly tongue-in-cheek and makes sense for the mid ‘90’s timeline, but the joke still falls flat for me. Pointing out that she’s a woman ONCE AGAIN feels a bit like a condescending pat on the head.
It’s like the time my youngest daughter asked us NOT to cheer so loudly when she made a basket during a basketball game.
“Stop acting like it’s such a surprise,” she said, and I knew immediately what she meant.
So thank you Marvel for giving my daughters another strong female character to look up to. Thank you also for giving us another badass woman who can take on the toughest of villains and (hopefully) save the world but honestly, when can we stop acting so surprised? (B)
*Parent Review: Captain Marvel is rated PG-13 for “sequences of sci-fi violence and action, and brief suggestive language.” I’m quite surprised by this rating because I only remember a handful of mild swear words and thought it might be rated PG. The violence is on par with other Marvel films but it’s almost completely devoid of blood (most that is shed is blue). Captain Marvel has wonderful messages about perseverance and family, too. There’s also the aforementioned strong female character, which I might have nit-picked but young women in general will appreciate. Young men will enjoy Captain Marvel as well, since there’s nothing girly about this warrior, and Marvel fans of all ages will enjoy the bridge it’s building to Avengers: Endgame. You’ll also need to stay through the credits again because there are TWO bonus scenes you won’t want to miss!
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