I had a hot date last night: dinner at the Stone’s Throw Cafe, followed by a short walk to the Morris Theater (everything is nearby in a small town), where we watched Captain Marvel. there was a good crowd there. Another virtue of small town living is that even when the new blockbuster comes to town, it’s no problem getting in — show up ten minutes before, maybe there’ll be a short line, but you’ll slide right through and get a good seat. We parked ourselves way up front, maybe the third row or so.
And then we saw the show.
No spoilers, don’t worry.
First, a criticism: the beginning was very non-linear, jumping about rather confusingly in the Vers/Carol Danvers story. For a while I was wondering if this was going to be a time-travel story, which would annoy me a lot, but then about a third of the way through it all clicked and Marvel’s origins suddenly fell into place. If you’re not familiar with Captain Marvel lore, as I wasn’t, bear with it, it will eventually all make sense.
But then, I’m used to disjointed comic book stories. In my youth, when I was really into comic books, I couldn’t often afford to buy them off the rack, and instead would go down to the local Goodwill store where they’d have a pile of old comic books they mainly wanted to get rid of, so they’d sell them at 20 for a dollar (I was so annoyed when they raised the price to 10 for a dollar). Forget continuity, I’d come to the end of a Fantastic Four cliffhanger and then the next comic in my pile would be a Baby Huey or something. Adapt or die, man.
Minor spoiler: Baby Huey does not show up in this movie.
Anyway, once I got on track it was a good, fun story. It’s not a deep cinematic masterpiece, but as long as your expectations are focused on appreciating a solid genre story, you’ll have a fine time. In particular what I liked about the movie is that it really returns to superhero movie roots: she’s a good person with super powers who cares about other people, including aliens, and exhibits empathy. It reminded me a lot of that first Superman movie with Christopher Reeve — it inspired hope in humanity rather than the usual angsty “let’s watch people fuck up a miraculous opportunity and suffer while demolishing a city”. I kinda need that now and then, because I already have a tendency to lapse into grimdark attitudes.
It’s a good sign for the next big blockbuster out of the MCU, because the Infinity War thingie fully embraced the grimdarkness with a depressing ending, and all the trailers for the Endgame movie are similarly discouraging. Captain Marvel is going to be key to wrapping up that story line, I think, and she’s bringing light and hope. Or at least, she better.
Another good sign: we sat through the end credits (it’s an MCU movie, you have to), and when it finally went black and got up to leave, the entire theater was still full, and everyone was smiling and talking happily. This was also a community event, with little kids in the audience, college students, old geezers like me, and you could just tell from everyone’s expressions that they’d had a good time. It’s a relax and feel good sort of movie.
Also, about the cat…a lot of reviews are talking up the role of Goose the cat. That’s fine, but while he has a few crucial moments, it’s not a big central part of the story. I also wouldn’t call it comic relief. Goose has some anatomical elements that made me very happy, but otherwise, despite the different coloration, he made me think of my cat: dangerously hostile and with peculiar digestive habits. I’m thinking of trying that trick of holding her up, aiming her at my enemies, and giving her a little squeeze.
Maybe we’ve adopted a flerken, rather than a cat. Holy crap, suddenly everything clicked again and it makes so much sense!
Also, a video review!