Socialist Worker

A marvelous step forward for cinema’s superheroes

There’s some interesting themes in Captain Marvel, and sexists won’t like it. But it failed to live up to its potential, argues Gabby Thorpe

Issue No. 2645

Brie Larson (centre) is a good choice to play Captain Marvel

Brie Larson (centre) is a good choice to play Captain Marvel

Marvel Comics has finally taken the leap and released a solo film for a female superhero—it’s a long time coming.

Captain Marvel is also the first film with a woman behind the camera in co-director and writer Anna Boden.

It stars Brie Larson, who alongside acting is a women’s rights activist and advocate for sexual abuse survivors.

Film studios should have made a shift to more diverse films sooner, particularly considering their ­cultural impact.

But perhaps with the hugely ­successful Black Panther last year, we may see more like Captain Marvel.

It tells the story of Carol Danvers, a member of the alien race Kree, sent to Earth to stop Skrulls (alien shapeshifters) from colonising.

Even the trailer for the film caused controversy among internet trolls who claimed that the character “wasn’t feminine enough”.

It’s a welcome arrival with Carol Danvers serving as a good role model for women and girls who feel ­underrepresented in comics.

She is the most powerful superhero in the Marvel series of films. And these complaints from sexists point to what is good about the film.

It highlights everyday sexism in a way that is important, and also unsettling.

Technology from the 1990s is used to generate laughs. There are many references to 1980s and 90s ­culture—and a nod to Top Gun.

But some of the attitudes towards female characters still reflect women’s daily experiences twenty five years later.

The plot features a displaced ­community of aliens, and to an extent, an anti-war message.

Ultimately the film fails to make a strong statement, but it sets up a sequel with the potential to make an impact on its audience.

Hopefully, a sequel will build on the strengths of the film and expand on the concepts of imperialism and refugees.

Beyond its political relevance, Captain Marvel does not offer a whole lot to people who are not familiar with the Marvel cinematic universe.

In terms of the series, the film follows all the usual tropes of a Marvel classic and will particularly appeal to fans of Samuel L Jackson’s Nick Fury.

There is nothing particularly new happening, however it fulfils its job in tying into the final Avengers film and provides an entertaining viewing experience.

Overall, the film was good but more would be appreciated in spreading the message of the victims of war and the position of women in the world.

Captain Marvel is on general release

Click here to subscribe to our daily morning email newsletter 'Breakfast in red'

Mobile users! Don't forget to add Socialist Worker to your home screen.