The world has been begging for a movie like Captain Marvel for a long time now. It’s about time it gets released.
It’s been 10 years since the Marvel Cinematic Universe released its first movie, ‘Iron Man’. It has also been 10 long years since I became a fan of the franchise. Watching these movies throughout the years, all I waited from every movie was a really good battle scene and the development of each story. Not to mention, the mid and post-credit scenes are always worth waiting for. It was at the beginning of Phase Two with ‘Iron Man 3’ that I understood what Marvel and Disney were trying to do through their movies. They enlighten, envision, and empower. These we’ve seen in the past movies but their recent offer leaves us with so much more. It changes landscapes and perspectives. Brie Larson and Kevin Feige help us weigh the impact of Captain Marvel in MCU in an exclusive interview.
“These films are part of what’s shaping our culture, who we are, what morals we value,” Brie Larson shares in an exclusive interview. With these films being part of almost half of my years in existence, it can’t be wrong. There is not a single person I know who doesn’t know the Avengers. Some may not have seen it, some may be rooting for the competing franchise, but they surely know Hulk. Show a child a photo of Robert Downey Jr. and they’ll say, “Iron Man.” Ask a friend if they know Spider-Man and I don’t think anyone would say no. A big chunk of pop culture has been run by superhero movies in general and as an MCU supremacist (plus all the facts that check), MCU is on the lead.
In 2013, Marvel has begun showing the vulnerability of their heroes. Though the Phase One movies have already exposed a little about the heroes’ identities, Phase Two dug deeper on their weaknesses—the battle inside Tony Stark’s head, Steve Rogers’ constant struggle with his own morality, and the Avengers dealing with the very demons they have made themselves. These are the characters that taught me that it’s possible for someone so broken to be a hero and for heroes to make mistakes—not just the humans but including Thor, god of thunder.
Phase Three was the beginning of significant changes in MCU. As the franchise continues to mold people and cultures, they took advantage of the ongoing uprising in social landscapes. In this very phase, we witnessed as ‘Black Panther’ take flight. The phase culminates with ‘Avengers: Endgame’ in April but before that, we’re presented with another film that awakens social principles. ‘Captain Marvel’ is the very first stand-alone female superhero franchise for MCU, first hero in the MCU timeline, and Brie Larson, the first female lead.
Marvelous Ms. Marvel
Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige shares that one of the highlights of his career in the industry was “introducing [Brie Larson] at Comic-Con and having her come out on stage and stand with literally almost every other actor from the MCU.” She was at the forefront, standing right between Michael Rooker (dressed as Yondu, ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’) and Tony Revolori (Flash, ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’) after giving Feige a hug. That day in San Diego, she was officially introduced as Captain Marvel. Feige added that her introduction was “a great foreshadowing for how audiences are going to embrace Brie as this character.” Indeed, the audience was thrilled, screaming and shouting for Larson soon as she came out of the stage.
According to Larson, taking the movie role of Captain Marvel in the MCU is a huge honor. Feige mentioned that she has been a huge fan of Ms. Marvel in the comics. This is just another huge step she’s about to make in her successful run as an Academy Award-winning actress (‘The Room’, 2016). She’s become the face of a change, a groundbreaking revolution in the franchise. To her, there’s some glory to be a part of the “legacy of characters and storytelling that is so incredibly meaningful to people” that is the MCU.
What appeals to Larson as she decides to take on the role is having two sides to one character that’s completely different from each other but in totality makes that of a hero. Ms. Marvel is Vers—Kree (an alien race of “noble warrior heroes”)—at the same time she’s Carol Danvers, a human being. “The Kree are really incredible warriors, hyper intellectuals and the best at what they do,” she explains. “Then there’s this other part of her that’s human and that is the loving part of her, but it’s also the part that makes her kind of sassy and a little brash at times. It makes her really emotional. It makes her aggressive and competitive. It’s all of the good and all of the bad in that human side. It’s the flaw, and it’s the best thing about her.” Putting together all these—Vers and Carol Danvers, Kree and Human—is what makes up one Captain Marvel.
“I’m basically playing two characters at once, which will keep the movie constantly surprising,” she adds. This is the charm that Captain Marvel has. She’s a whole new creature but she’s all of us. Even Larson goes through the same conflict as all of us, the viewers, do. “Which one is of most value? And which one should we bring to the table?” She called it an internal struggle but it’s what keeps the movie going and makes her even more interested in playing the character. “The idea of going back to the basics of logic versus emotion will be a struggle within me for the rest of my life,” she shares but aren’t we all? The factors that separate logic and emotion keep our morality complex and constantly fluctuating. Just like Larson and Captain Marvel, this is something we’ll continue to explore.
How these movies are lined up would be a mystery not just for the audience but apparently, for the actors themselves. “I don’t really understand how they do it; it’s just a magical group of people making this happen,” says Larson but later explains that the magic of Marvel Studio and Disney working together to line these films up lead to one ultimate goal. Larson related this process to her ultimate portrayal of the role. “It seems like all of this was leading up to something in the same way that I feel like my entire lifetime of experience being a woman, along with all these other bizarre aspects of me, are all coming through to come together to play this character right now at this period of time. And it couldn’t have happened at any other time other than now.”
In the past 10 years, we’ve only seen the men lead the franchise. ‘Iron Man’, ‘Thor’, ‘Captain America’, ‘Ant-Man’, ‘Doctor Strange’, ‘Spider-Man’, ‘Black Panther’—every single standalone film has been about the men. While powerful women can be seen in these movies (like Gamora, Pepper Potts, Scarlet Witch, Shuri, and Black Widow to mention a few), it feels different to find a woman on the frontline, not to mention introducing her after the heartbreaking events of ‘Avengers: Infinity War’. This led everyone to the theory of her participation in ‘Avengers: Endgame’, and the weigh it brings to the storyline and MCU itself.
But there can’t be a better way to introduce Captain Marvel than now. In a male-dominated franchise with mainly male fans, introducing a female subfranchise is a bold move. We’ve been thirsting for a woman to challenge that now more than ever. Her introduction changes the way anyone would see past movies. “Once you know what Captain Marvel starts and what it inspires within the film, it changes the entire perspective of the rest of the catalog in this very profound way. It’s powerful stuff,” Larson explains. The only way for anyone to understand this is to see the film. Soon as the big screen turned black, there’s going to be an “ahh” moment—everything finally makes sense now. It’s the origin story of all origin stories. And just like all origin stories, it starts not just a fictional endeavor but a real-life revolution.
Ms. Marvel Movement
“Part of what made me feel the stir to do this was when Kevin [Feige] told me that his daughter hadn’t seen any of the Marvel movies and that [‘Captain Marvel’] would be the first one that she sees. That put things in perspective for me of understanding the potential of what this was and the timing of it,” she shares.
In her interview with WIRED, Brie Larson nonchalantly tells something that hit me really hard. “That’s really up to you to decide who is your Captain Marvel but I know who mine is.” While I’m pretty sure she’s just referring to which version of Ms. Marvel is the best for people, it can be noticed that she’s telling the same thing as if we are heroes like her. And it is true. You, me, and Brie Larson are all heroes. It’s not just Larson or Captain Marvel that’s changing the landscape of MCU. We, as viewers, are turning the tables as well.
Predominantly, males—white males to be specific—are the audience of MCU. The effects say a lot about the impact of Captain Marvel in MCU. Aside from calls to boycott, male critics have also called the film “mundane”, “generic”, and “unimaginative”. It’s not so surprising to find comments like these if your audience is a part that of what the movie’s purpose has been fighting against. Only now when people of color and women are beginning to play important roles in this franchise do we get reactions like this. Did anyone react like this when Pepper Potts saved Iron Man in the third movie? I am not quite sure if people even remember that. It takes a big step like this before the toxicity begins to present itself. In the grander scheme of things, Captain Marvel needs us as much as we need her.
The only way we can shut toxic masculinity up (and the many trolls attacking the film) is by showing support to the film created for us. While this is a huge leap for Marvel Studios, they have been warming us up with powerful women in the franchise. They have long been preparing us for this and it’s about time we make a move. What you, Brie Larson, and Captain Marvel want is to understand the power women already have. Women don’t need to be empowered. We just need to know how to harness our abilities and put it to good use. After all, we’re all Captain Marvels, we just don’t know it yet.