Every time Marvel tweaks its formula, even just a little bit, there are always … I wouldn’t call them “doubters,” but, maybe instead, “wonderers.” The, “I wonder if Marvel is worried about this one?” contingency. We saw it with the first Guardians of the Galaxy and we saw it with the first Ant-Man. Then whatever movie Marvel was presumed to be worried about goes on to make a whole heck of a lot of money and we move on to the next tweak.
Now, having said all that, Captain Marvel is certainly another tweak in the formula. The advertising for this movie doesn’t quite let on (a) how weird Captain Marvel actually is and (b) that this movie is pretty much a full-on cosmic sci-fi film. I’m going to take a guess that it’s not going to be what most people are expecting. And, for the record, the surprise delighted me.
Directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck (if you haven’t seen their wonderful movie Mississippi Grind, drop everything you’re doing and rent it right now), Captain Marvel just might give us a glimpse of what Marvel has in store for us after this next Avengers movie. Marvel has a slew of untapped cosmic characters, but has seemed to want to ease us more into that world over the course of, now, 21 movies. And maybe it was wise to save Captain Marvel until later, because her story is, frankly, a little weird. This isn’t “rich guy builds a suit,” or “high school kid gets bitten by a spider.” There’s quite a bit more going on here and her story can get pretty confusing. (Honestly, after watching Captain Marvel, I’m still not 100 percent certain what Captain Marvel’s powers are? And I’m fine with that.)
Woe is the origin story. We hate them now! Boo! It’s now a punchline about how many times we’ve seen poor Thomas and Martha Wayne get shot and killed. It’s gotten so bad, when Marvel Studios finally got to put Spider-Man into the MCU, they didn’t even bother with an origin story. They just figured we all have the gist by now – and they were right. But what do you do with Captain Marvel? Carol Danvers (played by Brie Larson) is so confusing and weird, audiences aren’t just going to “get the gist.”