Saturday, 23 March, 2019

Brie Larson: Famous Actress or Chic Hotel Bellhop?

Captain Marvel is front and center of Iron Man and Captain America in Avengers: Endgame promo art Captain Marvel: Female-led superhero film labelled 'perfunctory' by critics
Angelica Greene | 08 March, 2019, 08:54

The writers of Captain Marvel could not have scripted a better ending for its star-studded press conference.

If you're in a hip-hop mood, listen for Salt-N-Pepa's sassy hit "Whatta Man", which praises a man who's worth holding down, who cares for his woman and even takes care of the kids. Directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck are so eager to showcase the power of their heroine that they skimp on the humor and quiet moments needed to transform Air Force fighter pilot Carol Danvers (Brie Larson) into a compelling character.

In the clip above, Larson shares with Judy what being part of the fan community means to her. Were they unable to track it? By the end of her intense 9-month training schedule, the actress was able to deadlift well over 225 pounds, which is impressive for someone who considered herself pretty weak by most people's standards. "That's the only time I get to be like, 'oh, you feel the same way I do'". Or the Uber driver who told me Black Panther was the most boring movie he'd ever seen - was he watching a documentary about literal black panthers? "We are just allowing women to live in their truth and be their authentic self daily". "There is no story arc for Captain Marvel because that would imply that women have problems". Carol rediscovers her best friend, Maria (Lashana Lynch), a single mother who is also a first-rate pilot.

It is the first Marvel female superhero movie, steered by an Oscar-winning actor, equally known for being a vocal women's rights activist.

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Captain Marvel takes it for granted that women can be tough and take charge. Her abilities prove so dominant that she can seemingly do anything, be it fly to farthest reaches of space without protective gear or destroy intergalactic warheads with a single blow. The story takes place in the 1990s and finds Samuel L. Jackson and Clark Gregg reprising their roles as Nick Fury and Phil Coulson, respectively, before either tangled with that pesky God of Mischief Loki. And with the massive presence of superhero movies, particularly those that comprise the Marvel Cinematic Universe, I'm lucky enough to have a lot of opportunities. Likewise, the financial success of the franchise depends on calibrating its action sequences to feel simultaneously world-threatening and weightless so as to preserve the PG-13 ratings that keep the movies accessible to the widest possible audience. Lynch said that the characters "found power wherever they find connections". Words like badass and kick-ass, used to describe women, have been trotted out so often that they've come to mean nothing.

I love the ways they contract and expand time. But we have more context now.

The MCU is no stranger to characters who underwhelm in their standalone debut but then go on to shine in sequels and group efforts - I'm looking at you The Incredible Hulk (2008), Thor (2011), Ant-Man (2015), and Doctor Strange (2016) - and both Captain Marvel and Larson show that same kind of promise.

Captain Marvel packages this dilemma in a stylish, thoughtful and amusing superhero movie that's a twist on the usual origin story formula. You may think you know how bad some music was in the '90s, but nothing can prepare you for the horror of No Doubt's "Just a Girl" serving as the background for a big superhero clash.

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