Captain Marvel

Writing Movie “WRONGS

By Jim West

Captain Marvel

Directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck

Written by Nicole Perlman, Meg LeFauve, Anna Boden, Kevin Fleck, Geneva Robertson-Dworet

An origin film has quite a lot to accomplish story wise in its runtime.  It must introduce the hero, show them before they were a hero, what event or tragedy created them, and what challenge they must face both internally and externally to be able to complete their journey to becoming a hero.  What typically bogs down origin stories is either the mishandling of the hero’s journey, or the lack of a flaw that people can connect to.  This has been what Stan Lee mastered long ago when he breathed into life a magnitude of new heroes that were not perfect, had flaws, and people could connect with.  With five writers on this film, this story had to accomplish a lot of ground and also deliver something fresh in regards to origin stories.  I believe they manage to do both of these things quite well.

Here comes the spoilers.

The year is obviously 1995 as references to Mallrats (perfect cameo which is not a cameo which is well interesting to say the least of how this could impact canon in the MCU meta…).  Vers is a warrior part of a team of Kree elite warrior heroes called Starforce, who are sent on missions to eradicate the very bad Skrulls who as we are told are terrorist that are infiltrating worlds with their ability to shape shift into anyone they see and taking them over.  They get ambushed during a mission to extract an undercover Kree agent, and Vers gets taken.  She wakes up during dream/flashback sequences of her life.  The Skrull leader, Thalos, has her in a machine to probe her memories to try and locate a scientist named Dr Wendy Lawson that Vers knew in her past.  Vers breaks free of the machine they have her in and escapes in a pod towards Earth.  S.H.I.E.L.D agents arrive on the scene of her crash landing on earth, and as soon as we see a young Nick Fury and Agent Coulson go question Vers, She gets attacked by a Skrull and goes after him.

A chase scene on a subway, and some exposition scenes later it gets revealed the location of the scientist and Fury is ordered by his boss to work with Vers to assist and track her.  He uses his clearance to take her to the facility where the scientist is supposedly working.  There they find records which show Vers was a pilot there who died six years previously during a test of an experimental engine.  Fury helps Versa void capture by S.H.I.E.L.D agents and they set off to New Orleans to find the other pilot Vers recalls named Maria Rambeau.  Once they find her a lot of Vers backstory gets delivered here or connected for us.  This is handled very well and avoids the whole bogging down in details as it’s ‘us’ the viewers along with our hero discovering who she was.  Good job for the writers here.  Vers discovers that her real name is Carol Danvers (Vers was just the half of the dog tag recovered at the time of her accident.  Thalos appears suddenly and this is where the writers really changed up the typical villain portrayal by showing him as not an evil madman, but a being of emotions and instead of the Skrulls being terrorists; they are refuges trying to find a home to live in peace.   He asks for her help to find the secret lab of Dr Lawson so he can use the engine to take the Skrulls to a faraway planet to seek refuge and avoid conflict with the Kree.  Carol reluctantly agrees, but when they get to the lab, Thalos’s real intentions are revealed as the lab was refuge for his family and other Skrulls that Dr Lawson…aka Mar Vel.  The Starforce team arrives and Carol has now pieced together her memories and recalls it was the Starforce leader, Yon-Rogg, who shot her down and took her to the Kree home planet of Hala to keep tabs on her.

Carol is imprisoned within the AI of the Supreme Intelligence of Kree who is trying to control her.  Carol resists and breaks free of her bonds and starts to realize the potential in her powers.  If you had been paying attention to the details throughout the film in regards to her memories you discover along with Carol that her being bold and determined to do what she wants to do like racing go carts, training to be a soldier, and flying jets is what makes her powerful.  This is what Mar Vel saw in her, and this is what the Kree were afraid of with trying to inhibit her powers with the device she had in the back of her neck.

Carol single handedly repels the Kree forces that came to Earth to destroy the remaining Skrulls.  Then she makes a decision to help the Skrulls find a new home.  She gives Fury a modified pager to use in an emergency to contact her.  This ties this film to the current Avenger’s Infinity War and Endgame films.  So this film covers so much and handles the origin story well with the amnesia spin.  Females, especially military, will connect to Carol’s struggles and determination.  Little girls have another superhero besides DC’s Wonder Woman to look up to and aspire to be.  Now I could deal upon minor details like when Carol showed Fury her proton blast ability and said Skrulls can’t do that, yet no one else on Starforce could do that.  Would have been nice for her to question why she had a power the rest of the Krees did not have earlier.  I will assume it’s related to the inhibitor device and their manipulation of Carol.  The only other thing I would have inserted is a flashback to her being a pilot and going ‘woo hoo’ (perhaps the first time she flew a jet) like she does in space when she is flying around destroying Kree ships to tie in her personality to really connect the old Carol to the new Captain Marvel.

In closing this story is well told, and delivered with very little fat to chew without beating the viewer up with female empowerment messages as those are handled very subtly throughout the film.  Humor is handled very well and since Black Panther, Marvel Studios has paid attention to their villains and this is a great thing to see.  This is a well written film and therefore this gets a ‘Writing a Movie RIGHT’ review from me.

Thanks for reading ‘Writing Movie ‘WRONGS’.

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