“Captain Marvel”: Empowered Woman in an Un-empowering Origin Story

Captain Marvel has a women empowerment meme that occurs midway: all the earlier versions of Carol Danvers (a fierce Brie Larson) from youth to teen to adult, who got knocked down by men, get right back up and stare straight at the camera with a grim steadfast determination.

That punch when it lands has the impact of everything from her past and is the single best scene of Captain Marvel, perhaps in the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe. It defines what makes her a woman and a superhero.

It is the ultimate metaphor for all Marvel superheroes. It is her welcome clap to this mostly male boy club.

Unfortunately the rest of Captain Marvel dissolves into a standard rescue epic no different from the boys. It’s as if the writers and the directors (Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck) gave Captain Marvel just enough girl cheer to feel liberated, but not enough to threaten their fanboy base.

Maybe the Marvel folks just wanted to save Captain Marvel for a bigger role in the upcoming Avengers: End Game. Larson is marvelous but no Wonder Woman. The DC base is likely to revel in the win.

Photos courtesy of Marvel Studios.

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