Captain Marvel (2019)
Bande d’annonce :Captain Marvel
Brie Larson’s Captain Marvel reshapes the future for superheroes
The forthcoming epic, in which a female character has to save the Earth, looks likely to make surprise revelations about the MCU’s mightiest fighters
It’s starting to look as if Brie Larson’s Captain Marvel will be Marvel’s considered response to all those critics who complained about the lack of a headlining female superhero in the studio’s first nine years. Disappointed that Black Widow always has to fight lower-level baddies because she lacks real superpowers? According to Larson in the new edition of Total Film, Carol Danvers will be able to move entire planets. Upset that the Avengers seem to be led by bickering superblokes while the ladies take a back seat? There may never have been a superhero so intrinsically linked to the survival of humanity as Captain Marvel, whom the studio has pitched as Earth’s best hope in the fight against Thanos (a figure even the Hulk found himself cowering before.) She is even played by an Oscar-winner, just to ensure we are absolutely clear that the half-Kree hero’s arrival in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is a very big deal indeed.
All this is as it should be. But is Danvers up to the task? We’ll find out when Captain Marvel is released in March. Set in the 1990s, it will see the superhero battling to stop Earth’s invasion by the Skrulls. The arrival on the scene of the nefarious, shapeshifting aliens, a staple of the comics, throws up all kinds of intriguing possibilities for the past, present and future of the MCU, with the knowledge that they have been around for at least two decades, meaning we could be in for some uncomfortable revelations regarding the true identities of some of Earth’s mightiest heroes.
In the comic-book storyline Secret Invasion, several superheroes were revealed to be Skrulls in disguise, including the original Ant-Man, Hank Pym. It’s more likely, in the event that Marvel chooses to riff on Secret Invasion, that key members of the Avengers will turn out to have been temporarily replaced by Skrulls, rather than being Skrulls all along – otherwise Marvel risks destroying the emotional weight of its recent back catalogue. But that still leaves room for some tantalising revelations – what if some of the superheroes who died at the hands of Thanos in Infinity War were Skrull impostors rather than the real thing?
This might not be as outlandish as it sounds. According to Mark Ruffalo in recent comments to the Hollywood Reporter, Marvel is filming that movie’s still untitled sequel on the fly, not so much reshooting scenes to take account of script changes but treating the movie like a “living organism” that has not yet settled into its final form. It seems likely, then, that there is potential for Infinity War 2’s storyline to riff on any Skrull-focused revelations in Captain Marvel.
Filming without a final script has led to the downfall of directors even better known than Infinity War’s Russo brothers in the past. Just ask Peter Jackson, who has been candid about the difficulties he faced shooting the Hobbit trilogy without a full plan in place. The difference with Marvel is that this is a well-oiled, producer-led machine that has now released 20 movies and prides itself on utilising film-makers who can think on their feet. Studio head Kevin Feige clearly has the ability to juggle many balls at once – Marvel has had three movies a year in cinemas for the past two years, all with interlinking narratives.
It means that the studio is able to take account of fan criticism at the same time by parachuting in Larson to solve its diversity deficit, as if shifting its feet to change direction at full pelt like an elite footballer riding a tackle. Might Captain Marvel’s 90s setting even have been inspired by the desire to retrofit the MCU with a diversity upgrade?
Placing Danvers’ origins story in the past, at least a decade prior to the first wave of Marvel movies, suggests the studio is constantly working to refine its tangled web of superhero intrigue. If you were left confused by the post-credits scene from Infinity War, in which Samuel L Jackson’s Nick Fury pages Danvers just before he crumbles into dust, the picture becomes more focused in the new movie.
Captain Marvel, we learned earlier this year, was the first superpowered being to come on to Fury’s radar, the inspiration for SHIELD and The Avengers. So not only has the studio fixed its female superhero problem by making Danvers tougher than the Hulk, Thor and Spider-Man put together, it has effectively retooled its entire cinematic universe to place the new arrival on a central plinth in the Marvel pantheon – standing so tall there can be no suggestion she might be just a diversity-fuelled afterthought. That’s a magic trick Doctor Strange himself would be proud of.
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