Review: Goose the sprightly ginger cat, Brie Larson's bland onscreen presence and other takeaways from 'Captain Marvel' — spoilers included
Captain Marvel obviously has a commendable feminist bent, but Brie Larson still falls flat.
Captain Marvel has had a pretty shaky road to the silver screen. Back in September when the first trailer was released, trolls decided to photoshop smiles onto Oscar-winning actress Brie Larson's face to make her seem warmer, similar to the criticism that Hillary Clinton faced when she was campaigning to be the next President of the United States. In February, negative reviews of the film began appearing on Rotten Tomatoes by people who hadn't even watched it in reaction against Larson's comments on the prevalence of male film critics in the industry during a press junket.
The film, though, doesn't fail to reiterate its core message of female empowerment from the outset. A montage of young Carol Danvers failing (skidding off the racetrack and falling during a military obstacle course) and getting condemned gets replayed far too many times than necessary. It all points to the actualisation of realising one's own intrinsic worth, but here, accompanied by Larson's straight-faced portrayal, it regrettably comes off as bland and forgettable. As compared to the cheap titillation of Scarlett Johnsson's Black Widow (the only other female superhero in the Marvel cinematic universe that's alive now), the movie is still a huge progressive leap forward nevertheless.
Carol Danvers has no love interest or sex appeal in the film.
Spiderman had Mary-Jane and Iron Man had Pepper Potts, but it's all work and no play for Captain Marvel. There are no flirtatious conversations, no kissing scenes to fawn over and definitely no 30-second passionate romp in bed to look forward to in the film. To top it off, Danvers doesn't even bare a sliver of skin. Besides her up-to-the-neck fully covered superhero costume, she wears oversized mannish leather jackets and plaid flannel shirts. Having Danvers single and unattached does break the traditional mould of female protagonists, whose existences and story arc are often validated and underpinned by a relationship with a man. Women are enough as they are, whatever life they may choose to take on. It's most poignantly demonstrated when Danvers shuts down Yon-Rogg (Jude Law) with a photon blast when he challenges her to man up and engage in a fistfight.
Danvers does have platonic relationships, though, with Fury, but more curiously, with her best friend and fellow Air Force compatriot Maria Rambeau (Lashana Lynch). Audiences have been quick to point out queer undertones of their close relationship, especially evident when they hold on to hug a little longer than usual or the fact that they practically raised Rambeau's child together. Oh, and that plaid shirt didn't help either. Considering where we're at in terms of LGBTQ rights globally, it might just be the right time for Marvel to whip out a queer superhero to save the entire human race in Avengers Endgame (yes, Captain Marvel makes the crossover to the final Avengers film in the first post-credit scene).
Goose the ginger cat is, in fact, a Flerken. What is a Flerken, though?
Goose the ginger cat — which has more of a formidable onscreen presence than Larson — steals the show halfway through the film, popping up randomly in the basement of Pegasus, a secret government facility in the desert. Goose tags along on the space adventure, but a Skrull reveals that Goose is, in fact, a mysterious creature known only as Flerken. This is backed up in the Captain Marvel comics, where Carol's feline companion Kitty belongs to the same species as well. Flerkens are extremely intelligent and are able to understand human speech, but their most shocking characteristic would definitely be their massive tentacles, which violently erupt from their small mouth to take down multiple targets much larger than themselves. Their tiny bodies are able to accommodate pocket dimensions as well, with enough space to contain entire universes. This allows Goose to swallow the tesseract for safe-keeping before regurgitating it in the second post-credit scene. Goose is just as temperamental as regular cats though, and we find out why Fury wears his signature eyepatch when Goose takes his eye out with its claws when he gets a little too chummy in space.
Captain Marvel is currently showing in theatres islandwide.