Monday, March 18, 2019

CAPTAIN MARVEL

SPOILER ALERT – not that you will actually learn any plot points because, well… because of the following meeting:

… where the CAPTAIN MARVEL writers had to pitch their story to studio executives.

SCREENWRITERS: Okay, first off it’s an origin story. Captain Marvel or Vers or Carol is on some planet somewhere in the desert and then she’s in a futuristic city and someone is teaching her to be a warrior and we learn there are good aliens and bad aliens and the bad aliens want to do something bad but need some fabrazabber to do it, whatever it is – take over the galaxy and shit. Yeah, they want to take over the galaxy. And they can change into anything they want so they’re hard to find.

Oh wait, her teacher/Yoda/Liam Neeson type guy tells her her one flaw is she lets her emotions get in the way. How fresh is that? We haven’t seen that character beat since at least 2016, maybe earlier.

And here’s the thing: Captain Marvel has all these fragments of memories that are all completely random and confusing but cool and maybe we find out what they are but for now we forget about that and send her on a mission to do something somewhere and it doesn’t go well for some reason and she winds up in a rocket pod that lands on earth in 1995. We do a scene where she lands in a Blockbuster Video, which is maybe the greatest idea ever in the history of movies. Can you imagine? Aren’t you just hysterical thinking about it? She walks down an aisle and picks up THE RIGHT STUFF. The audience will laugh for twenty minutes.

Okay, so now she’s on earth trying to get to a secret Air Force base because she used to be in the Air Force but doesn’t know why or when, which is fine because we do a big car chase for no reason and have an action sequence on a Metro train where she’s chasing people she thinks are bad but they get away but we meet Nick Fury so we forget that the Metro sequence was superfluous. But cool.

Nick helps her. Oh yeah, she’s trying to find out some stuff about someone and he helps her. But it’s not easy because a bunch of bad guys show up and there’s a big obligatory fight scene. Oh oh oh… forgot to mention – we introduce a cat. Real cute. And we’ll find a way to make it important and cool.

Now the good and bad aliens land on earth. We show a bunch of flashbacks, and Captain Marvel is still looking for answers so she goes to the best friend she remembers she has when he need her to remember that. The friend will be African American because Captain Marvel is not. Oh, and she has a daughter that will peg the cute meter. She and Captain Marvel will bond of course. Except she's not Captain Marvel yet.  She's still Carol or Vers. 

Now comes a few plot twists that you’ve never seen before… in this franchise.

Oh, along the way there will be funny ironic lines – at least one every fifteen minutes. Can’t be cool without funny ironic lines.

At this point we reach the third act. They get the fabrazabber. Captain Marvel becomes Captain Marvel. The little girl makes her a role model. Captain Marvel kicks serious ass and we do a giant cluster fuck of a sequence that takes place in outer space, on earth, in other galaxies, space ships, dimensions – the beauty is we make it so full of special effects that nobody cares where they are or what purpose any of this is serving other than seeing Captain Marvel beat the shit out of everyone. Which she does. 

Of course we do a dogfight like every STAR WARS movie, video game type laser fights, mega explosions, and ‘90s pop hits because that worked so well in GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY.

Needless to say we’ll have a lot to wrap up so we figure the film will end five times, maybe six. And it goes without saying we’ll set up a bunch of sequels.

Whattaya think?

STUDIO HEAD: That sounds like you merely stitched together every trope from every superhero and space adventure movie and thrown them together in a blender. You’ve jammed in every cliché and there’s not a moment that is remotely original. And it will probably cost upwards of 150 million dollars.

SCREENWRITERS: Brie Larson wants to do it.

STUDIO HEAD: You have a greenlit movie.

Hey, I went to see it.  

37 comments :

Ted said...

I feel bad for you Ken. Spending your hard earned money to watch this crap just so that you can review it for us.

Richard said...

I was ticked when Carol was talking to Fury in that small bar, and she demolished that jukebox for no real reason. What a dick move!!

Mike said...

Who is the worst actress in expressing emotions? Kristen Stewart or Brie Larson?

This is often debated on various movie forums.

For sometime Kristen Stewart was the clear winner. But recently she has acted in some good movies especially in France and has given solid performances.

Brie Larson apart from her Oscar has done nothing substantial. She has tried to stay in the news by pompously refusing to clap after giving the Oscar to Casey. Playing the victim after her nude pics got leaked.

King Kong Skull Island was her single worst performance. But still she gets the opportunities to appear in these big movies while other better actresses continue to wait for a break.

Wayne C said...

Since when is Brie Larson bankable to the tune of $150 million? I guess she is now, but before this came out and scooped up the no other superhero film competition...

Keith Nichols said...

Now I remember why I stopped going to movies about 15 years ago. That and the double-digit ticket prices.

Jeffrey Graebner said...

Of course, there is a reason why formulas become formulas. While the movie doesn't really deviate much from the formula for this kind of movie, it also is still a lot of fun.

Kyle said...

I might be in the minority of your readers, Ken, but i really enjoyed Captain Marvel. I just thought it was fun. And my wife really loved it. Of all the MCU movies I’ve dragged her to, this is the first one that she wanted to see again in the theatre. As far as Brie Larson, I have never seen anything she had done before and in fact was unaware she had won an Oscar, but she did a fine job in this picture. I don’t agree with the comparison to Kristen Stewart. I think Larson did some fine non-verbal acting in this.

Anonymous said...

I know you're just taking the piss, but I liked it. I thought it was fun and funny and Brie was a compelling lead actor who pulled off the action scenes quite well. And for Marvel movie fans, it gave some good back story on characters from other movies and set up some stuff that it will be fun to see play out over the next set of movies. And the complaints about formula are kind of funny coming from someone who wrote so many (great!) multi camera sitcoms which are even more formulaic than super hero movies.

Andrew said...

I don't mean to hijack the thread, but I'm wondering if any commenters have seen Alita: Battle Angel. I have no interest in Captain Marvel, but Alita looks appealing, and I've heard good things about it. Anyone have an opinion? I really don't want to waste my money.

blinky said...

You and Anthony Lane have the best Capt Marvel reviews. Dead Poole is the only Super Hero movie I will see.
Speaking of unbearable horrors: I saw Jurassic Park: Fallen Kingdom on HBO last night. I can't wait for Mystery Science 3000 to get a hold of that one. It may be one of the worst movies of all time. (sorry Plan 9.)

Peter said...

I saw it today. I think you're being a bit harsh on it. Yes it's pretty formulaic but I was entertained and I thought the humour worked great. 

I'm admittedly biased, as I love Brie Larson. 

My quibble is that the action sequences were nothing we hadn't seen before. Colourful splosions are fun but we've seen them a billion times.

But on the plus side, it was only 2 hours long and the third act didn't leave me exhausted like so many superhero movies have. Avengers Endgame is apparently 3 hours. Oy vey. 

The tribute to Stan Lee at the start was really lovely. 

I also get a kick out of the fact that the film is upsetting Trump supporters just because it's a blockbuster with a female hero.

Barry Traylor said...

The trailer alone bored me to tears, so I am pretty sure unless I need a sleep aid I am going to skip it.

Rory L. Aronsky said...

STUDIO HEAD: That sounds like you merely stitched together every trope from every superhero and space adventure movie and thrown them together in a blender. You’ve jammed in every cliché and there’s not a moment that is remotely original. And it will probably cost upwards of 150 million dollars.

These days, they're fine with it. Especially Disney. It's probably why I still can't get a "Tron 3."

Tim B. said...

This was a great movie, I thought, although I am already quite a fan of the Marvel movies. I don't recall seeing Larson before, although she was in three movies I had seen - "Glass Castle", "Kong: Skull Island" and "Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World". I guess I didn't find her memorable there. But she certainly did seem to do well here.

My wife, a Brie Larson fan (she was the one who took me to "Glass Castle"), just showed me "Short Term 12", one of her favorite movies, and Larson seemed to do great with the emoting there. (Very well-done movie, although way outside the kinds I like.)

Kristin Stewart as non-emoting, well, sure. Has she been in anything beyond the Harry Potter fanfiction movies?

Madame Smock said...

Studio Head: Marvelous, you got anything else ?

Cap'n Bob said...

If they want to make movie heroes with women and black men, terrific. But invent new ones. As a former comic collector I know for a fact that Captain Marvel and Nick Fury are both white males.

Elf said...

@Keith Nichols: If you've got AMC Theaters in your area, join the AMC Stubs program for $15 and you can see any movie (Non-3d or Imax though) for $5 every Tuesday. AMC also has weekend matinees before noon for under $9. That made life bearable for me when my kids were young and wanted to see every animated POS that came out.

kitano0 said...

The movie, and Brie Larson, are much better than the trailers revealed. I thought Larson looked horrible in the trailers, but she gave a very likable performance.

Don't get me started about Kristen Stewart...ugh...

Is the movie great? No. Is it fun? Very much!!

Anonymous said...

"Oh wait, her teacher/Yoda/Liam Neeson type guy tells her her one flaw is she lets her emotions get in the way. How fresh is that? We haven’t seen that character beat since at least 2016, maybe earlier."

Wait, but literally the whole point of the movie is the OPPOSITE of that trope: the patriarchy of the Kree is telling her, a woman, to not be so emotional, but then once she breaks free of it and channels her righteous anger, she annihilates the baddies.

Robert Forman said...

Ok, I’m not up on my super heroes I guess, but why does Captain Marvel in woman form have a look, costume and name (Danvers) that screams “Supergirl”? I mean, couldn’t they have at least given her a different last name?

Sean MacDonald said...

Captain Marvel and Nick Fury *were* white males.

The first Captain Marvel from Fawcett comics (and now DC comics) was a white male, you know, the guy who says "Shazam!". The second Captain Marvel was a robot who looked like a white male. The third Captain Marvel was a white male named Mar-Vell. The fourth Captain Marvel was an African-American woman named Monica Rambeau (the same name as the black child in this movie). The fifth Captain Marvel was a white male named Genis-Vell. The sixth Captain Marvel was a white female named Phyla-Vell. The seventh Captain Marvel was a green male (a Skrull) pretending to be a white male. The eighth Captain Marvel was a white male named Noh-Varr. The ninth Captain Marvel... well, she happens to be a white female, formerly known as Ms. Marvel, the Carol Danvers seen in this movie. And everybody loves the *ninth* incarnation of a character best, right?

The first Nick Fury was a white male. Then, in an alternate universe, called the Ultimates universe (which was mostly the basis for many of the Marvel movies), Nick Fury was a black male drawn to look like Samuel Jackson (before he appeared in any Marvel movies). Then, in the main universe of Marvel comics, Nick Fury had a son, who was a black man named Nick Fury. This lets the comics do away with the original Nick Fury to replace him with the new diverse Nick Fury Junior.

Sean MacDonald said...

It's mostly a coincidence that Carol Danvers and Linda Danvers (Supergirl) share a name. When Carol Danvers was first created, she wasn't a superhero. She was just a supporting cast member in the comic of the third Captain Marvel (Mar-Vell). Then, when Marvel Comics decided to create a new ("liberated") female character, they started with the name "Ms. Marvel" and then had to create a character to fit the name. Eventually, they decided to take the Carol Danvers character and make her a female version of the male hero Captain Marvel... which always put her in that weird category of "Yeah, I'm a female hero who can stand on my own, but I'm also merely the female version of a male hero" like Supergirl, Batgirl, Mary Marvel, Spider-Woman, She-Hulk, etc. Of course, the movie played down the "I'm just a spin-off of a male character" aspect, even going so far as to make Mar-Vell into a woman.

But, yeah, ever since she was introduced, people have noted that she seemed to be part Supergirl and part Mary Marvel (since she has "Marvel" in her name, and she's the female version of a Captain Marvel).

PurplePenquin said...

You're a tad behind the times - both of those characters were changed in the comic books long before the movies came out.

In fact, Samual L Jackson was the inspiration for Nick Fury when they rebooted that series...but his likeness was used without his permission. When he threatened to sue, they agreed to let him play the role of Nick Fury if/when Marvel ever started making movies.

tavm said...

Speaking of Supergirl and Mary Marvel, both characters were created by Otto Binder who wrote all the Marvel Family (both when together and separate) stories at Fawcett and when that company stopped doing comics because of DC's lawsuit, went to DC to create Supergirl. Oh, and I liked the current Captain Marvel movie just fine and I'm looking forward to Shazam! next month...

sanford said...

I just read this post from David Simon. https://davidsimon.com/but-im-not-a-lawyer-im-an-agent/ I assume you have an agent. Have you run into the same thing as Simon. I don't recall you writing much about this sort of thing. Needless to he was pretty ticked off.

Mike Bloodworth said...

STUDIO HEAD: One note, just make sure that the sequels get progressively worse as the franchise goes on.

SCREENWRITERS: Get out of our heads!

M.B.

Beth Thompson said...

Nothing to do with Captain Marvel. This is an interesting blog post by David Simon ("Homicide: Life on the Streets", "The Wire") on a current fight between the WGA and the ATA (Assoc. of Talent Agents) on how 'packaging' has harmed writers' profits and bargaining power over the years.

If Ken has a view on this, I'd certainly be interested in reading a post (if he hasn't done one already, that I might be forgetting).

https://davidsimon.com/but-im-not-a-lawyer-im-an-agent/

Johnny Walker said...

I think Marvel movies finally moved beyond criticism with Captain Marvel (or is it Mar-Vell?). You’re either onboard or you’re just bored. Whatever anyone else says isn’t going to make a difference.

I actually enjoyed it (helped immeasurably by having not seen the trailer, which spoils everything it seems). It was a middling Marvel film. Not the best, not the worst, but I liked the character, and I’m looking forward to seeing her return in the next instalment.

(My biggest bugbear was seeing a single mother decide to go on a near suicide mission. What the hell was that about?!? It not only undercut the dramatic tension — as if the film was going to end on a shot of an orphan crying — it also just made them look like a terrible parent. Hint: If anything is more important than your child’s welfare, you’re a bad parent.)

The only shame is that the Marvel franchise is eventually going to experience fatigue. And the budgets are going to drop. And the quality will suffer. And then everyone will hate the whole franchise for ending badly, and never want to watch it again. Which is a shame, because it’s very impressive what Marvel have managed. But with Disney at the helm (and just market forces requiring you to keep churning out sequels while there’s money to be made) it’s fate is sealed.

E. Yarber said...

If you really want to bore your friends with comic book esoterica, some of the "Ms. Marvel" comics were drawn by Jim Mooney, who had previously been the primary Supergirl artist.

Jeff Boice said...

I stopped reading Marvel Comics around the time of the first Secret Wars- about 35 years ago. I am old enough to remember the first time they killed off Professor X (back in the 60's)! So my interest in Marvel Universe movies is zip. I'm bemused at hit movies being made with characters that weren't all that big in the comics, like Aquaman and now the Carol Danvers version of Captain Marvel. I wonder how much life the genre has left- you'd think it's getting close to the point of oversaturation now.

Sean MacDonald said...

Aquaman *was* big in the comics, even back in the 80s... for certain definitions of "big".

While he wasn't that significant in the early days of comics (the 1940s), he managed to do what characters like Green Lantern, Flash, Hawkman, etc. could NOT do. He survived. That is, his stories continued seamlessly from the Golden Age of comics into the Silver Age. He is one of only five DC characters who can make that claim, the others being Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, and Green Arrow. Granted, Aquaman and Green Arrow didn't have a comic named after themselves, but they survived in back-up stories in other comics. So, these five characters were fairly major in that one respect.

Characters like Green Lantern, Flash, Hawkman, etc. were completely reinvented at the beginning of the Silver Age, but Aquaman continued on, with only a few retcons regarding his origin and powers. He was still recognizable as the same character, unlike GL, Flash, etc.

So, while he may not quite be in the "Superman, Batman, and maybe Wonder Woman" tier of characters, he's right below that tier. As soon as the Justice League was formed, he was important enough to be a founding member. As soon as superheroes became popular again in the Silver Age, he finally got a comic named after himself. When DC was looking at characters to animate, he and Superman got the first solo animated DC cartoons of this time period. That developed into him being so important that he was one of the main members of the Superfriends (Superman, Batman/Robin, Wonder Woman, and Aquaman). This puts him in a tier above Green Lantern and Flash in importance.

He has been one of DC's most important characters for a long time. Yeah, he's no Superman or Batman. He's not even Wonder Woman. But he's above Green Lantern and Flash, at least by 1980s standards. (Since then, Green Lantern has gained a huge increase in importance.)

MikeN said...

There was a rumor that they made two versions of Avengers Endgame, one with Captain Marvel excluded and her work done mostly by Captain America and Black Widow.
The directors were against having her in the film, but Disney and Marvel were insisting. Then it looked like the movie might be a flop, with no character arc for the hero. This new trailer that includes Captain Marvel came out after the opening weekend showed the movie would be a big hit.

Kaleberg said...

It sounds just fine to me. I got tired of the old emotional reveal genre years ago. Ibsen hacked it to death.

Peter said...

MikeN

It would have been impossible to exclude Captain Marvel from Endgame, given that Infinity War's post credit scene hinged on her character being contacted.

The reason she hadn't appeared in an Endgame trailer till now was precisely because it would be a spoiler of sorts to show her before audiences had been introduced to her in her own film.

Cap'n Bob said...

Sean MacDonald: I know Captain Marvel and Nick Fury changed colors/genders/socks while still in the comics, and my complaint goes back to that.

404 said...

I'm glad I'm not the only one wanting to defend Captain Marvel. I loved it for what it was -- a fun superhero movie that entertained me. One of the great thing about most of the MCU movies is that they don't try and be more than they are. So, if you're going in expecting anything else, you can't judge the movie because your expectations were wrong to begin with.

And yes, the movie (and Brie Larson) are MUCH better than those awful trailers would have you believe.

blogward said...

Brie Larson. Why would you call yourself after a French cheese? Especially when Marvel is a brand of dried milk.

Can we look forward to a generation of people called Stilton, Leerdammer, Ched (short for Cheddar), Roquefort, Camembert, etc?

The whole thing stinks.

Anyway Mr. L, comics were better when there were no more than about four people churning them out monthly. (See what I did there?)