Marvel Studios’ first female superhero-led film has been in development since 2013, and will finally hit the screens on International Women’s Day on March 8. Captain Marvel traces the origins of Carol Danvers, a US Air Force pilot who becomes a superhero. Academy Award-winning actress Brie Larson (Short Term 12, Room) plays Danvers.
“While a galactic war between two alien races reaches Earth, Danvers finds herself and a small cadre of allies at the centre of the maelstrom,” said an official synopsis. The movie will be released in India in 2D, 3D and IMAX formats in English, Hindi, Tamil and Telugu.
Captain Marvel is the 21st installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The character will also appear in the MCU production Avengers: Endgame, the fourth Avengers film that will be out on April 26.
Before she became a superhero, Captain Marvel was Carol Danvers, a US Air Force pilot. Danvers was introduced in the Marvel comic books in 1968 and developed superpowers after her DNA fused with that of the Kree, an extra-terrestrial military race, in a near-death accident.
The film, however, is not the average origin story. Set in 1995, it opens with Danvers having already turned into Captain Marvel and serving with the Starforce in outer space, an elite team of Kree fighters. When she goes back to Earth as the war between the Kree and the Skulls breaks out, she starts remembering fragments of her past.
In a January interview to ScreenRant, producer Jonathan Schwartz said that they were “consciously trying to execute” a variation to the origin tale format through this non-linear narrative structure.
Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige has described Captain Marvel as the most powerful character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Larson’s own take on Danvers is that she is a flawed character whose human side makes her fallible. “You have this Kree part of her that’s unemotional, that is an amazing fighter and competitive,” Larson told Entertainment Weekly in September. “Then there’s this human part of her that is flawed but is also the thing that she ends up leading by. It’s the thing that gets her in trouble, but it’s also the thing that makes her great.”
The Starforce team of which Captain Marvel is a part is led by Jude Law’s Yon-Rogg. Law has described his character as a “devout warrior unquestioning, conservative, but inspirational”.
It was previously speculated that Law would be playing Mar-Vell, the original Captain Marvel in the comics and Danvers’s inspiration. On February 27, Marvel Studios confirmed that the British actor was playing Yon-Rogg. The Kree fighter is a villain in the comic books, but the film shows him as a mentor to Danvers. Their relationship is expected to witness some tension as the plot progresses.
Danvers’s other colleagues on the Starforce include Korath, played by Djimon Hounsou, Konan The Accuser (Lee Pace), Minn-Erva (Gemma Chan), Att-Lass (Algenis Perez Soto) and Bron-Char (Rune Temte). In the comics, the Starforce are a team of supervillains. In the film, however, the main antagonists will be the Skrulls.
A shape-shifting race that infiltrated the Earth posing as humans, the Skrulls are lead by Talos (Ben Mendelsohn), who is posing as the director of S.H.I.E.L.D, a military and intelligence American agency tasked with the security of the country and by extension, the world.
Another key character in the film will be Annette Bening’s Supreme Intelligence, an artificial intelligence force that rules over the Kree.
Captain Marvel is set in 1995 and unfolds before the events of most of the films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, barring the World War II-set Captain America: The First Avenger (2011). This means the film also serves as an origins story for other recurring MCU characters, key among them Nick Fury (Samuel L Jackson).
In the film, the future director of S.H.I.E.L.D, who will go on to recruit the Avengers superhero team, is a low-level bureaucrat with a regular desk job. Captain Marvel is the first superhero he encounters. Fury has both eyes intact – the other MCU films show him wearing an eye patch, having lost one of his peepers in an accident. In an interview to Entertainment Weekly, Jackson said he was drawn to this iteration of Fury because “he didn’t have that big chip on his shoulder yet”.
Captain Marvel will be accompanied in her adventures by her cat Goose (who was named Chewie in the comics). The name is a hat-tip to Top Gun (1986), as several publications have pointed out – Goose was the nickname of the flying companion and best friend of Tom Cruise’s Pete “Maverick” Mitchell – and also a reference to Carol Danvers’s past as a fighter pilot. In the comics, Chewie, unbeknownst to Carol Danvers, is actually a Flerken, an alien species with feline features. Unlike cats, Flerken lay eggs and have tentacles hidden in their mouths with which they can attack.
Captain Marvel is likely to be the start of the superhero’s association with the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Kevin Feige has hinted in interviews that viewers can expect a lot more of Captain Marvel. The Marvel Studios president teased an “amazing” sequel as well as the possibility of Carol Danvers leading the Avengers in the upcoming fourth phase of MCU films, according to ScreenRant.
Meanwhile, Captain Marvel has run into some controversy ahead of its release. The film received a barrage of negative comments on review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes, which many identified as the work of trolls who were angered by Larson’s remarks in a February 9 interview with Marie Claire. The actress had pointed to a lack of diversity in the media and said that most of the journalists and critics she had encountered on press tours where white men.
As Huffington Post pointed out, over the last couple of weeks, the “want to see” metre for the film – which measures how many people are interested in the movie – had dipped sharply since February 19, from 78% to 28% on February 25.
On February 25, Rotten Tomatoes announced that it was changing its Audience Rating System. The site no will longer show the “want to see” percentage score and is disabling comments prior to a release. Rotten Tomatoes did not name Capital Marvel, but a blog post announcing the changes said, “Unfortunately, we have seen an uptick in non-constructive input, sometimes bordering on trolling, which we believe is a disservice to our general readership. We have decided that turning off this feature for now is the best course of action. Don’t worry though, fans will still get to have their say: Once a movie is released, audiences can leave a user rating and comments as they always have.”